We challenged Christine Cushing to whip up five dishes in one hour

So many of us get stuck in a dinner rut from time to time, but that doesn't mean we need to reinvent the wheel to get out of it. Whether you can't handle yet another taco tuesday (though let's be real, you can never have too many tacos), or you simply want to give yourself a bit of a challenge, coming up with your own recipes is a great way to re-ignight a passion for cooking. 

We all have those staple items in our pantry and fridge that indivually make up our favourite dishes, but otherwise go unused. Looking at them in a new light can open a whole world of possibilities. 

With just one hour and using only whatever ingredients were on hand in the Marilyn pantry, Christine managed to pull together five meals that are sure to please any palate. No doubt her on-the-spot kitchen concoctions will inspire you to challenge yourself to a round of pantry roulette, too. We can't wait to see what you come up with! 

A simple stir-fry 

Stirfry.jpgWith classic asian spices and sauces like hoison and tamari, she created a beautiful beef stir fry with carrots and sugar snap peas. Her additon of ginger and a splash of orange juice, served on top of simple fried rice make it a dish worth waiting for. 

Pantry list

  • Canola oil
  • Sliced beef
  • Grated Ginger
  • Carrots
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Tamari soy sauce
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Orange juice
  • Chile flakes
  • Leftover white cooked rice
  • Green onions, sliced
  • Cooked corn

Shrimp salad with a taste of Thailand

Shrimp_salad.jpgA shrimp salad is nothing new, but by infusing coconut milk, peanut butter, lime and chilis into the dish you get the perfect punch of flavour that would surely rival your favourite Thai restaurant.

Pantry list

  • Frozen shrimp, thawed whole
  • Nappa lettuce
  • Green onions
  • Fresh coriander chopped
  • Coconut milk
  • Peanut butter
  • Lime
  • Salt
  • Sriracha sauce

Cheesy pasta bake

Pastitisio-(1).jpgPastitisio is a combination of the best that Italian and Greek cuisine has to offer, which is to say, it is absolute perfection. And since we all have a box of penne sitting in the back of our cupboards, this is the perfect dish to experiment with tonight. With creamy bechamel and flavourful tomato sauces, aromatic spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and oregano, and cheese topped on the prepared noodles, it's basically lasagna, only so much better.

Pantry list

  • Penne 
  • Ground turkey
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Tomato sauce
  • Dried oregano
  • Cinnamon
  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Milk
  • Nutmeg
  • Parmigianno Regiano cheese
  • Basil leaves

Middle eastern salad

Middle_eastern-Salad-(1).jpgIf your idea of a salad is mixed greens topped with croutons, it's time to expand your horizons when it comes to the standard first course. A little grilled chicken is a great start, but why not throw in some chickpeas and onion, too, and grill them with turmeric and cumin for a middle eastern flair? A tahini dressing is the perfect topper for this warm and filling dish. 

Pantry list

  • Baby kale
  • Olive oil 
  • Chickpeas
  • Cumin
  • Chile flakes
  • Turmeric
  • Red onion
  • Tahini
  • Lemon juice
  • Chicken leg

Pumpkin spice bread pudding


Pantry list

  • Baguette
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Brown sugar 
  • Pumpkin pie spice
  • Cranberries
  • Butter

We're willing to bet there's still a jar of pumpkin spice sitting in your cupboard from thanksgiving plans gone by, but don't let another year go by without using it. As we approach the holidays, bread pudding is something most of us crave, but throwing in a little pumpkin essence is a delicious way to add a festive twist. All of that creamy, eggy deliciousness is still there, just with the added bonus of a hint of spice.. If you're feeling really festive, throw in some cranberries like Christine did and you've got a winning combination. 

Now, we want to see what you can do! Challenge yourself to get a little creative in the kicthen and tell us how you fared by commenting below. There's a long winter ahead, so we might as well get cooking!

Thank you to LG for providing the incredible French Door Refrigerator with InstaView and Door-in-Door technology for Christine's segment and giveaway.