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Refrigerator Cleanout

photo by bobbi bowers, via flickr creative commons

photo by bobbi bowers, via flickr creative commons

Growing up, I remember eating some weird meals in the name of “refrigerator/freezer cleanout.”  Bless my practical and wonderful Midwestern mother who taught by example that we shouldn’t waste a bite, eating a smorgasbord of leftovers or an unexpected combination of sausage, broccoli and peaches (or something like that) was never out of the question.  (Note: the saving grace of these meals was that they were likely to be eaten by candlelight).

In my adult life, I have trouble putting together these random meals (in part because I married and share meals with a man who rarely ate leftovers when we met).  But nonetheless, I inherited my mother’s practicality and like the idea of putting what I have in the fridge to good use.  I made my favorite fridge cleanout meal last night: stir-fry.  I’m sure real chefs would cringe to hear me talk about the prized stir-fry as my “cleanout meal,” but I’m not a real chef.  I’m just a human trying to put colorful, real, nutrient-dense food into my body via meals that look pretty and taste good enough to make mealtime pleasurable.  So if you’re in the same boat as me, here’s the version of the stir-fry I made:

  • Saute garlic, ginger, and red onion in sesame oil
  • Add 2 diced carrots, a handful of sliced mushrooms, a head of broccoli chopped into small pieces, spinach leaves, leftover chicken broken into small pieces
  • Drizzle soy sauce as cooking veggies and warming chicken in wok
  • Add leftover cooked brown rice
  • Mix in one scrambled egg per person
  • Add spice with a drizzle of sriracha sauce as desired

This took 10-15 minutes to make and tasted hearty and whole and real and (dare I say) interesting.  I even had seconds….in honor of my mom.

What’s your go-to refrigerator cleanout meal?  And if you’re not into using whatever scraps you have, what’s a delicious and super fast meal you’ve cooked lately? 

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Ethan and I often “scavenge” when we don’t have anything planned for dinner. I force him to eat the weird random soups he always buys and doesn’t finish. And I try to eat whatever’s going to expire next!

    May 15, 2013
  2. Liz S. #

    Thanks, Brynn. Even I can make this stir-fry! (Seriously, I have 3 kitchen fires to my credit!)
    BTW, this reminds me of an earlier post about cooking what’s needed so food doesn’t go to waste. I do the opposite – I plan to have leftovers. Since I frequently work from home and am too busy to even make a salad it’s wonderful to open the fridge and eat the healthy leftovers!

    May 15, 2013
    • THREE KITCHEN FIRES? impressive! thanks for sharing your take on this…now you can have healthy stir-fry leftovers!

      May 15, 2013

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