I had some time on my hands, Friday morning through midday. And the fridge was full of leftovers. Not the kind of ready-to-eat leftovers, but "basic ingredient" leftovers. Bring those two together, and I was able to prepare several dishes to get through the weekend.
This is what I found in my fridge that needed using up posthaste:
liquid from straining pureed pumpkin
thawed, frozen spinach
canned, whole tomatoes
canned tomato paste
cooked brown rice
an open package of tofu
thawed, frozen black olives
cooked black beans
plus, lots of potatoes, onions and eggs
And this is what I was able to make:
Fried rice, with eggs, tofu, mushrooms, spinach, onions and frozen peas
Pumpkin, ham and potato soup
Tomato Florentine soup
Refried black beans for serving with corn tortillas, salsa and avocados, making tacos, taquitos or burritos, or, for serving over cooked rice
Veggie pasta dish, using the pizza sauce, pasta, spinach, mushrooms, mashed tofu, and olives, topped with Parmesan
I prepared about 22 servings of these foods, in total. Added to this was about 4 servings of bean soup and a whole pumpkin pie, in the fridge, that had been thawing this week. Only 1 person was home for dinner on Friday night. So this was all enough to get us through the entire weekend, without me having to do much cooking! And my fridge looks so much better now. :-)
The value that I found in assembling all of these at one time was that I could ensure I was using up ingredients, entirely, without going overboard on any one dish. For example, I had a big chunk of thawed spinach to use up. I used some in the Florentine soup, then added a bit to the veggie pasta dish, and with that final bit, I stirred it into the completed fried rice. If I had been trying to use it up on just one dish, it might have been spinach overload in one meal.
And while I was in the kitchen on Friday, I made some mini chocolate chip cookies. One daughter, in particular, loves the cups of mini cookies that a campus restaurant, Einstein Bros. sells. I had planned on meeting up with both daughters for dinner in the student union building, before attending a play with them. Instead of buying a cup of mini cookies, I brought homemade. Oh, I can tell you, my daughters were so delighted! I also brought some fresh fruit from home, and we shared 2 sandwiches (half-price, as it was after 5 on a Friday evening), 3 ways, and drank water. Einstein Bros. has a punch card, to earn a free sandwich. It has taken me nearly 3 years to fill this one punch card (6 spots). Now, it's filled, and I'll give it to the 2 of them as a birthday gift, to get a sandwich to share on their birthday, next month, in the student union building.
I hope you had a great weekend!