Lately I have been eyeing my pantry with a mixture of astonishment and disgust. My relentlessly growing collection of tableware has been vying for domination with the shelf-stable comestibles for quite some time now, almost like a boring kitchen version of some international sporting event. Meanwhile, the cleaning and home maintenance products have barely managed to hang on to what little space was allotted to them when I first set up the pantry. Something has got to give before this competition turns even uglier, and that something will be the edible items. Much as I would like to blame this situation on my hoarder husband (and he has in truth contributed his share of mayhem by purchasing inordinate amounts of canned goods and pickle jars), I have to admit that I have been stockpiling far too many cans, jars, bags, and boxes of food for too long. Even pantry items have a shelf life, and many on my shelves are in serious danger of expiring.
All of this leads me to the point of my post. Pantry Raid Pasta Salad is a direct result of my resolute determination to thin the ranks in the pantry by grabbing as many compatible ingredients as possible and combining them into a meal. The result is a surprisingly tasty southwestern-flavored pasta dish that can be served as an entrée or as a side. It is not one of the healthiest recipes I have ever made (where did that bottle of ranch dressing come from?), but my shelves now have a bit of elbow room between items and I can actually delve into the far reaches to further reduce accumulated foodstuffs. If only I could find a similarly painless way to winnow out the tableware collection, which has recently caused one of my shelves to collapse in defeat under the weight of excess table linens!
Pantry Raid Pasta Salad
1 box (about 13 oz.) whole wheat macaroni, cooked and drained
1 can (10 oz.) Rotel tomatoes and green chilies (we had mild)
1 can (about 15 oz.) corn, drained and rinsed (we had unsalted)
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
6-8 scallions, sliced
8 oz. queso fresco, crumbled
1 C. (8 oz.) ranch dressing
1 T. Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime Seasoning (chili powder would also work)
salt and pepper to taste
Combine the first five ingredients. Allow the pasta to cool a bit, then add the remaining ingredients, seasoning to taste. Chill and serve. Serves 8.
|Oh, the shame!|