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Posted on Aug 25, 2013 in How to simplify, Menus and Recipes | 2 comments

Cooking from the Pantry: End-of-Summer Cleanup Part 8


The other day, when I cleaned out the clutter and tidied up my kitchen, I noticed that like the books that accumulate in my bedroom, I have a lot of interesting ingredients that I buy, and then never get around to cooking.  In the spirit of trying to reverse this trend, I set aside some items to incorporate in to this week’s menu.  It’s kind of like a challenge TV show, right?  Well, except no audience or prizes.

Some of the ingredients were pretty normal, like dried  tortellini, beef broth ranch dressing mix and pudding mix.  Some were a bit less common, like crushed ginger snaps, almond milk and short grain brown rice.  One item, panna, is downright exotic.   Oh, and I ate the kale chips and applesauce plain.

Here is what I came up with:


Tortollini with asparagus and creamy pesto sauce

  • 6 oz tortellini, cooked according to instructions
  • One container panna (panna per cucinare, or cream for cooking)
  • 12 stalks of asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1 inch pieces and steamed
  • 3 T basil pesto

After draining pasta, add panna and pesto to the warm pot.  Heat slightly and mix to form thick sauce.  Pour over asparagus and pasta.

This was very easy to make with the cooking cream already thick.  I made the pesto with basil from my container garden and served this with my own cherry tomatoes.  It didn’t look like much, but this was delicious.



Chocolate-ginger pie

  • 1 ½ c crushed ginger snaps
  • 1 c sliced almonds
  • ¼ c butter, melted
  • 1 small container instant chocolate pudding
  • 2 c cold almond milk

Mix cookie crumbs, ¾ c almonds and butter, and press into pie pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until slightly browned.  Cool to room temperature.  Mix almond milk and pudding mix, and pour into prepared and cooled pie crust.  Chill, and sprinkle with remaining almonds.

The filling in this pie was fairly predictable, and a little soft for a pie, if you ask me.  The taste of the cookie crust, almonds and chocolate was unexpectedly great.  I served it sprinkled with cocoa nibs, my new obsession.  If I make this again, I will use a glass dish and a home-made pie filling with good chocolate.  Maybe some candied ginger on top with the almonds.  That would be not as simple, though.


7 layer dip

  • 1 1/2 c shredded chicken breast
  • 1 can black beans (I used this pouch, but that is not important!)
  • ¾ c shredded cheddar cheese (Monterey Jack would be even better)
  • ¾ chopped tomatoes
  • 1 c guacamole
  • 1 c salsa
  • 1 c sour cream

Layer all ingredients in a straight-sided glass dish in order from bottom to top.  Serve with tortilla chips.

I had avocados and these black beans, so I thought I would share some dip with chips this weekend.  This was as good as it always is!


3 ingredient banana-oatmeal cookies

These are the same as before.  I wanted to use up the oatmeal, and had the ripe bananas in the freezer.  This time, I made them as bars (sort of) for breakfast.


Brown rice dinner

  • 2 c short grain brown rice
  • 1 container beef broth
  • 1 lb ground turkey, browned and broken up
  • 1 lb fresh broccoli, chopped or broccoli slaw
  • 1 packet BBQ ranch dressing mix

Bring to a boil, then steam brown rice with broth instead of water for 50 minutes.  Mix with turkey, broccoli and dressing mix.  Reheat and serve.

This made a lot, so I froze most of it.  That way I could eat tortellini for lunch every day.

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  1. These all look ridiculously tasty, but the brown rice dish has me on the way to your freezer at this moment! We never stock up, so we haven’t the resources for such creations, but love your style and flare for tasty vittles!!

    • It made so much, I would be happy to share with you!

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