Because it's all about creativity. And working with what you've got. And procrastinating.
I didn't intend to make a blog-worthy meal tonight, but I'm just so awesome that it turns out my little experiment in the kitchen was a winner.
I still haven't gone grocery shopping, even though I'm out of almost everything. I'm putting it off until this weekend when I have more time. In the meantime, I had started daydreaming earlier today about how to come up with a healthy, tasty meal using what I already had at home. Staples, if you will. Now, my staples are most likely different than yours. My staples are ingredients that I usually have on hand because I like to put them in everything (like canned beans and frozen veggies). However, some of my "staples" are still in my pantry, because I rarely use them and they never go bad (like brown rice).
So today's "throw everything in the pot" recipe includes frozen veggies, beans, rice, homemade cheese sauce, and love. I wish I could say that this is a one pot meal, but sadly, it's not. I actually dirtied up enough dishes to fill the dishwasher and run it. Now that's accomplishment!
If you have cooked brown rice on hand, this comes together pretty fast- very little prep, you just have to wait for it to bake. If you don't have already-cooked rice on hand, well, then you're going to have to cook it yourself, like I did. (Which added to my pan count.) Once again, the ingredients are more of a suggestion than a hard rule. Use whatever variety of rice and veggies you have on hand, or whatever you like best. I would have liked to have used corn in this dish, but I didn't have any. It's whatever.
2 cups cooked brown rice
2 cups non-dairy milk, unsweetened
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp prepared mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup diced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
15 oz can sliced mushrooms
15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 lb frozen veggies, your choice (yay freedom!)
1/2 cup leftover salsa (make sure there's no mold)
a few dashes of Tabasco sauce, because I just remembered I bought it when I made bloody mary's a month ago but never opened it
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside for a minute.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, throw in all of the sauce ingredients, and whisk to mix well. Set this aside for a minute also.
In a large saucepan, saute the onion and garlic on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for another minute. Add veggies, beans, salsa, and Tabasco, if using, and stir to mix well. Cook in pan for 6-8 minutes, until frozen veggies are less frozen (we're baking this, too, so they don't have to be hot all the way through).
Pack the rice into a nice layer on the bottom of your prepared casserole dish. Dump the casserole filling on top of that and pat it down to make it look pretty. Give your sauce a quick whisk and then pour it all over the casserole.
Bake in oven for 35-40 minutes, until sauce is bubbly and not runny-looking in the middle. Let sit for 2 minutes (that's all the longer I could wait- this stuff smelled amazing!) and serve hot. With extra Tabasco, if you want. Or extra salsa, if you had more than 1/2 cup in the jar you found in the fridge, hiding behind the almond butter.