One of the qualities that my husband admires in me is my resourcefulness. He thinks I have the ability to turn what seems like nothing into something wonderful. I hate being wasteful and I’m thrifty by nature, so being resourceful just seems to come naturally. It’s kind of like creative work in that respect. If I’m working on a design project where I have free reign to do what I want and no restrictions to hold me back, it can make the whole process seem way too easy. But throw in a couple of contraints and left turns and then I’ve got a real creative struggle. Many times, that’s where some of my best work comes from. Looking for ideas in the kitchen can be the same. If your fridge is full and your cupboards are stacked, well, looking for inspiration is easy! But when you knock choice out of the equation, that’s when your skills in making something out of nothing can really shine.
This past week, I made a couple salads just by throwing stuff into a bowl and calling in dinner. Salad #1 turned out pretty good. I shredded up some leftover cabbage, diced up some leftover jicama, carefully diced a lonely jalapeno and a sweet red pepper, and tossed everything with fresh orange slices, dried cherries, toasted walnuts and mustard/lime dressing. Not bad. It filled our bellies, tasted fresh and bright and I’ll bet it would have tasted a hundred times better with some crumbled feta cheese. Next time.
Salad #2, however, was a wild success. A weird jumble of pasta, beans, lettuce and a super simple yet hella good vinegrette. Sure, this salad ain’t fancy but it’s perfect for those days cooking doesn’t seem like an option and all you want to do is watch America’s Next Top Model with a big bowl of something awesome on your lap. And by awesome, I mean this salad. If you do make this salad, throw in some diced avocados. That’s what I’m gonna do next time. Or just throw in what you’ve got on hand and make it better.
southwest bean & pasta salad
250 g whole wheat rotini, cooked, drained and cooled
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 c frozen corn, thawed
1/2 c salsa
a few romaine leaves, torn into bite-sized bits
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/4 of a red onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 t cumin
1/4 c cheddar cheese, shredded
juice from 1 lime
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 t chili powder
1 T honey
salt & pepper to taste
Toss everything into a bowl and then pour dressing over top and mix until combined. Top with shredded cheese. Makes 2 super large servings.