HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


What can I make with *this* nearly bare cupboard?

I really don't feel like shopping today and hope to put it off to tomorrow afternoon or Monday.

So I need to come up with something for dinner.

The few things I do have on hand: bacon (slab--peppered), tomatoes, various varieties of onion, carrots, spinach, linguine, lasagna, rice, various legumes (I *think* dried chickpeas, lentils, Navy beans), potatoes, about a cup of cream. Oh, and I almost forgot, lots of turkey stock in the freezer!

I know I could make some kind of tomato cream sauce with bacon and serve with pasta.

Other inspirations?

I have plenty of condiments and pretty much every herb and spice under the sun. But if you have any ideas for putting the substance together, I'd appreciate it. I'm kind of sick of tomato sauces, right now.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. LOL, I'm a sucker for something like this. I'd finely chop some of the bacon, for bacon bits, use SOME of the fat to quick fry onions, garlic, then throw in some of that rinsed spinach, and steam for a minute, make a gravy out of that stock, by simply thickening it, and serve it all, in layers, over some rice. If the cream needs using up, I'd make it a creamy gravy. If you want it a little more nutritious, cook up some of those lentils, and add to the veggies, or, even better, cook them with the rice. (I can't remember...is the cooking time for the rice and lentils the same? I've cooked, in the same pot, items of different cooking times, by timing the additions, to suit the cooking times.) I'm not one for cooked carrots, but surely some thin sliced carrots could be cooked with the onions and before the spinach was added. Garnish with the bacon bits. Maybe save some of the spinach, if it's fresh, and shred it, to add as another garnish.


    1. Cream of potato soup with crispy crumbled bacon on top?
      Put your turkey stock in the stockpot.

      Cut the bacon into pieces, cook until crispy, remove and save.
      Saute cubes of potato and sliced onion in the bacon fat then throw in the pot, reservinig the bacon fat to make a roux with a little flour.

      Simmer until potatoes are tender, whick in roux and cream.

      Or how about a spinach and lentil soup with that turkey broth, carrots and onion?

      Or make little patties of navy beans, onion and potato, saute up till golden and crisp on the outside and serve with crispy bacon and a spinach cream sauce- this would be even better if you have an egg to cook over easy and put on top.

      1. I'd make a veggie stew w/ a bacon base. Slice and cook the bacon, add chopped onions and carrots, sprinkle flour when softened. Add tomatoes, spinach, and stock and rehydrated beans. Simmer, about half an hour or so before serving, add potatoes. To make it extra rich, add cream at the end. Serve over rice.

        1. Bacon fried rice looks like an option. Chop some of the bacon and fry until just short of crisp, take it out of the pan Rough chop some carrot, onion, and potato, and fry for a couple minutes in the bacon grease. Add the bacon back in, add some steamed rice, a tablespoon two of your turkey stock and stir fry a couple minutes. Lightly season with a dash of soy sauce, a touch of salt, and some pepper. Top with an over easy, poached, or your favorite style of egg.

          3 Replies
          1. re: hannaone

            I really like that bacon rice idea, hanna. It's a way to use it without using *too* much of it at once (and thereby subjecting hubby to death by artery clogging). He loves rice. TY. In thirty years, though, I have never been able to master the art of panfrying bacon without burning it, so I bake it now on a rack. Works for me! Comes out nice and crispy, with carbon around the edges, and it should go back into your dish just fine.

            I don't have problems frying or sauteeing other things, but bacon is my Waterloo. I wonder at those of you who can do right every time!

            1. re: MaggieRSN

              One more try on the bacon, cut it in half and cook slowly in a black iron skillet turning frequently. For some mysterious reason, bacon halves do it perfectly while whole strips often come out both burned and raw (in different places, of course). A chef friend shared this truc with me many years ago and I've never looked back.

              1. re: Sherri

                Sherri, I've always had good luck with the tips I gleaned from chefs over the years, so maybe I'll give this a shot next time I'm a using a recipe that that seriously needs pancooked bacon, which some do. For most uses, I'm happy with the baking, because the bacon doesn't lie in its own fat, but the only disadvantage would be when one needs the bacon to have some of its suppleness left. So thanks for trying to get me over this hurdle. ;-)

          2. I like the lentil soup w/ spinach idea --make in mujadara style (caramelized onions). Cook rice in it too.
            Serve w/ a side of cooked carrots. Or potato gratin w/ bacon and cream.

            1. Lentil soup. Saute chopped onion and carrot (and celery, if you have some) in some olive oil till soft and beginning to color. Add lentils, stock, and tomatoes if you want them (sometimes I do, sometimes I don't). Season with salt, pepper, and a little cumin. When the lentils are done, add in chopped spinach, heat through till wilted. A spritz of lemon juice is nice just before serving, but not necessary. Same with a drizzle of good olive oil.

              Otherwise, I'd probably make pasta all'amatriciana: saute diced bacon till beginning to crisp, add garlic and sliced onion. Cook till onion starts to color, add a little white wine. Let cook down for a minute or two, then add tomatoes (I usually use passata, but chopped tomatoes would work). Heat through and cook till it's the consistency you like, then sprinkle on a little fresh chopped parsley right before serving. I see you're not in the mood for tomato sauce, though, so maybe keep it in mind for another time!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Kagey

                Either of those would be good tonight, Kagey. It's getting positively polar here with a stiff NW wind. I do like all'amatriciana, but you know what I'm really in the mood for? Paglia e fieno with peas and ham. I forgot to mention that I do have a tiny bit of sliced ham on hand, and the linguine, but no fettucine, angel hair or peas.

                Hubby's been salivating about Alfredo lately, but he's reached his once-a-year limit on that deathbomb. Wish I could come up with something a bit healthier along those lines for him tonight, though (with what I have).

              2. Funny how everyone goes straight for the bacon.

                I'd make pasta e ceci, maybe with the spinach thrown in for colour/variety. You can use the turkey stock if you want.

                You haven't mentioned dessert, but just in case, you could make a fool using that cream and whatever fruit you have on hand, fresh or canned.

                1 Reply
                1. re: piccola

                  Oh, wait a minute, piccola! (See my note to Kagey!) I ceci! I could do that. Except, I'm just a lowly neo-apprentice Italian cook by marriage, and I've only seen the ILs do it in tomato sauce. Are you suggesting something stock-based, instead?

                  I scrounged around the back of the pantry cabinets and came up with some penne and a can of low-sodium beef broth, too, if that helps the cause.

                2. Start with carrot soup: sauteed feather cut onion, add stock, cubed carrots and potatoes; puree, add cream; serve cold.

                  Main of spinach lasagna in a white sauce (you could use the bacon here, since everyone else wants the bacon incorporated in the meal).

                  Alternative: the Navy beans and bacon served with a green Mexican style rice using the spinach.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                    If I come up with a way to do some kind of pasta & chickpea, tonight, a Navy bean soup with bacon, plus that Mexican rice, sound awful good for tomorrow, Sam. That sounds like a delightful project for a wintry Sunday. Thanks.

                  2. Dingdingdingdingding!

                    Lots of ideas to our tastes here. Too bad I can't serve nine entrees tonight. But I always have at least this stuff on hand, even in my laziest shopping moods. (Like to cook, hate to shop.) So I'm going to jot these ideas down. I always seem to end up making omelettes or a basic Southern Italian spaghetti (meaning, sauce & spaghetti without variation) when fridge contents are depleted. So nice to have other suggestions. Thank you all.

                    1. Do you have egg, parmesan, and some left over white wine? If so, you can use the onion, bacon, and linguine and make carbonara.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Megiac

                        Parmesan, no, but pecorino, yes, plus the eggs and in fact I do have some left over white wine... another good suggestion, Megiac. I never think to make it at home...maybe I'll do that this week. TY.

                      2. Assuming you have eggs, I'd have made a quiche or frittata.

                        Also, bean salad stuffed tomatoes.

                        You could also make a lentil loaf.

                        Carrot, spinach, and any other veggie layered terrine... Just cook each veggie separately; puree with milk/cream, blend some frothy egg whites into each, adding white pepper, salt, and whatever herbs you like, then layer into a loaf pan greased, and bake in a water bath.

                        Baked Onions in a Burgundy Sauce

                        Bacon Fried Rice

                        Let us know what you end up making!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Emme

                          Emme, I went with the chickpeas and made spaghetti e ceci. It turned out well, considering I've never started with the dried chickpeas before (only canned). Sauteed the spinach in oil and garlic, added the bacon, the cooked chickpeas, some pasta water, the cooked spaghetti, grated cheese. It was good.

                          I made a quick-bread "boule" to go with it--honey black pepper bread. I had to juryrig that; it was inspired by several different recipes, whose sugar and honey I wanted to reduce to make it more savory. The taste was great, but I think it was a little dry. Have to tweak the proportions, I think.

                          We like lentils here. I use them in soups, or mix them with rice or couscous, or use them in diced salads. That terrine sounds good, Emme. What kinds of seasoning do you like to use? And how much would you think I should use with, say, a half-pound of lentils? They absorb a lot of flavor, so I'd expect one should err toward being generous with the herbs, rather than stingy? What do you bake it at? Medium oven?