This summer hasn’t been brilliant for me and cooking. Let’s be honest — it was brutally hot and often humid, and I’ve been busy. But hey, since when is that just a summer thing? Here’s a second “idea” recipe of the summer — the “idea” part being that you can change up almost all of the ingredients and the concept will still work. Actually, that’s also the whole point of this recipe.
You know those weeks where you have a lot of random leftovers around? Or ingredients you didn’t use quite all of? Last week, that was me — a fridge full of random, and a planned long weekend vacation at the end of the week. So I shopped strategically and left my empty fridge alone over the weekend.
With half a bag of shredded carrots, most of a cucumber, some broccoli, leftover brown rice pasta, half an avocado, and a packet of tuna, I managed four meals by adding one key ingredient — ranch dressing (check out our cashew-based recipe, but you can also try the Earth Balance mayo version). I know that you likely come here for new and fresh recipes, and this isn’t exactly a recipe. But occasionally, I need a reminder that good, healthy, tasty food is not hard and does not need to take forever to make.
This kind of salad is one of my favorite things to eat for lunches, but I make a few, get a bit tired of them, and then seem to forget that they exist. Does anyone else do that?
Meal The First
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 cucumber, sliced in half and thinly sliced
1/2 bag of shredded carrots
2 cups of broccoli florets, broken into smaller florets
1/4 cup slivered almonds
Cashew ranch, to your level of dressing needs
- Feeds two or makes two meals, with leftovers, so plate and then put the dressing on your servings
Meal the Second
To the leftover vegetables, and with the leftover ranch, add:
1 packet of tuna, drained
1/2 avocado, cubed
1 small tomato, sliced
1 cup of leftover pasta
- Again, feeds two or makes two meals
Other Possible Additions
Leftover chicken/canned chicken
Any other vegetables you may have around
Leftover rice or other grains
Do you make salads like this? If so, what would you add? Any good ideas for exciting or unexpected ingredients?
I do this more often in the winter for soup. I actually save chicken bits from making stock to put in this. My recipe is Saute Thai curry paste with a can of coconut milk. Add some chicken broth. Go to the refrigerator and remove aging veggies. Chop and add to soup. Throw in meat bits of some type. If it looks like it needs more stuff, rummage in the freezer and amidst the dehydrated veggies for things to add. I’ve actually canned this. It needs to be shaken before heating, but the flavor was not adversely impacted.
Yep, soup can be made of anything. I should probably learn to can my own soup, but unlike where Denise lives, our power outages are usually fixed pretty quick, so I go the lazier route of freezing everything.
I usually use my aging vegetables for stock, which I then freeze, but the curry paste + can of coconut milk + bag of frozen veg is a pretty common winter staple here.
Just learned to use my pressure canner this past weekend to do hoisin sauce, since I’m still concentrating on condiment replacements, but I’m so ready to do some stocks and stews! Can’t wait to try it.