Anyone can follow a recipe.
Recently, we’ve been trying lots of new recipes and learning about ingredients we’ve never really used before! But at the end of the week, our fridge starts running low. We might not have that extra quarter-cup of flour and we need to save the last two eggs for breakfast.
I’m sure you’ve been there, throwing the last bag of frozen veggies in with a box of mac and cheese and calling it a night.
In our kitchen, we call these nights “rustle ups”.
They are no longer a sad evening of strange left-over concoctions.
They are an opportunity to stretch our creativity, and use what we’ve learned.
Last week, we made our own simple version of Tex-Mex chicken. We did it without a recipe with just the ingredients we had in our fridge. Who doesn’t love Tex-Mex? The chicken was perfectly tender, full of flavor and paired with creamy Mexican-style street corn and Spanish rice. And we didn’t have to go out and buy a thing.
And of course, this recipe is gluten free, soy free, egg free and nut free.
The key to leveling up your end-of-the-week fridge raids is having the right ingredients on hand.
By making (very) small investments in the right pantry staples, you can always make a boring meal (or leftover concoction) into something inspired.
Here’s a handful of my favorite kitchen-staples this week, which inspired our Tex-Mex Rustle Up:
1. Citrus Fruit
$1.65 for a 16 oz bag of limes at Aldi
Lemons and limes are not just for fish. We’ve put them to use in so many meals, including Mexican inspired dishes and Asian stir-fry! Having fresh lime or lemon will make or break a meal. It has the power to totally freshen up so many dishes and give your flavors LIFE! We literally got an entire bag of limes at Aldi for less than $2.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
$4.95 for 33.8 oz at Aldi
Apple Cider Vinegar can be used in a ton of sauces, slow cooker meals, soups and salad dressings. It has a tart, super yummy flavor AND it’s crazy good for your health. One bottle lasts FOREVER. So, you need it.
3. Plain Greek Yogurt
$3.85 for 32oz at Aldi
I used to think yogurt was just for breakfast, but you can use it as a substitute for sour cream in any recipe! Plus, it’s way better for you. We pretty much use this any time we want to make something creamy: pasta sauce, guacamole, mac and cheese, you name it. We always have a big tub on hand.
These are just a few examples. Add them to your grocery list and make some magic happen!
Here’s the recipe for our Tex-Mex Rustle Up.
First, the spicy chicken.
We get ours from Aldi for $1 each (these are all staples in our spice rack now, too)
Honey Lime Spicy Chicken
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
1 tablespoon of chili powder
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of pepper
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of paprika 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 boneless/skinless chicken breast
Combine spices into a mixture. Pat chicken breast dry, and cover with spice mixture on both sides. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
Next, sauce it up!
6 tablespoons of honey
2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar
1/2 a lime, juiced
Combine all these ingredients in a small bowl. Remove the chicken breast and baste with the sauce mixture. Return to oven and broil for 3-5 minutes. You want it nice and crispy with an internal temp of 165 degrees. Then, let it REST!
TIP: We recently realized how important resting is. If you can control yourself, let your meat rest a few minutes before digging in. It keeps all the juices inside and keeps the meat tender.
Next, flavor blast your sides!
Rustle-Up “Mexican Street-Corn”
1 bag frozen corn (the one hiding in the back of your freezer)
½ cup cotija cheese
Dollop of greek yogurt
Squeeze of lime
Chili powder to taste
Heat corn in a sauce pan on medium-high heat until thawed. Add cheese and yogurt until it’s your desired level of creamy goodness. Stir in lime and spices to taste. (We used our pre-made street corn seasoning form Aldi, but chili powder works, too! Start with a teaspoon and work your way up.)
Rustle Up “Spanish Rice”
1 cup of instant brown rice
½ can of tomato sauce
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon chili powder
Salt/pepper to taste
We fully cooked our rice according to the directions on the package, added all the extra ingredients at once, and it totally completed our meal.
So, the moral of the story? Don’t settle.
You can easily create your own version of your favorite meals with a just a few simple ingredients.
Stop settling for your plain brown rice, and make it special!
Add one extra step to your frozen veggies and taste the magic!