I always try to keep a well-stocked pantry and certain staples that in a moment’s time can be turned into a quick and easy “Made Up Dish”. For instance:

Parmesan cheese                          
Olive oil
Fresh greens
Red or green pepper
Lemons and limes

When your refrigerator/freezer is “maxed out”, you too, can be creative…no need for a recipe…just look in the fridge and see what needs to be “used up”. Well, for instance here…Turkey breast in freezer (can you guess how long it has been there, yep, you are right, Thanksgiving)…1/4 small package frozen green peas…opened 1/2 package mozzarella slices, peaches that smell really, really ripe…1/2 box leaf lettuce…1/4 Vidalia onion…a somewhat “long in the tooth” wedge of blue cheese (scrape off the small bit of offending mold and you are good to go, blue cheese=mold of course)

Let’ go to work…thaw turkey breast, but leave green peas frozen until last minute (you want to preserve the green color). Thawing overnight in fridge is the only “think ahead” part of this concoction, but could be done same day also.


Turkey, about 1 pound thawed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1onion, peeled and diced
1/2 red pepper, peeled and diced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/4 container cherry tomatoes, halved
4 mozzarella cheese slices, cut into strips
Pasta, I used Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Rice Quinoa Fusilli Pasta

Cut the thawed turkey into bite-sized pieces. Heat water in a pasta pot. In a large skillet, sauté the onions and red peppers until softened. Add garlic and cherry tomatoes until heated through. Add frozen peas. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir in cheese slices until the mix becomes a little “soupy”. Take off heat and cover skillet, keep warm. Add pasta to heated water and cook according to directions, which called for 7-10 minutes, but I started checking at 6 minutes. YOU CAN QUICKLY OVERCOOK this kind of pasta. (And it continues to cook after you drain it.) MAKE SURE YOU SAVE PASTA WATER!

Add drained pasta to skillet, toss, adding extra pasta water to keep it moist. The starch from the water makes a sauce as it combines with the cheese. Serve immediately and grate fresh parmesan over the top. *I had fresh basil on the deck which I added when tossing which really enhanced the flavor. Serves 2-4.


1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon, juice of or white balsamic vinegar, equal parts acid/oil
1 peach, cut into slices (I leave peel on)
1/8 onion, peeled and sliced
Blue cheese
Leaf lettuce, I used Vertical Roots Lowcountry Blend, 1/4 container

In a cup, combine lemon juice or about 1/8 cup white balsamic vinegar. Add equal amount of olive oil, dash of salt. Whisk until emulsified. Arrange greens on a salad plate, topped with onions, then peaches. Pour dressing over that, then crumble blue cheese on top. You have just made “A Peachy-Keen Salad” from scratch.

Serves 2-4.

And while I am on this “Enlightenment Project”, I just cannot say enough about


Vertical Roots.jpeg

A fairly new to me local product that I see now in more and more stores. I was blown away with  the freshness, no offending old leaves in the bottom of the container to encroach on the crispy leaves on top, so the product has a long shelf life. I began seeing different kinds of their leaf lettuces and in all my favorite stores. With a little investigation, I discovered  they have farms in Charleston and Columbia. The varieties are Green Oak Leaf, Red Oak Leaf, Butter, Bibb, Baby Romaine, Arugula, and Lowcountry Blends. All are extraordinary! They can be found in Publix, Harris Teeter, Whole Foods, Veggie Bin, and other stores around town. Luckily, my neighborhood Butcher Shop carries VR.  Vertical Roots hopes to expand to other markets by the end of the year in the southeast, but maintaining the “local commitment” to keep it FRESH! I hope you are SOLD as I am and rush out to try for yourselves!