I know that it can be really challenging to look in your refrigerator and think “what thuuuuu heck am I supposed to make for dinner this week??” On my Instagram stories (saved to a highlight) I walked you through my process of how I make a meal out of what I had in my fridge- I didn’t have much as it was Friday and we were coming to the end of our groceries, but I did have a few things and viola it turned into this Vegetarian Mexican Inspired Quinoa Soup!
So how did I do it? I looked in my fridge and had some chopped bell peppers, tomatoes and a yellow onion that if I didn’t use them, they would go bad. So I pulled those out and knew I needed to use them up. I then looked in my pantry to see what else I had- I had a can of black beans, chicken bone broth, and a package of quinoa. So I pulled those things out and placed them on the counter.
Looking at all these ingredients made me think of fajitas. But I also had chicken broth, so then the fajita idea turned into a fajita soup idea. I didn’t have rice but I did have quinoa, so that fit the “Mexican” theme close enough as well.
After I decided a Mexican soup was what I was going to go with, I needed to think of what spices would go with that to tie it all together. Typical Mexican spices are cumin, paprika, cayenne, hot sauce, cilantro, etc. I had cumin, paprika, cilantro and hot sauce so I went with those spices. I would recommend just picking 2-3 spices and stick with that- don’t over complicate things! When adding spices, I typically start with 1 tsp of each, taste it, and if I can’t taste that flavor, add 1/2 tsp more and keep going up from there as needed.
So now that I knew what I was going to cook, I needed to decide how to cook the soup. When doing this I typically think about eating the soup- what do I want the consistency to be? No one wants to eat raw vegetables in a soup, so I decided to lightly sautee the veggies, but not all the way because I assumed they would continue to cook a bit in the hot chicken broth and didn’t want them to get mushy.
I thought about just adding the uncooked quinoa to the chicken broth and letting it cook while the soup was cooking, but then I realized that quinoa soaks up the liquid it is cooking in and it would soak up all of our base broth. So I decided to cook it separately and add it in later.
There you have it! My process of how I take random things that I have in my fridge and pantry and make them into a meal! Let me know if this is helpful to you and I can show you more off the cuff meals!