One of my favorite parts of Top Chef are the quickfire challenges because they challenge chefs to improvise, and quickly put together meals with, often, items that we can find in our pantries.
After watching for many seasons, I have tried to pick up on strategies and apply them to instances where I feel like I have no food. It is actually funny to realize how much food you really do have in your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry when you force yourself to use what you have. Some of my favorite creations have stemmed from banning myself from going out and buying more stuff (especially this summer when it felt ridiculous to drive my gas-guzzler SUV to the grocery store a few miles away to pick up an ingredient).
Today on my way home, I didn't want to eat out or buy groceries a few days before leaving for Thanksgiving. So I ended up making spinach-pesto penned with grilled chicken with what I had in less than 20 minutes. Beat that Rachel Ray.
The spinach-pesto turned out great because the moistness of the thawed-out spinach meant less olive oil and it was a cinch to make in my baby cusinart. I may even prefer this to regular basil pesto. Though I never measure anything, here's my guess on the recipe:
-1 1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
-3 tablespoons minced garlic (I love garlic)
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-5 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
-1 tablespoon dried basil
-salt and cracked black better to taste
I feel like I should audition for Top Chef now. I could have that "dropped out of law school to pursue her dream" story-line. Just kidding mom and dad.