by Tara Pederson

Most of us have something very specific in common these days, besides our over abundant use of Facebook and Netflix. Some days we are even culinary geniuses.

Emotions notwithstanding, we all have way too much parsley or nutmeg or something we bought for one dish sitting in our spices cabinets, but we are always running low or out of garlic powder (or insert your applicable ingredient here).  We’ve bought too many “just in case” cans of tomatoes and beans.  We grabbed that cauliflower thinking this was the perfect excuse to eat healthy,  but here it sits while the peanut butter dwindles away.

This week’s column is a choose-your-own-adventure, of sorts.  Below I give you examples of dry, canned and fresh ingredients as well as seasonings, followed by some possible combinations to try on your currently captive family.

Don’t worry.  They’ll love it. Probably.

Fresh or Frozen:

Lettuce/greens, Green beans, Chicken, Cauliflower, Potatoes, Citrus, onions, Peppers, Herbs


Rice, Popcorn, Coffee, Oatmeal, Grits


Beans, Tomatoes,  Corn, Tuna


Turmeric, Nutmeg, Parsley, Cayenne, Thyme, Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger, Tony Chacere’s

Let’s assume you have some basic meat items in your freezer. Some ground beef, chicken, maybe some shrimp and bacon. Now what?

Obviously,  anything and grits works.

Throw together a can of tomatoes, some Tony’s and cayenne, Sautee some shrimp and cook some grits.  Dinner is served.

But you can also make sauce piquant with those tomatoes- throw in some diced onion and jalapeños, garlic or garlic powder and cayenne.

It can be stored in the fridge for 10 days or frozen, and is the perfect sauce for pretty much anything.

What about that lettuce?  Use it as the “tortilla”  for wraps or tacos.  Chop or shred it finely, toss it with fresh herbs, citrus slices and fresh squeezed juice as a side.

Or with onions and garlic to use as a bed under your chicken, pork or seafood.

It’s  also not bad alongside things like quiche…