In the past week I had two of these nights. And I think I did pretty good at putting together some meals using what I had available.
Night # 1- Chicken and fried rice
I took a chicken breast and cut it into chunks. I dipped them into an egg (that had been stirred), and dropped them into a disposable freezer bag that had about 1/3 cup of cornstarch in it. I shook the bag until the chicken was coated.
I heated about a tbsp of vegetable oil in a deep skillet and browned the chicken pieces until nearly cooked. (About 2 minutes)
I removed the chicken and added another tbsp or so of oil. Then I added just over half a cup of cooked, cold rice. It's important that the rice is cold, or it won't fry. After the rice had been in there for about a minute I added a half cup of thawed peas, and a carrot that I cut into large matchsticks. After another minute I added 3 tbsp of sauce, recipe to follow.
I took the rice out of the skillet, and added the chicken back. I poured over the rest of my sauce and stirred the chicken to coat. I kept the mix in there for about 2-3 minutes so that the sauce would thicken.
I made the sauce by combining 3 tbsp each of mirin, soy sauce, honey, Chinese cooking wine, as well as 2 tbsp of rice vinegar.
Overall a really good meal that didn't cost a lot, and I have been craving it since I made it that night.
Night # 2 - Pasta Carbonara
The next night, I realized I had all the ingredients for Nigella's spaghetti carbonara, except spaghetti noodles. I substituted the spaghetti noodles for small shells. The first time I ever made this (using spaghetti), I was blown away by how good this was. This time it was good, but not amazing. I blame the shells.