Clean out the Fridge!

Sometimes you just have to get creative in the kitchen…get in the pantry, get into the back of your vegetable drawer, throw away the mushy old cucumber you forgot about, and see what you have that is fresh and edible before your next trip to the grocery.  You may come up with something similar to the following recipe:  I call it the One Skillet Sensation in under 20 minutes.  Sometimes these “creative empty the fridge out” dishes become your family favorites and long time traditions. 

  • 2 Cups Israeli Cous (If you don’t have it..don’t worry….just substitute brown or white rice or even cooked bow tie pasta would work with the rest of these ingredients) 
  • 1/2 Red onion small dice
  • 2-3 Celery Stalks- small dice
  • 1/2-whole yellow pepper- small dice
  • 1/2-1 whole orange pepper- small dice (when I made this dish I only had a half of each, you could do a whole of one if you like or just what you have available)
  • 3-4 chicken breast, seasoned with salt and pepper and roasted in the oven  (Time Saver Tip:  Pick up a rotisserie chicken on your way home and pull off the bone in medium size pieces)
  • 1 Fresh Pineapple- cored, sliced and medium diced (Time Saver Tip:  Use pineapple chunks in the can drained)
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 2 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar
  • Handful of fresh basil Chiffonade (roll the leaves and slice to make long thin strands of basil)
  • 1 TBSP Dried Dill
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 of fresh lemon squeezed
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large saute pan add 1-2 TBSP of Extra virgin olive oil and bring to a medium to high heat.  Add red onion.  Saute for about a minute until the onion begins to appear translucent.  Now add the celery and peppers.  Saute for about 2-3 minutes and allow the vegetables to cook. 

 Now add your cous cous and just stir and blend in with the vegetables.  The pan may start to brown, so start to slowly add in your chicken stock and water.  Reduce your heat and allow the vegetables and cous cous to simmer for about 5-1o minutes.  You will know when the cous cous is ready simply by trying it.  The liquid will be almost absorbed and the cous cous will be soft.

  Add your chicken and pineapple and stir.  Season the dish with basil, dill, cumin, and salt and pepper.  (Tip: If you are out of  fresh basil and decide to use your dried basil there is a culinary ratio that always works.  When using fresh herbs vs dried the ratio is always 3:1… 3 fresh to 1 dry.) Lastly squeeze your lemon over the dish and dinner is served! 

This dish is a meal in it self but can be served with a nice mixed green salad, with cherry tomatoes and your dressing of choice.  Throw in some nice Foccacia bread or any bread of choice and you have a dinner that can easily serve a family of 4-6 people.

I always try to reiterate that cooking is simple, it shouldn’t be stressful but a fun time where the family can pull together, talk about their day, work together, and sit down at the dinner table and enjoy a moment of peace together before rushing off to the next activity, practice, presentation, or favorite tv show.  Take the time to enjoy each other because life is short and the precious simple moments of life are limited.

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