I don't know about the rest of you, but my biggest challenge is in making sure the contents of my vegetable crisper don't turn into something terrible when I'm not paying attention. This is very much an out of sight, out of mind issue. I never have a problem with onions, potatoes, lemons, etc., because I keep them in a big bowl on my counter and I can see them. But the drawer at the bottom of my fridge...? Well. I hate to think about the limp carrots and liquifying greens I've neglected.
I do try. If I were perfect I would inventory every single day and base my meal plans on what's about to go off. But sometimes I get busy or find myself seduced by a recipe which requires NONE of the produce I have on hand, or I say the hell with it and go out to dinner. Or I just plain forget to look, I admit it. It's too bad, because it's quite satisfying to make something out of expediency. It makes me feel thrifty and smart and responsible.
In my latest crisper excavation I found a head a of escarole, some carrots, half an onion, some tired-looking cilantro and parsley and a few jalapenos. Sounded like soup to me. And not just any soup... but a variation on Moroccan Chickpea Soup. This is such an easy recipe-- and really satisfying. It's colorful, rustic and very hearty .The heat from the chili will clear your sinuses, too. The original version has no tomatoes in it and calls for cooking dried garbanzo beans (I cheat and use canned). The addition of escarole was perfect (chop it and add it about 15 minutes before you're ready to eat), though I did leave out the carrots (must do something with those carrots soon!).
Moroccan Chickpea Soup
serves 6 - 8
2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
8 cups water
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups onions, chopped
1 large can chopped tomatoes, drained
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 small hot pepper, chopped finely
1/2 cup fresh coriander, leaf chopped finely
1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped finely
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon fresh black pepper
1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
In a soup pot heat the oil and saute the onions, garlic, and hot pepper until they are very slightly browned.
Add the water or chicken stock, the chickpeas and the rest of the ingredients. Let it come to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let it simmer for a while-- no more than an hour to avoid mushy chickpeas.
This is really low calorie-- a single serving (assuming you use water and not chicken broth) is under 200 calories.