This time of year is exhausting for Chef and me. He’s just gotten through the busyness that is the Christmas season, and entered the busyness that is competition season. He was out of town over last weekend, judging a collegiate ice carving competition in Michigan, and he knew he had a crazy couple weeks ahead of carving like a madman to prepare for his three-week trip to Alaska coming up later this month.
For my part, I pick up the slack around the house as much as I can while he’s away and busy. Plus I started a very part-time freelance writing job, so that has taken up some extra time.
And besides that, it’s just exhausting missing my husband so much.
As a result, neither of us had thought much about what we were going to prepare for Monday dinner. I got home first that day and started rummaging through cabinets. Onions! We had onions. Not a ton, but probably enough. We also had squash, left from months ago when Chef catered a fall dinner and dance at our church. (Thank goodness squashes last forever without going bad.) We had bags of pinto beans, but those weren’t going to work because I hadn’t soaked them, plus I have no idea what to make with pinto beans anyway.
When Chef came home, I suggested that we make French Onion Soup and bake the squashes. Plus, I had a Greek salad left over from a catered lunch at work. We hoped it would be enough.
I sliced the onions while Chef started making the bread and getting everything else ready for the soup. Problem was we didn’t have any beef broth or beef base — only chicken base, and I wasn’t sure how that would taste in a French Onion Soup. Chef assured me no one would know the difference, and since he found some cooked beef in the fridge, leftover from fajitas he’d made just a few days before, he was able to supplement with chicken broth with some beef flavor. We didn’t have much cheese, but our guests made do. And there was a lot of squash, and lots of delicious bread.
Even though we thought we had no food in the house, we managed to feed all our guests and even send food home with all of them.
It’s amazing what you can make with a little bit of nothing.