Yesterday was one of those blah days. It was bitterly cold and the snow from the last two days was just making a huge mess. It was hard to drive, it was hard to walk, just massive piles of snow everywhere. The icicles hanging off of our garage were beautiful though. All the beauty dripping from our eaves, however, could not fix the issues in the fridge and pantry! The two days of our Winter storm had pretty much stranded us indoors with freezing temperatures outside and messy roads. I did not want to venture out to the store to get anything, but dinner had to be cooked. So, what to do? Make the “Clean out the fridge” stew of course!
“Let’s see, hmm, some orange bell peppers, half a red pepper, some garbanzo beans, I have some potatoes, half a carton of vegetable broth, some leftover tomato sauce, I guess I’ll throw in some lentils and serve over rice. Yes, thats sounds good enough.” You know? It wasn’t half bad! Everyone ate it and didn’t complain so that was a good sign ( which is excellent because I have some leftover and I don’t want to go to the store today either 🙂 ) I did give them a treat by making a chocolate cake for dessert and, I guess I’ll make dessert today too since I am making them eat leftovers! I have realised over the years that my family is more open to eating leftovers if there is a scrumptious dessert waiting for afters.
Anyway, I have included my impromptu recipe but I am sure you realise that you can make this with whatever is lurking in your fridge and pantry. I would have liked to have added some peas or green beans to have a green element but, alas, I was out of those too. However, I did have some tender, pea shoots so I used them as a topping and they added a pleasant crunch and some greenery to the stew. You can always use some spinach or field greens. Just dress them with some lemon and olive oil and they will give the stew a fresh light lift. The quantities are what I used in my stew and it made a big pot to serve 6-8.
Out Of Everything Stew
3 large potatoes, medium cubes
3 bell peppers ( I used orange and red), medium chopped
2 cups of cooked garbanzo beans or use 1, 15oz can
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup of brown lentils ( I soaked mine about 5/10 minutes)
2 cups of vegetable broth
2 cups of water ( you can use all broth or all water)
3/4 cup crushed tomatoes ( add more if you like)
1 teaspoon dried thyme ( or any herb you like)
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons of olive oil
Heat the oil in a big pot and add the potatoes.
Cook till they are a little golden and a little soft, about 8 minutes
Add the bell peppers, garlic and thyme.
Saute for about 5 minutes and then add the water and broth.
Bring to a simmer and throw in the dried lentils.
Cover the pot and cook until the lentils are done, about 10 minutes.
When the lentils are soft, add the garbanzo beans and the tomato sauce.
Check for seasoning, add salt and pepper.
Let simmer till the garbanzo beans and the tomato sauce have heated through.
I served this on top of rice. Finish off the stew with a topping of spinach or something green dressed in some lemon and oilve oil ( optional).
I hope you try a variation of my Out of Everything Stew and let me know what you add in yours.
It’s a challenge everyday to come up with something for dinner and that’s even with a fully stocked fridge and pantry. So coming up with something when you don’t, is just plain mind boggling, but its amazing that with
just a few things and flavourings, you can get something tasty and edible on the table.
I am thankful, that I don’t have fussy kids and they will pretty much eat anything I make. That helps a lot. I have tried to introduce my kids to many exotic flavours and dishes from a young age and I think that has helped tremondously. Of course, we’ll see how fussy they really are tonight when I try to pawn leftovers on them! Better go and find a good dessert recipe for tonight. Wish me luck!
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