One Night of Making It Up As I Went Along

The other day was a snow day. Schools were closed and I had to spend a lot of  time getting things done despite also having to keep my daughter entertained, or at least keep her from either braining herself while playing and see her through to the end of the day. The weather was sufficiently unpleasant that I carved my list of errands to a bare minimum and once we were home at noon I said, “OK, that’s it, we’re not leaving the house again today.”
One challenge was dinner. Well, to be honest, lunch was a bit of a challenge: neither of us ever ate a proper lunch. We got home and grazed our way through the day. A few grapes, some peanut butter on toast, some pistachios. It wasn’t really so great. I knew I had to come up with a better plan for dinner. While I’d gone to the store and bought milk and eggs and a head of lettuce, I hadn’t bought anything obviously delicious for dinner, like a chicken. I had this vague faith that I could make us dinner without spending any money on new ingredients.
Once home I opened the fridge and thought. There was, I knew, a Ziploc bag in the freezer that had enough dough for one pizza. If I thawed that out and figured out some toppings, that would be half the battle there. A tub of leftover red sauce from Sunday night, when I made stuffed shells? Excellent. A few ounces of mozzarella that miraculously hasn’t yet gone moldy? Great. Leftover boiled broccoli? Fabulous. I had a can of black olives and a can of chickpeas.
“OK,” I said to my daughter. “We’re going to have a broccoli, olive, and chickpea pizza, and a chickpea and macaroni salad on the side.”
“YUM!” said my daughter of infinite faith.

So dinner was thus assembled: the pizza looked great. I made up a pasta salad by taking a spoonful of pickle relish, some parsley, and some capers, and mixing them up with mayonnaise. I boiled the half pound of elbow macaroni that was sitting in a jar in the pasta cabinet (yes, I have a pasta cabinet), drained a can of chick peas, and put that all together. It smelled pretty good, even if it didn’t look particularly attractive.

I had baked, during the afternoon, a pan of what I thought would be peanut butter/chocolate marbled brownies (this done because I wanted to bake something with peanut butter, but I also wanted to use up some of the leftover chocolate babka filling that’s been taking up space in the fridge a few weeks). The pan of brownies looked great, though when we cut into it we could see that it looked more cake-like than brownie-like. My husband wasn’t too impressed. “Too dry,” he said. “It’s like a cake,” I said sadly. “But it’s ok. I’ll fix the next batch.”
Because a peanut butter/chocolate anything isn’t going to go wanting for consumers, I’m not feeling too bad about this particular flop. Our daughter thinks it’s wonderful, and she can I could easily eat the whole pan up within two days.
So the moral of the story is, once again, if you give your leftovers in the fridge some thought, or even a negligible amount of thought, you too can wind up with a meal that looks like this: Dinner Feb 8 2016



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