We’ve all been there: It’s 6:30 pm, you’re hungry, you’re tired, too tired to go to the store but your rations are low. Not low enough, however, to warrant ordering Chinese food in, seeing as how you’re kind of broke and your local Chinese place is kind of for crap. So you open the fridge. It’s a little bit under 1/2 full of food, but nothing seems to go together well enough to make for a coherent dinner. Some items not quite gone yet, but may soon be boarding the express train to Spoiledsville. You think of how much you paid for said soon-to-expire items at the store, you think of the Starving Children in Africa, you think of what your mom would say if she saw that you’d let a nice artichoke like that go to waste. Guilt guides your hand in removing about 10 ill-matched items from the fridge, which you vow to make your dinner. There are two possible outcomes here: the concoction you make could be wholly vile, or you figure it could be delicious, just like all of those wacky food combos you cooked up while stoned out of your mind. Seriously: Lucky Charms on top of vanilla ice cream on top of a warm toaster waffle drizzled with a little Mrs. Butterworth’s and Hershey’s syrup is the jam. After about 5 bowls. When I was 16. Anyway, if you’ve been privy to the above situation, then you are probably well-acquainted with the culinary bitch goddess I call Meta-Fridge.
Not to be confused with Meta-Can, AKA the Non-Perishable Special, AKA Hurricane Hash. An example of Meta-Can done well is Taco Soup. I chose this Paula Deen link because it’s one of the more can-reliant Taco Soups out there. I tend to make mine with far more fresh ingredients.) Anyway, Meta-Fridge is a dish made from a hodgepodge of ingredients in your fridge. Sometimes it can turn out really nasty, but other times you’ll craft a brand new recipe that will become a staple in your cooking repertoire. My best Meta-Fridge meal after the jump!
The Fridge Contained (AKA Ingredients):
1/2 yellow onion
1/2 red bell pepper
1 wilty Poblano pepper
1 lb of low fat ground turkey
1/2 bag of gonna-wilt-any-minute spinach
1/2 container of feta cheese
The Cabinet Contained:
assorted spices (for the purpose of this recipe: black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, dill, cumin, cinnamon)
1 box cous cous
1/2 package of Italian breadcrumbs
1 bag of Bakers’ sliced almonds
I thought: Why not mush all of this stuff into a bowl and make some kind of Mediterranean-flavored meatloaf?
Method:Heat oven to broil. Spread a handful or so of almonds out on a baking sheet or cake pan. Place under broiler for 2-4 minutes, or until toasted. Remove from oven, and set aside to cool. Turn oven down to 400. Finely dice onions and peppers, transfer to a large mixing bowl. Chop the spinach as best you can, either into strips or a mince like you would do parsley, and place in the bowl. Plop the ground turkey into the bowl. Drizzle about 3 tablespoons of olive oil onto veggies and meat, followed by about 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar. Dump in one egg, the remainder of the package of feta cheese, and about 3/4 cup of the breadcrumbs. Using measuring spoons, add 1/2 teaspoon of each of the following: black pepper, cayenne, garlic powder(use fresh garlic if you have it), cumin, dill and cinnamon. By now the almonds should be cool. Chop them up as fine as you can, and add them to the bowl. Using clean hands, combine all of the ingredients, taking care not too handle too much, as it will make the meatloaf tough. Shape into 2 brick-sized loaves, and put in oven for 15- 20 minutes or until completely cooked through. While meatloaves are baking, prepare cous cous according to package directions. Garnish with nothing, because you’ve just cooked all the food you have in the house. You are a genius. Eat your damn dinner.
I love this meal, came by it completely by accident, and thought that this meal was an original: mine and mine alone. My brainchild. However, I was proven both wrong and horribly naive by the first episode of this season’s Top Chef. Something eerily similar to my meatloaf was prepared by one of the contestants. Richard’s lamb slider contained many of the same ingredients as my meatloaf, only it was served in a totally different way. Although it was universally panned by the judges as being too dry and tough (you should have baked it, not grilled it, man!), I’m still kind of jazzed that someone else thought of a spiced feta meatloaf. Which proves to me that I am not crazy and/or stoned. *And, you know, in researching images for this post, I’ve come to find that Mediterranean Meatloaf is, like, a thing. Damn!!
What are your best meta-fridge meals and/or crazy stoned snacks?