How to Make Dinner with Stuff You Already Have

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After two epic failures in the kitchen this week (Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken that turned into shoe leather, and a Mango Lassi that tasted like air) I was semi scrambling to find something to share with you for dinner tonight.

Not wanting to spend more money on groceries, I decided to consult the stuff I already had in my pantry, fridge, and freezer, and came up with a totally customizable Kitchen Stash Supper. I cannot wait to use this simple recipe again and again in the future!

The Kitchen Stash Supper has four parts which are all made with kitchen and pantry staples: pasta, protein, and veggies, which are enveloped in a quick, 5 minute pan sauce.

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Not only can it be made with anything and everything you already have on hand, but it’s healthy, inexpensive, and damn good, to boot. :) Let’s get started, shall we?

Part 1: The Pasta

Start by cooking 8oz short pasta in boiling, salted water. You can use any kind you have in the pantry – farfalle, rotini, penne, gemelli, etc. I chose cavatappi, ’cause it’s mah fave.

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Cook the pasta until it’s al dente, then drain and set aside.

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Part 2: The Protein

Next chop 12oz of protein into bite-sized pieces. I chose 2 chicken breasts which I seasoned with salt & pepper, then sauteed in a large skillet over medium heat in 2 teaspoons olive oil. If you don’t have chicken, try shrimp, tofu, or even steak!

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After the protein is cooked, set it aside.

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Part 3: The Veggies

Now chop 2 cups veggies, then saute them in 2 teaspoons olive oil, using the same skillet as the chicken. This is the fun part because you can use any combo of vegetables you’ve got on hand. Corn, broccoli, green beans, asparagus, zucchini, brussels sprouts, fresh, frozen, canned – whatever you’ve got! I used 1/2 cup each mushrooms, broccoli, artichoke hearts, and tomatoes.

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Cook the veggies starting with the ones that take the longest (mushrooms and broccoli for my combo) then keep adding the others along the way. Once the veggies are cooked, remove them to the plate with the protein.

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Part 3: The Sauce

The sauce component of the Kitchen Sink Supper wraps the pasta, protein and veggies together in a luscious, creamy hug. Once again, it’s made in the same skillet as the protein & veggies!

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Start by melting 1 Tablespoon butter, then sprinkle in 2 Tablespoons flour.

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Whisk the butter and flour together, then let it cook for about 30 seconds.

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Next, slowly pour in 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth while whisking to break up the flour clumps. Do this in batches, a few Tablespoons of broth at a time, until the sauce is smooth.

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Season with salt & pepper, then let it bubble until thickened, about a minute or so.

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This next part is optional, but it kind of makes the dish taste like Mac & Cheese! Turn the heat off, then add 2oz soft cheese to the sauce. Any soft cheese will do – chevre, cream cheese, Laughing Cow, or even shredded cheddar.

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Stir the cheese in until it’s smooth and creamy. I used chevre because it melts like a dream!

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Assembly

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Add the cooked pasta, chicken, and veggies to the sauce in the skillet.

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Top with 1/4 cup basil or parsley, if you want, then mix everything together.

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Oh baby…

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Cleaning out the kitchen never tasted so good!

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Kitchen Stash Supper

Print this recipe!

Serves 4

Ingredients:
8oz cavatappi (or any short pasta: farfalle, rotini, penne, gemelli, , etc.)
2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces (or 12oz of another protein)
salt & pepper
4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups chopped veggies (mushrooms, zucchini, asparagus, broccoli, corn, peas, etc.)
1 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken broth (or vegetable)
2oz chevre (or another soft cheese: cream cheese, Laughing Cow, shredded cheddar) – optional
1/4 cup chopped basil (or parsley) – optional

Directions:

  1. Cook the pasta in salted, boiling water until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper, then saute until no longer pink in the center. Remove to a plate and set aside.
  3. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in the same skillet. Add shallot and garlic, then saute for 30 seconds. Add vegetables, longer cooking ones first, season with salt and pepper, then saute until tender. Remove to the same plate as the chicken.
  4. Melt butter in the same skillet. Sprinkle in flour, then whisk and cook for 30 seconds. Pour in chicken broth a little at a time, whisking to break up any clumps. Season with salt and pepper, then let cook for 1-2 minutes, or until thick and bubbly. Remove skillet from the heat, then add in cheese and stir to melt.
  5. Add cooked pasta, chicken, vegetables, and basil to the sauce in the skillet, then stir to combine.

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Creamy, filling, satisfying, and fresh. I love this 1-2-3-4 simple supper combo!

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Once you’ve got the ratios down, it’s a breeze to make. Just remember – 8oz pasta, 12oz protein, 2 cups veggies, and then the sauce recipe (which isn’t too hard to remember.)

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This is perfect for those nights when you’re feeling uninspired or just creatively blocked in the kitchen. It doesn’t hurt that it also clears up room in the pantry, leaving you with more room for things like, oh I don’t know, Doritos Jacked.

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In other news, your Grandparent stories had me nodding, giggling, and sniffing yesterday and today. It’s funny how similar our relationships with them can be, yet so unique and special. :)

Well I’m off to enjoy the evening. Who’s ready for Friday?!

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