One of the things I love about cooking is being spontaneous and playful.  When we look at cooking as a chore, that’s what it will become.  Even though you might be in the middle of a busy week, use this time as a chance to be creative and have fun.  Use what you have in your kitchen and see what you can make out of your stock.  This is also a great money saving tip.  It’s common to go grocery shopping too often and our vegetables wilt before they are used.  Use this as a chance to make a “clear out the kitchen” kind of meal.

I decided to use what was in my fridge and cupboard last night rather than buy anything new.  At first, it’s hard because you tell yourself there is absolutely nothing you can make for dinner.  A great tip is to make sure that your spice rack is stocked, as well as your “grain” supply.  Having brown rice, quinoa and lentils on hand is key.  With spices and grains, you can make many different meals.

In my case, I only had a few vegetables left by dinner…one head of Swiss chard, one sweet potato, some broccoli and an onion.  I also had ginger and garlic.  I figured I was out of luck for a meal, but decided to try and make it work.  I cooked the garlic and ginger in olive oil, then added the remaining 4 vegetables I had.  I added some spices and it all started blending together quite nicely.  I also had chickpeas, quinoa and black sesame seeds which I added near the end.

It’s great to top off your meals with a tasty sauce.  I love my food processor and find that it’s one of the kitchen tools I couldn’t live without.  If you have a stock of things that you like in your cupboard, you can play around with making various sauces.  For this meal I added garlic, ginger, olive oil, tahini, tamari and squeezed lemon juice.

I like to think of meals in 3 different parts lately.  The grain, the vegetables and the sauce.  This obviously doesn’t go for all meals, but I enjoy making these at the moment.  It’s a modern and healthier version of the “meat and potatoes” dish.

So…try and make your cooking experience more of a creative experience next time.  Even though you look in your kitchen and don’t see anything, try and look a little deeper.  Pull out anything you can think of that might work.  Chances are, you’re create something that is unique and could never be found in a cookbook.  It’s truly your work of art!