Quick Pantry Meals: Post-Holiday Edition
Here’s my resolution: No more cooking in the new year! At this point I’ve been making fancy food for what feels like weeks. I can’t look at another rich, festive meal, much less prepare it. So I’m waddling to the pantry and pulling out the ingredients for my favorite post-holiday meal: quick veggie chili. And I mean quick: all you do is add canned tomatoes and canned beans to the ingredients in the box. You can dress the chili up if you want—chopped onion, shredded cheddar—but it’s really fine as is.
Want some cornbread with that chili? I hope I don’t have to tell you to use a mix at this time of year. If you want to get fancy, you can stir in some grated cheddar, a handful of frozen corn kernels, and a few chopped bottled jalapenos (refrigerated, they keep forever). Spread this gussied-up batter over the chili, bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, and call it tamale pie.
Oh, right — we need a salad, too. (What a welcome addition after all those nights of mashed potatoes and plum pudding.) Vegetable purists sneer at bagged salad greens, but I hate to wash lettuce so much that I converted to those “pre-washed” bags and cartons years ago. For the highest quality with the least amount of waste, always buy single-ingredient bags—baby spinach, baby romaine leaves, or arugula. Mixed greens look appealing—all those dear little leaves!—but since different greens age at different rates, you can end up throwing out as much as one-third of the contents if you store a bag or box for more than a day or two. Leftover baby spinach or arugula leaves, on the other hand, can be tossed into meatloaf, pasta sauce, or even chili: added nutrition that even picky eaters likely won’t notice.
We’ve got more easy and quick dinner recipes for after the holidays!