I have a lot of people ask what my thought process is when coming up with my recipes, and my answer is always something suuuuper interesting along the lines of, “I dunno, I  just look in my pantry for what I have available and figure it out,” OR “I find something new at the market and go home and experiment with it”… pretty inspiring huh (if I had emoji’s on my blog I would post that one face with the teeth that makes it look like it’s embarrassed). Anyway, most days I come home from work and assess the pantry/fridge and then make it work. SO I decided to post something that was exemplary of that… I  literally came home from work today, threw my bags down, took an inventory of my kitchen, and got started on this post. This is not really a recipe post, but more of a ‘thought process’ post. I wan’t you to get more out of your kitchen than planning recipes ahead of time ALL  the time…  and I wan’t to help you start organizing your options in your head. Hopefully this helps with that… I dunno, could be a bunch of bologna that makes zero sense in the end though. You be the judge.

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SO when I got home… here’s what I found, and this is why it made sense for dinner tonight.

I went to the fridge and freezer first. I do this because the fresh stuff and/or available protein  is what guides my meal. If I have a protein (chicken breasts, ground turkey, frozen fish etc.) then I plan my dish with that as the starting point. I didn’t have any protein, so I looked onward. I found some random veggies: some fresh green beans, cherry tomatoes, about 4 brussels sprouts, some fresh spinach, 1/2 of a sweet onion, 4 green onions, about 5-7 florets of broccoli, some frozen peas, a lemon, and some parsley. <<< Literally all of it was random left overs from meals I had already made… and when I have all random stuff like that, I usually choose to make some sort of salad or sauté. Since I had veggies that should be cooked (green beans, broccoli, onions, brussels) and others that I preferred raw (tomatoes, spinach, green onion tops, parsley) I decided to do something VERY similar to my FARRO SALAD that I posted a while back… and a little news flash for ya- this thought process is what led me to that recipe in the first place.

A lot of times, if all I have is random bits of vegetables I like to mix in some quinoa to bulk it up and add some protein if I can… only problem here is that I didn’t have enough quinoa in my pantry to do so… so I moved on. I found some farro that would do a nice job at adding some texture to the dish and decided to use it (rice would also be great, pasta too, or none at all if you want to go serious VEG, which definitely happens in my household).

Now I need a dressing/sauce (I do this for every meal I make) this time I found almost all of my favorite sauce-maker-ingredients… White wine, fresh lemon, and bouillon (I didn’t have chicken stock but I had bouillon which is a great long lasting replacement to keep in stock). I also took this moment to sort out spices. I just need salt, pepper, and some red pepper flakes for a little heat in this one.

Lastly I need my “flare”. For this I usually look for things like nuts and cheese. Sounds funny when I say it out loud now, but it’s true… they add extra texture, flavor, and overall wow factor. This time I found parmegiano and sliced almonds. BOOM. and done. So here’s what I made and how I did it.

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First I got a pot and filled it with water and about a Tbs of the bouillon, threw in my faro (about a cup and a half) and brought it to a boil until tender and strained it.

While my faro cooked I got the ingredients that also needed to be cooked chopped and into a pan coated in a little oil over medium-high heat. I chopped my onions and got them in first with some salt, pepper, and a dash of red pepper flakes.

Next I snapped the tops off my green beans and cut them in half. I then sliced my broccoli and brussels and got them all cookin’. I like to get a good caramelization on my veggies so I let them cook down for quite a while; stirring often. Once I had good color on my veggies I tossed in my peas and white wine (about 3/4 cup) brought to a rolling simmer and added about 1/4 cup of water mixed with about a Tbs of bouillon. I let all of that cook down on a medium-low simmer until the alcohol had cooked out. About 4 minutes.

While my veggies cooked, I got the raw stuff ready. Chopped my green onion tops, parsley, and spinach, and sliced my tomatoes in half. I threw them in a big bowl with the sliced almonds and shaved parm.

Once everything was fully cooked, I tossed it all together- Faro (strained), cooked veggies (with their sauce), and the fresh ingredients. I zested a whole lemon and added it’s juice; tossed it all together and tasted it. It didn’t need any additional seasoning, but if it did I would have added accordingly. I was sure to toss it a few times before serving, as the dressing tends to settle at the bottom.