From sad leftovers to dream dinners

This is Priya Krishna , your backup captain for this week’s Five Meals of the Week. The Priya you see today has come a long way in the ...

This is Priya Krishna, your backup captain for this week’s Five Meals of the Week. The Priya you see today has come a long way in the kitchen. My young self new to New York had a simple but profitable cooking strategy for weeknights: buy the same ingredients every week (pasta, spinach, tomatoes, feta, frozen dumplings, sausage, yogurt), throw in a surprise item (sweet potatoes! cookie butter ice cream! an avocado!) in the cart and everything worked with the rest of my pantry.

Meals were mundane at times, but hey, I ate, I saved, and I didn’t waste anything. My fridge is fuller now. But I still strongly believe that working with what you have and not over-buying groceries (child-free privilege alert!) are good principles for cooking on weeknights. This newsletter is dedicated to the ingredients I tend to have in my fridge, which I consider to be ticking time bombs, just days away from becoming food waste. These use-or-lose ingredients, more than anything, dictate what I cook.

Here’s what I had left from a recent weekend: herbs, hot dog buns, ground meat, vegetable bric-a-brac (carrots, broccoli, onions) and seasoned green salad. And here are five recipes that came to the rescue.

I tried all the clever tricks to keep my herbs fresh longer. But at some point, you just have to use them. I love this recipe from Melissa Clark because it basically calls for all the herbs you have on hand, chopped up and tossed into a simple ricotta sauce that coats any type of short pasta. This recipe is forgiving: even if your herbs are droopy, the pasta will still taste great.

This one sticks out in the half-used bag of hot dog buns from that summer BBQ (sigh, someday they’ll sell hot dogs and buns in the same quantities). They are a nice canvas for Kay Chun’s Crispy Black Pepper Shrimp Rolls. If you’re nervous about frying on a weeknight, don’t be. The technique here – using a quick coating of cornstarch and a thin layer of oil – is easy. This recipe works with hamburger buns too!

Does anyone else end up with a random piece of ground meat when a recipe only called for 1/2 pound? Do like chef Simone Tong in this super-quick recipe adapted by Tejal Rao and cook the meat with ginger, garlic and green onions. Prepare a vinegar vinaigrette and serve with cold noodles and herbs. Peanuts give the dish more crunch and weight.

See the recipe.

So you have half an onion, a single carrot, and a small handful of kale taking up valuable storage space. Throw them on a baking sheet and make bibimbap. I made this recipe, courtesy of Eric Kim, with all sorts of hardy veggies, and it works wonders every time. A good reason to always have a jar of gochujang on hand.

See this recipe.

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Newsrust - US Top News: From sad leftovers to dream dinners
From sad leftovers to dream dinners
Newsrust - US Top News
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