Making lunch from (basically) nothing

Once upon a time, Darling Husband and I used to grocery shop with abandon! We’d fill the cart with whatever the hell we felt like getting, without much of a plan.
This resulted in a lot of wasted food, as we wouldn’t be able to use/eat everything before it went bad.
Now that we are older and wiser — or is that poorer and smarter? — we have a two-part plan. I sit down every Saturday morning and fill out a handy-dandy sheet that lists what we will eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner Sun. – Fri.
Once I know what we’re eating, I make out a grocery list, and Darling Husband skips off — well, drives off in a very manly way in his big SUV — to the store and buy it all. He is a great grocery-shopper, because he sticks to the list and isn’t distracted by pretty packaging like I am.

Editor’s note: I used to grocery shop, too — until I was overtaken with severe Cart Rage.
So Part One is the menu-planning/list-sticking. Part Two of the plan means not wasting food. I never, ever, ever, EVER just stick leftover food in the fridge in a casserole dish or pan. Because it never, never, never ever would get eaten.
That is because leftovers look disgusting. Period.
My new kitchen BFF is these little prep bowls from Pampered Chef. If I have leftover rice or meatballs or anything, I scoop it into these cute little bowls, and BINGO: instant personal serving for tomorrow (or whenever).

This makes it easy for Darling Husband to grab a serving of something on his way to work, because he is far too lazy (truly) to take out a big casserole dish, cut himself a piece of something, and package it up.
So speaking of my newfound Leftover Love, I decided last night (Thursday night) to root around in the fridge and try to use up what we had — since we’ll be buying new stuff on Saturday.
The pickin’s were slim …

A couple of slightly-bruised apples, a handful of blueberries, some sad-looking watermelon and pineapple in watery containers, some brownish green beans, some wilted green onion, some tomatoes. All of it looked past its prime, and definitely not appetizing. The old me would have tossed it all …

I threw it all on the counter and started washing and slicing — still not sure what I would do. We didn’t have any meat in the fridge, and since Darling Husband is such a freaking carnavore, I tossed some frozen chicken breasts in the oven.

I got to work on the fruit first. After everything was taken from its grody, watery containers and chopped up nicely, it made a lovely little fruit salad for Darling Husband’s lunch …

The apples were next. Once they were washed and sliced, I sloshed them with lemon juice — to prevent browning — and they looked great …

Then I tackled the green beans. Once I scrubbed them and cut off the gross ends, they looked crisp and bright …

For Darling Husband’s main course, I spread some wild rice on the bottom of a lunch container, and cut the chicken breasts into strips. Once I added some BBQ sauce for dipping, I had a lunch I knew he’d like …

By the time I got to my main course, I still had tomatoes and green onion to use up — plus chicken and rice. I didn’t have lettuce or spinach to make a salad, so I decided to “invent” something and just mixed them all together: chunks of tomato and chicken, slices of green onion, and some wild rice …
Once I was finished, the fridge was pretty much bare — which means no waste, and I don’t have to feel guilty about loading it up again on Saturday.
It’s a good feeling to know you used what you had, and it’s amazing how nice food can look when it’s divided and conquered.

2 Comments on “Making lunch from (basically) nothing

  1. Inquiring minds want to know — what kinds of categories and organizing sheets do you use when preparing for your grocery shopping? Do tell 🙂


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