We've been very much enjoying the Cupboard Cleanout, but this was the first time it really felt like a challenge.
Here's the deal: We had plans to see a play Thursday evening, so we knew we wouldn't be home to cook dinner. Fine. Dinner would be a couple bowls of defrosted Creamy Cauliflower Soup we had frozen last month.
But, lunch. What to do for lunch? In a typical week, we probably would have bought some Lean Cuisines for work. Or, faced with the prospect of nothing at home to take in for lunch, we would have purchased lunch out at a deli or salad bar or something. During the Cupboard Cleanout, though, that's not an option.
So Wednesday night about 9 p.m., we dragged ourselves into the kitchen to see what we could make to take for lunch the next day. We weren't thrilled about the idea of starting a new dish when what we really wanted was to have a beer and watch Modern Family finish this F.D.R. biography we've been reading.
Anyway, we came up with was this Wild Rice with Turkey Sausage and Dried Fruits. And we were very happy with it!
The dish -- with wild rice, dried cranberries, golden raisins and walnuts -- was similar to a few different Thanksgiving dressings we've made over the years, especially this Wild-Rice Pilaf with Cranberries and Pecans and, to a lesser degree, this Wild Rice Dressing with Dried Fruits and Nuts. Tossing in turkey sealed the deal!
As preparations go, this one's really simple. So simple that we're not going to include a full-on recipe. Here's what you do: Prepare 2 cups wild rice as directed. In a separate skillet, saute 1 medium diced onion and 2 pounds ground turkey sausauge, removed from casings (Actually, we had 2 tubes of frozen frozen ground turkey sausage on hand.). Once turkey is browned, add 2 cups dried fruit (we used golden raisins and cranberries), 1 1/2 cups toasted chopped pecans, and seasoning (we used salt, pepper, a little cumin and some poulty seasoning). Stir to combine, then toss with cooked rice.
It turned out really well, and it ultimately wasn't that big of a pain to cook at 9 p.m. And, yeah, it was way better than a Lean Cuisine.
Day 5 Breakfast: Protein shake with banana
Cupboard Items Used: Nothing from our list.
Degree of Difficulty: 0.5 out of 10
Verdict: Third verse, same as the first...
Day 5 Lunch: Wild Rice with Turkey Sausage, Pecans and Dried Fruits
Cupboard Items Used: Wild rice, an onion, 2 lbs. frozen turkey, pecans (that we had originally mistaken for walnuts), the rest of our golden raisins, the rest of our dried cranberries
Degree of Difficulty: 3 out of 10
Verdict: A hearty dish full of great textures and comforting flavors. It made an excellent workday lunch, but we'd happily serve it for dinner, as well.
Day 5 Dinner: defrosted Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Greens
Cupboard Items Used: Soup from the freezer.
Degree of Difficulty: 0 out of 10. (Seriously, we just pushed "start" on the microwave.)
Verdict: Solid. (A solid choice, we mean. The soup was, you know, liquid. Once we defrosted it.)