What to do about dinner with an (almost) empty fridge?

When you have fresh ingredients, you can’t go wrong. Francesco and I don’t always have time to make a three-course meal, so we just get creative.  I used to brainstorm for hours about what would make a decent dinner with the ingredients I found in the fridge. Now, I just wing it, and most of the time, they results are comestible  – eggs and cheese? Add a bit of bacon or prosciutto and you have yourself a frittata. Tomatoes and mozzarella? A nice Caprese salad. We both like bell peppers (a staple in our fridge), shallots and beans, all kinds of beans, and that’s what we had the night we decided to put them all together.

There isn’t really a recipe to follow, but here are some instructions. We thinly sliced a trio of orange, yellow and red bell peppers – I use the royal “we,” but Francesco should take the credits for this dish. We did the same with the shallots and threw them into a hot pan. Let them cook for about 8 or 10 minutes, until tender.

The one ingredient we willingly chose to use in the dish was meat. We decided on skirt steak, one of my favorite cuts and a breeze to grill. We sprinkled some salt, pepper and smoked paprika and placed it on a grill pan. There are many disadvantages to not having an outdoor grill and one of the worst is smoke! Although our kitchen resembles my hometown in Italy on a morning after a night of heavy rains – foggy and muggy – the flavor of grilled meat make up for it.

Skirt steak is lean and very flavorful. Its only downside is that if overcooked can be chewy and hard. One fun fact that I was unaware of is that this cut is often used to make Bolognese sauce (or ragu’). Ah, the things you learn on the Internet.

While the bell peppers and the meat are cooking, prepare the beans. We used store-bought big Pinto beans, but Cannellini beans (my favorite) work just fine. Wash them thoroughly and add them to the bell peppers. Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes.

After the meat is done, let it rest for at least 15 minutes – this will leave it tender and its juices intact. Then cut it in small strips.

Heat up a c0uple of tortillas (we chose flour tortillas, but corn will do) and fill them up with the delicious vegetable medley and add the meat and a sprinkle of olive oil.

This dish took about 20 minutes to make. It’s an easy and healthy quick dinner for busy professionals. Enjoy!

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