I could just dial up the local pizza shop, or phone in an order for fried rice and General Tso's chicken, but it really bothers me to do that when I have food in my fridge to use up. I try to stay away from doing "take out" more than once every few weeks. It's not only expensive, but the sodium and additives in these types of foods really wreak havoc on your system. Plus, I hate wasting food, so I try to use up most everything I cook or buy. But tonight, it was slim pickin's.
After staring into my fridge and cupboards (for who knows how long), I finally formed a vision of dinner in my mind. I had to use up a half bag of baby spinach, a quarter jar of salsa, a green pepper, and some gourmet, shredded, parmesan cheese. Then I found a few turkey sausage links in my freezer, as well as a few mini pizza shells. Soon, I was lucky enough to find a few other staples that would make this dinner complete. In about 45 minutes, dinner was served!
This is how it all went down:
Baked Tomato Rice and Peppers
1 and 1/2 cups long grain rice (uncooked)
1 small onion (diced)
1 large green pepper (sliced into strips)
2 garlic cloves (minced)
1 can (about 14 oz) diced tomatoes
1/4 cup chunky salsa
1 can (14 oz.) vegetable broth (or you can use chicken)
1/4 cup water
3 turkey sausage links
2 cups fresh baby spinach
shredded parmesan cheese (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray a 13x9 pan with cooking spray.
Dice your onion, slice up your pepper, and mince your garlic. Mix together and set aside. In a large, deep pan, brown the turkey sausage. When done, remove from the pan, cool, and slice into small pieces.
In the pan you used for the sausage, add a bit of olive oil, then add the onions, peppers and garlic. Salt and pepper to taste, saute until tender.
To this pan, add the sliced sausage, can of diced tomatoes, salsa, vegetable broth, water, rice and spinach. Stir to combine, and then pour this mixture right into your 13x9 pan. (It will kind of look like soup).
Cover the pan with foil, and place in the oven for 25 minutes.
After 25 minutes, remove the foil and sprinkle with the shredded cheese. Bake uncovered for about 5 minutes more. After baking, let it sit for little bit, to be sure the rice has absorbed all of the liquid. Enjoy!
Wait! I said I also found "pizza shells". On a cookie sheet, place two uncooked shells. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with pepper (cracked, freshly ground if you have it), garlic salt, and a bit of minced garlic. Top with mozzarella cheese and parsley. Bake for 15-20 minutes along with the rice. Cut into strips to serve.
Not bad for desperation, but I will have to make that dreaded trip to the store tomorrow night.