| Recipes |

Clearing Out the Pantry

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Occasionally, there are days when you don't have the funds, energy or motivation to make it to the grocery store. You probably need milk, coffee, eggs or other staples found in even the barest refrigerators and pantries, but the thought of heading anywhere but home after the workday seems more daunting than a hurricane approaching the Gulf of Mexico. Yesterday was one of those days, and the result was a "clear out the pantry" meal of literally effortless preparation.

Among the random assortment of ingredients in the pantry, these are the few that seemed to combine well during the end-of-the-day thought process of meal planning: one four-ounce jar of pimentos, one large can of chopped tomatoes, one bag of lentils, one jar of opened chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and two cubes of tomato/chicken bouillon cubes mistakenly bought in place of chicken bouillon. All these things needed to be cleared from the shelves of a tiny cabinet and condiment-heavy refrigerator to make room for future ingredients to collect dust. A recipe was born.

Effortless preparation instructions:

Put lentils in a large, heavy sauce pot or Dutch oven. Rinse and add at least five-seven cups of water. Drain pimentos and add to the pot. If you're feeling spunky, chop them. Dump tomatoes into the mix as well as the two bouillon cubes. Add one or two chipotle peppers, depending on your taste for spice. Then either chop some garlic or just dump in some garlic powder (this recipe used three large garlic cloves). Bring mixture to a boil, then cover and simmer for about an hour, or until lentils are tender. If you like it a little thicker, leave the lid off to cook out some of the liquid. Add salt to taste and pile on top of rice. If you're not feeding 10 people or more, you'll have leftovers to freeze or consume for an easy lunch.

This is perhaps not the best meal, but definitely not the worst, especially if it saves you from a meeting with the masses after a long day at work. *For bonus and easy nutrition, add some frozen spinach to the mix and use brown rice.

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