I am the Leftover Queen. I think I inherited this title from my mom, who probably inherited it from her mother. There is no such thing as throwing food away in my house. Truly, I can't stand to see anything go to waste. I even have a container of mixed bread crumbs in the freezer. Whenever I get to the bottom of the bread loaf or have a bunch of crumbs from bagels or english muffins, I throw them in the container in the freezer...later I can use them on top of a creamy homemade macaroni and cheese or bake chicken with them (Of course, now that I'm eating gluten-free, I guess I'll just have to make a dish for someone else since I can't eat those bread crumbs).
Sometimes my inability to throw anything away can be a bit much. I'll admit it. I can't seem to help it though, so I embrace it. One of the benefits is that I'm also really good at saving money, which is great with the economy being the way it is right now.
This week, I ended up with a couple of items in the fridge that I didn't like, but couldn't throw away.
- Item #1: leftover rice pasta from my dinner a few nights ago. Rice pasta apparently gets dry and kind of grainy after a day or two in the fridge. I wasn't looking forward to eating it.
- Item #2: Trader Joe's Organic Low-Sodium Butternut Squash soup. I bought it because their Creamy Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soups are amazing (the low-sodium versions are gluten-free). The Butternut Soup? Not so amazing. Eating it as is was not an option.
For my hearty pasta soup, I sauteed a cup of zucchini, green peppers, and mushrooms, then stirred in a cup of canned black beans. To this I added the leftover Butternut Squash Soup (there were probably three cups left) and a 20-oz can of diced tomatoes, and let it all simmer for about twenty minutes. I mixed in a good dash of cumin, dried basil, dried oregano, salt, and pepper. Then I stirred in a big spoonful of homemade pesto (because who doesn't like pesto?). And finally, the rice pasta. Letting it sit in the soup restored it's creamy texture, and I was pleasantly surprised to have a delicious dinner. And now I know what to do the next time I have leftover gluten-free pasta.