Let’s set the scene: you’re staring into your nearly empty fridge, wondering what the heck you’re going to make for dinner. Close the fridge. Pace around, open the fridge again and repeat. You know there isn’t truly “nothing” to eat, but how do you make a meal with what you got? Well, the nights of having random groceries and leftovers are about to get a whole lot better. This blueprint will help you navigate your fridge/pantry situation and make a MacGyver meal from what you ALREADY have. Less food waste is also a huge plus!
Meal Building Blueprint: (scroll for examples!)
Step 1: Start with your PROTEIN- what protein do I have either leftover OR ready to cook:
Eggs: You MOST LIKELY have them and there is so much potential. Breakfast for dinner? You can make an omelette or frittata with whatever veggies fresh or frozen you have. Pair that with a side of potatoes and/or avocado if you have some on hand. If you have tortillas you can make breakfast tacos!
Or if you have rice in your pantry, you can throw together a veggie fried rice.
Chicken/Steak: if you have either of these leftover or ready to cook, stir fries are one of the most versatile meals. Scrounge up whatever vegetables you have on hand and combine them with the protein in a pan with salad dressing and/or seasonings. You can Pair with rice or whole grain pasta if you wish to add a carb.
Or enjoy Taco Tuesday (or whatever day) at home! Serve with whatever fixings you have: salsa, guacamole, sour cream, etc. Fajitas are also a quick go-to if you have peppers and onions.
No Meat/Eggs? If you are in need of a non-meat or vegan option, canned beans are an excellent source of protein that can be thrown onto a salad or make a veggie bean chili with canned tomatoes. Edamame is also an amazing plant based source of protein that is sold frozen and can be combined with veggies for a protein and fiber-packed filling meal.
Step 2: Use up PERISHABLE PRODUCE:
Use the produce that is going to be the first to go bad. The fresh produce should take priority over the frozen produce because it will not last indefinitely, so incorporate that into your upcoming meals to avoid food waste. Virtually any vegetables can work in a stir fry or egg bake/omelette.
Step 3: PANTRY ITEM(s):
What pantry items will round out my meal? Brown rice/ whole grain pasta, quinoa, condiments, etc?
Step 4: EXTRA FLAVOR:
Play with herbs and spices! Adding herbs and spices to your meals is the best way to take your bland foods to flavor town!
Try some of these spice combinations to create ethnic flavors you love:
Mediterranean: oregano, rosemary, basil, garlic, thyme, dill.
Mexican: cumin, coriander, cinnamon, oregano, garlic, chili powder
Cajun: cayenne, oregano, paprika, thyme, rosemary, cajun seasoning
Thai: basil, cumin, garlic, ginger, turmeric, cardamom, curry powder
Indian: bay leaf, cardamom, cayenne, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, garam masala, curry powder, ginger, nutmeg, paprika, turmeric
Still Lost? Here's 5 no- fuss meals you can make with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen:
If you have…..