My daughter and I found ourselves in a relatively quiet house this weekend when husband and son traveled to Kentucky for a sodden soccer tournament. We busied ourselves with household chores (me), homework (her) and attending high school basketball tournament games (both).
I had just rolled paint on the final corner of a bedroom ceiling, when Katie asked what was for dinner and could she get it started. That would have been nice, except I didn't have meal plan. I didn't want to venture to the grocery store or a restaurant in paint-flecked hair and clothes.
I opened the refrigerator and hoped for inspiration.
The refrigerator contained little bits and pieces of meals eaten earlier in the week. I believe there is a television show that challenges cooks to prepare a meal from the contents of a stranger's refrigerator and pantry. My family is way ahead of that game.
My mother is so adept at putting together a tasty meal from the contents of small plastic containers in the refrigerator that my sister-in-law dubbed the process "pulling a Linda." For years, Mom listened to my brother and me (mostly my brother) yell, "There's nothing to eat," then she'd make a delicious, healthy meal from, well, nothing.
Our refrigerator contained some leftover tomato-basil soup, cooked diced chicken and basmati rice that looked promising. Colcannon, the potato and cabbage dish from last week's column, didn't make the cut. A bit past its prime, it made it to the garbage, instead.
The soup was a little thick, so I added some chicken stock and tomato juice. As it simmered, I added the chicken and rice. I chopped some fresh spinach, added that and simmered a few minutes more. I ladled it into soup bowls, dusted it with grated Parmesan cheese and served with toasted slices of crusty multigrain bread and a green salad.
We're both soup lovers, so two nights of soup in a row don't bother us.
It took less than half an hour, and I had "pulled a Linda."
Tomato Basil Soup