Filling Up On an Empty Fridge

Posted by admin on Wednesday, June 1, 2011

My mom and stepdad just left for London for a week, so I’m left to fend for myself.

After dropping them off at the airport, I came home to an empty house and an empty stomach. I opened the fridge and stared at the barren shelves, hoping something was hidden behind the bottles of Bud Light and bag of tomatoes.

Just when I was about to drink away my hunger, I remembered taking out a pound of ground beef from the freezer earlier that day; so with meat in my hand, a hodgepodge of veggies in the fridge and a few other staple pantry items, I decided to make spaghetti with a homemade meat sauce.

There isn’t an exact recipe for this dish; rather it’s more of a method. The ingredients are whatever you have on hand.

With a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in the pan, I started to brown up the ground beef until the meat was fully cooked. I then drained the excess oil and set the meat aside. Fishing through my fridge, I found some Roma tomatoes, a red bell pepper and an onion. I chopped them up and threw them into the same pan I browned up my beef in for the base of my homemade sauce. After some more rummaging through the fridge, I found a teaspoon of pre-minced garlic you can buy in the jar, so I added that to my pan of veggies, garlic juice and all. After the veggies were tender, but still had a little crunch to them, I added the ground beef back to the pan, along with a good amount of salt and pepper and half a teaspoon each of dried basil and oregano to add some flavor to the sauce.

I always try to add a little kick to whatever savory dish I’m making, and I had my eye on a certain something in my fridge – fire roasted chipotle salsa. I popped open the jar and poured half of it into the pan. Out came not only sweet tomatoes and spicy chipotle peppers, but hearty black beans and roasted green bell peppers. Instantly my kitchen was filled with a tantalizing smoky aroma from the chipotle peppers hitting the heat of the pan and developing their full flavor.

My sauce was looking a little too thin from all the juices being released from the veggies, so to thicken it up, I made a rue by adding one tablespoon of both butter and flour to the pan, along with about ¾ cup of milk. For a little extra salty bite and to help thicken the sauce even more, I added about ½ cup of parmesan cheese to the sauce. At this point, I turned the pan to low heat and let all the wonderful flavors simmer and marry together as I cooked up half a pound of spaghetti. (Penne pasta would also be really good, too).

With my pasta cooked, meat sauce thickened and my stomach growling, there was nothing left to do, but load up my plate and dig in!

Spaghetti with homemade meat sauce piled high and fit for a Queen!

The first thing I tasted was the mixture of spicy and smoky from the fire roasted chipotle salsa, which had my taste buds dancing for joy. Combined with the salty parmesan and the slight crunch still left in the red bell peppers and onions, this was the perfect meal to tame the rumbling in my stomach.

If you have some sort of pasta, meat and assortment of vegetables, you can have dinner in no time!

Don't let the appearance fool you; one bite of this pasta will send your taste buds soaring to a world of delicious.


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