Potluck From the Pantry

As is my sad and distressing habit, I completely forgot that there was a church fellowship lunch scheduled for yesterday until the day before. Because Josh was gone recording a podcast downtown, I did not have a car, but that was all right since I also didn’t have any particular inclination to go shopping. I needed to come up with a Thanksgivingish pie and side dish from what I had on hand.

First, the pie: I have several graham cracker pie crusts in my freezer and I also had a can of pumpkin pie filling, some vanilla pudding mix, and a bunch of 1/3 fat Philadelphia cream cheese that I got for 30 cents each at Meijer last week. Josh’s grandmother used to make vanilla pudding into “Graham Cracker Pie,” which, as far as I can discern, just meant putting vanilla pudding in a graham cracker pie crust. That seemed boring to me, so I mixed the can of pumpkin pie filling, two packets of pudding mix, two blocks of the cream cheese, and some milk in my mixer until it was whipped and looked like cheesecake. I tasted it, and it tasted like pumpkin cheesecake. The first pie crust I tried to dump the filling into smashed into smithereens for some reason, so I just put the whole thing back in the mixer WITH the crushed up pie crust, and blended the graham cracker crumbs right into the filling. That left me with enough pie filling for two pies that came out looking GREAT: one to take to the potluck and one to take to my in-laws who have kindly been letting Josh work out of their house lately so he can get some peace and quiet.

Next, the side dish: it was late by the time I got to the side dish and I didn’t have the energy to do anything crazy. I have a bunch of cous-cous on hand, but that didn’t seem very exciting, so I decided that instead of using water to make the cous-cous, I’d use a container of acorn squash mango soup. The soup by itself looked fairly vomitous, but adding the cous-cous turned out great and seemed much more seasonal. I put it in my small crock pot so that it could be heating up while we were in church before the lunch.

Granted, I might have made this process easier on myself by planning ahead and getting ingredients while I was doing my grocery shopping earlier in the week. However, I would almost certainly have spent more time and money and would not have had the opportunity to exercise my creativity and problem solving skills. I actually have a pretty fun time figuring out ways to use the stuff I get for free or crazy cheap: it keeps life interesting.

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