I love to watch HGTV and I'm particularly addicted to the shows where the "experts" go in and remodel a home. I find myself imagining what I updates I would have them do to my house - more specifically, my kitchen. I suffer from an extreme case of pantry envy so an expanded pantry would be at the top of my wish list.
Those of you who also have small pantries - don't worry - I'm here to help you learn to love your pantry. (I'm learning to love my pantry too.)
Small pantries need to be more organized than larger ones. I use stackable plastic bins to make the most of the top of my pantry. I'm only 5 feet tall so it's especially hard to make use of high spaces but I can pull these bins down without even using a chair. (remarkable, I know)
I also don't use a lot of processed foods which helps keep my pantry staples to a minimum. I have an exorbitant number of vinegar bottles, several different kinds of oils, a large number of tuna packets and at least three different kids of trail mixes to store in my pantry though. I also have a bread basket where I store all of our tortillas, sandwich bread, buns, etc. What I don't keep stocked in my pantry are excess canned vegetables and soups. Most of my sauces and soups get stored in Tupperware containers in the freezer instead of taking up valuable pantry space.
When I do have a recipe that calls for canned vegetables, I usually use them up within a week. And whenever possible, I use fresh produce over canned.
This recipe for Gazpacho came from my Cooking Light magazine. It is wonderful combination of fresh ingredients (and can of tomatoes). I had a gazpacho appetizer at Chez Francois back in May and ever since then, I've been anxious to make it at home.
Gazpacho with Lemon Garlic Shrimp
10 ounce container grape tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes)
1 1/2 cups sliced English cucumber
1 cup red bell pepper, diced
3/4 cup Vadalia onion, diced (I used a red onion instead)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons sherry vinegar (I used white wine vinegar)
5/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 cloves garlic
28 ounce can San Marzano tomatoes
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic
20 medium shrimp (I used 2 pounds of colossal shrimp.)
(I also added a dash of Worcestershire sauce.)
Heat a large skillet. Add shrimp mixture and cook 3 minutes.
Now for the my family's unscientific opinion of the gazpacho:
I loved it.
Ben liked it.
Courtney was very hesitant to even taste it. Not a fan.
Ryan wasn't had a hard time grasping the concept of cold soup. I finally convinced him to think of it as salsa, and I gave him some chips to eat with it. Surprisingly, at the end of the meal, his gazpacho bowl was empty and the chips were gone. From now on, I am calling it salsa in this house. (Shhh)
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