Waiting Games

The week before any prolonged absence is always excruciatingly drawn out. Good news, on the one hand, for procrastinators like me who keep checklists largely unaccounted for until the frenzied hours just before their suggested airline check-in time. On the flipside, there’s only so much a girl can do to occupy the stretch of time between preparation and departure before being caught in a sort of limbo, the empty blur between anticipation and the practical present. At the moment, I’m staring blankly at a small pile accumulating near the doorway to my room – two swimsuits, a pair of sneakers, passport and travel-sized shampoo bottles – all of which destined to be  crammed into a suitcase with the rest of my month-long supply closet; but with a whole four days still left to go, I can’t fully commit to compartmentalizing workweek from vacation just yet.

It’s the same kitchen conundrum, as well: buying groceries for one is tricky enough, and just how far leftovers will push chemical boundaries over a two-week hiatus is not an experiment I’m willing to test. But girl cannot live on dry cereal alone.

With this in mind, I’ve decided to initiate a little contest called ‘let’s see how long christie can subsist with only a handful of ingredients pilfered from the pantry cabinet.’

The challenge: produce FIVE genuine weeknight meals without a single grocery store stopover. I’m not promising culinary genius here, people – entries will be judged on nutrition and stomach-filling quotient. Points for creativity are all bonus.

The players: 2 cans diced tomatoes, 1 lb whole-wheat rotini pasta, 2 orange bell peppers, 1/5 yellow onion (seriously?), 1 can kidney beans, 6 [undersized] red potatoes, 1 frozen wheat pizza crust, 1 lb ground turkey, 1 package frozen spinach (okay, not from the cabinet, but the ONLY frozen food item in this list). Spice cabinet condiments are all within bounds.

Let the games begin.

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