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Clean Out Your Fridge with These Genius Recipes

Credit: Francois Schnell

It happens every semester: right around the halfway point, you give up your syllabus-week dreams of a cheap, healthy, home-cooked diet and take up permanent residence on the late-night Chipotle line. Honestly though, when you’ve got 12 midterms, 100 unresolved mock schedules, a mouse infestation, and a nagging internal void left by the pleasures you gave up for Lent, who has time for meal planning?

The problem is that your fridge is chock-full of physical (and rapidly-expiring) reminders of these abandoned goals. The bigger problem is that you really need that space for your new collection of takeout containers filled with leftovers you will almost certainly never touch. Luckily for you, Under the Button has compiled an assortment of foolproof recipes to help you clean out the ol’ icebox.

1. Penne alla Vodka

Got boxes on boxes of pasta in the cabinet where your Red Bull should be? Need to get rid of those last drops of Smirnoff leftover from your Spring Break kickoff party? Want to drink to forget the fact that you literally cannot extend that paper deadline any longer without all the hassle of dirtying a shot glass? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this recipe is for you! Simply boil the pasta until al dente and toss with whatever jar of pasta sauce (or salsa, probably) you find in the refrigerator door. Garnish with the remainder of your liquor, and voilà! You’ve got yourself an authentic Italian meal. Even better, by the time your fork hits the bottom of the bowl, you’ll hopefully be too hammered to remember how horrible it tasted.

2. Classic Tomato Soup

When the weather gets cold and the going gets tough, the only thing you can think of to cheer you up is the comfort of a nice, hearty tomato soup. You may have run out of Campbell’s back in January, but fear not! Chances are, you already have all the ingredients handy to whip up a steaming bowl of homemade soup. On the stovetop, heat up the entire bottle of ketchup you bought for that one time you made frozen tater tots 4 months ago. Thin it out with water (or vodka, tbh) until it reaches the desired consistency. If you want to get real fancy with it, you can evacuate the vegetable drawer by tossing in all of your near-petrified carrots, spinach, and peppers for a chunkier texture. It's "classic" because you'll never forget it.

3. Casserole

White people have known this for decades: when in doubt, make it into a casserole. Casseroles are incredibly versatile because, honestly, nobody actually knows what they are. Judging by the technique of every crazy aunt in the Western Hemisphere, you can assume that all you need to make a casserole is a jumble of vaguely edible products and a handful of breadcrumbs. Vegetables, crackers, beans, sauces—whatever you’ve got, throw it into a baking dish, top with breadcrumbs, and bake until golden brown. Try to work vodka into it somehow. Yum! Tastes just like a tragic family reunion.