Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Result of a Pantry Challenge: Frankenscampi

After reading about the various pantry challenges of other bloggers such as Jonathan and Caitlin, I've been meaning to do one myself. I don't have much kitchen storage space, so I actually don't have a huge amount of food that I need to eat my way through, but I do want to lower the inventory before I move. Also, as anyone could have guessed, I did not "make it" last month-- my dining expenses ended up being over budget so I am trying to eat cheap for a while.
So last night I decided to cook a meal from the pantry and wash it down with a $3.99 ($3.99!!!) Pinot Grigio from Trader Joe's.
I had pasta. I had frozen shrimp. I had a lemon and some garlic. I had some chicken bouillon and I had white wine. So I kind of cobbled together this dish with a little inspiration from Fannie Farmer and a little clueless WTF-ness-- always the most important ingredient!
I boiled the pasta and put a little butter on it. I mixed the powdered bouillon with some warm water. I put a little oil in a frying pan, started to sautee a little garlic, and then dumped in the chicken broth, some white wine and some lemon juice. I salted and peppered it a bit and let it boil away on high heat. Meanwhile the frozen shrimp were thawing and when the sauce was starting to cook down a bit, I dumped the shrimp into it for a quick warm-up and then took the pan off the heat. Tossed the shrimp and sauce into the pasta and it was done. Was it Shrimp Scampi? Not quite-- I was missing a few ingredients for that, parsley and I'm not sure what else. What I ended up with was a bit watery as sauces go, but it was still very tasty and satisfying. I think it's hard to go wrong when garlic, lemon and white wine are involved. And I just remembered I had a jar of capers somewhere that I could have thrown in too, which might have added an interesting twist.

Speaking of the white wine, I am quite pleased with my Trader Joe's purchases. The "Three Buck Chuck" Chardonnay has been my least favorite so far, but I've never really been a chardonnay person to begin with-- and I thought it was better than a lot of other chardonnays I've had. This Pinot Grigio that I'm drinking tonight is really yummy, and I think it will replace the $8 stuff that had been my previous daily driver. That should save me a few bucks in the future.


Catherine at Frugal Homemaker Plus said...

Ahhh...I miss the Chuck. Trader Joe's was the best part about living in LA, according to my husband. I wish we had him in Kansas.

Anonymous said...

Last night we made something even simpler: Linguine + Lemon + Parmesan Cheese and a half a old bag of spinach + garlic. Your Frankenscampi sounds good!

Dude said...

Sounds like great dinner. Nothing like a good wine to enhance a tasty meal.

mapgirl said...

That dish doesn't sound too bad. It's kind of fun yanking stuff out of the cabinets to make something to eat. I am not a weekly grocery shopper so I have to get creative a lot with sundried tomatoes, dried mushrooms, lentils, canned & frozen veggies, pasta and buillion cubes. It's worth it to keep a pantry with a few staples and soup. Campbell's cream based soups make good sauces on top of rice and some sauteed chicken if you're inclined to dine that way. I love food, but who's got the time or the money to make expensive gourmet meals at home all the time?

mOOm said...

hmmm - I don't really get this concept... there isn't a huge amount of food in my kitchen and I always cook with what is there - i.e. I don't go out to buy specific ingredients for a meal. Am I missing something? :) Maybe cultural differences?