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Mother Hubbard Store Cupboard Meals

Wednesday, 7 March 2018
Whether it's empty cupboards because of Snowmageddon, or you're skint until payday, here's some deliciously simple meal ideas using store cupboard ingredients you may already have. Quick and tasty, these lunch or supper ideas will fill your bellies for pennies.

If you have .......

Rice, onion, stock

You can make a risotto by adding frozen or tinned vegetables, either cook on the stove top or in the oven.

Add spices and vegetables to make a delicious Pilaf.

Pasta, tinned tomatoes, onions

Add dried/fresh herbs and/or garlic (if you have any) and onions to tinned tomatoes, simmer until thickened, mix through cooked pasta then serve.  You could make a pasta bake by tipping your sauce coated pasta into an oven proof dish, topping with grated cheese, then cooking until the cheese is bubbling.  If you've got tinned tuna or chickpeas, drain them well and add to the simmering sauce before stirring through the pasta.

Tinned beans and tinned tomatoes

Add chilli powder and some spices to make a delicious simple Bean Chilli.

Make a tasty Bean Soup by cooking the beans in stock, add herbs if you have them, and tinned tomatoes.

Mash the beans to make scrumptious Bean Burgers. Mash a drained tin of beans with 1 grated carrot, 1 Tblsp paprika, ½ tsp ground cumin and ground coriander.  Add 1 egg and enough fresh breadcrumbs or couscous to bind the mixture, then shape into burgers. Fry in a lightly oiled pan until cooked through and golden on both sides.

Tinned fish and potatoes

Make fishcakes by mixing cooked mashed potatoes, herbs, drained tinned fish, and coat in breadcrumbs or couscous before baking or shallow frying until cooked through and golden.

Lentils, stock, tinned tomatoes

Make a spicy lentil soup or dhal, this is so filling and comforting in cold weather.

Potatoes, onions, stock

Add potatoes, onions to other vegetables, along with some herbs to stock for a tasty soup.

Make a delicious aromatic Saag Aloo curry, add chickpeas too if you have them.

Simple Store Cupboard Suppers

Simple Risotto

1 onion, finely diced
250g rice, long or short grain is fine
fresh, frozen or tinned vegetables
2 stock cubes
1 litre boiling water
1 or 2 tsp dried mixed herbs

Put a frying pan or saucepan over a medium/low heat.  Add a little oil and cook the onion until translucent, add the rice and stir for a couple of minutes.

Make up 1 litre of stock using the stock cubes and boiling eater.  Add any vegetables the dried herbs, and half of the stock.  Cook, stirring, until the stock has been absorbed by the rice.  Keep adding the stock a little at a time, stirring until it's absorbed.  You might not need all of the stock.  Risotto usually has a smooth, almost runny porridge like texture with soft rice and not too much liquid.

Simple Pilaf

1 Tblsp oil 
1 onion, finely chopped 
2 cloves garlic, minced 
2 tsp curry powder, or more (to taste) 
250g rice 
500g vegetable stock 
400g frozen vegetables, thawed or 400g diced fresh vegetables 

Put a large saucepan (that has a well fitting lid) over a medium heat. Add oil the oil, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the onion has softened. Add the curry powder and cook, stirring, for 1 more minute. 

Pour in the rice and stir to coat it in the curry powder. Add the stock then bring to the boil. Cover with the lid, reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes without stirring. Add any vegetables, stir through then simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat, don't lift the lid, and leave it to stand for another 5 minutes. Stir to fluff up the rice then serve.

Quick Bean Chilli

2 x 400g tins of beans or pulses, drained and well rinsed
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1Tblsp oil
1 Tblsp paprika
chilli powder to taste
1 or 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
1 stock cube
250ml boiling water (a coffee mug full)

Put a large frying pan over a medium/low heat. Add the oil, onion and garlic. Cook until the onion has softened. Stir through the paprika and chilli powder, cook only for about a minute until fragrant. 

Pour in the chopped tomatoes, add a teaspoon of sugar to offset the acidity of the tinned tomatoes. Mix the stock cube with the boiling water then add to the pan. Turn up the heat to medium and simmer the mixture uncovered for 15 minutes or until thickened. Serve with rice, flatbreads, or cornbread.

Basic Dhal

1 Tblsp oil
200g dried red lentils
2 onions, finely diced
2 tsp ground cumin or curry powder
2 stock cubes
1 litre boiling water
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes

Rinse the lentils well in cold water.  Don't be tempted to rinse them in hot water as it can make them tougher to soften in the daal.  Put in a saucepan with enough cold water to just cover the lentils and boil, uncovered, for 10 minutes.  Scrape off any foam produced by the cooking lentils with a spoon and discard.  Drain the lentils.  

Whilst the lentils are cooking, put another large saucepan over a medium/low heat.  Add the onion and oil, cooking the onion until softened and golden.  Add the cumin or curry powder, cook, stirring, until fragrant.  Dissolve the stock cubes in the boiling water and add to the spicy onion mixture.  Pour in the drained lentils and tinned tomatoes.  Bring to a simmer and cook for around 20 minutes or until the lentils are soft.  Check the daal, and give it a stir, every 5 minutes or so.  You may need to add a little water if it's looking dry before the lentils have softened.

Basic Vegetable Soup

1 onion, finely diced
1 Tblsp oil
2 tsp curry powder or dried mixed herbs
500g diced vegetables
750ml - 1 litre stock

Put the oil and onion into a large saucepan over a medium heat.  Cook until the onion softens then add the spices and cook, stirring for a minute or so until fragrant.  Pour in the stock and add the diced vegetables, simmer for 10 - 15 minutes or longer until the vegetables are very tender.  Blend if you like until smooth or leave chunky.  Serve with bread, soda bread, or rolls.

Saag Aloo

2 Tblsp oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
500g potatoes, cut into 2cm, ¾ inch chunks
½ tsp cumin seeds (or ground cumin) and turmeric
250g spinach, fresh or frozen or frozen peas
400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed (if you have any)

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a moderate heat. Add the onion and garlic, cook until the onion softens, about 3 minutes or so. Stir in the potatoes and spices. Cook until the spices are fragrant then for about five minutes more, stirring every minute, so the potatoes turn golden on the outside. Add about a mug of water. Turn the heat down a little and cook, covered, until the potatoes are tender. You may need to add more water if the potatoes start to stick. Once the potatoes are tender add the spinach and/or peas. Cook until the spinach has wilted or until the peas have heated through.

Basic Flatbreads

300g/2 cups plain flour
50g/3 Tblsp butter or margarine 
185 ml/3/4 cup milk 
½ - 1 tsp salt 

Put the butter and milk in a microwave safe jug and heat until the butter has just melted, you don't want the mixture to be too hot so do it in 20 - 30 second bursts. Alternatively, combine the butter and milk in a small saucepan over a low heat and stir until butter has just melted. 

Combine the flour, salt, butter and milk in a large bowl until a dough forms. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth, it took me about 2 - 3 minutes of kneading. You may need to add a little more flour if your dough is sticky. 

Form the kneaded dough into a ball, wrap with clingfilm and rest for 30 - 45 minutes at room temperature.  I've left the dough for around an hour before and it turned out just fine.

Turn out the dough and divide into four equal pieces. Roll out each piece on a lightly floured surface until just under 0.5cm thick. Regularly turning the dough 45 degrees when rolling it out will help keep the shape round. 

Put a fraying pan over a medium heat and lightly spray or brush with oil. Cook the flatbreads one at a time. Heat each side for around 1- 2 minutes. The flatbreads should puff up, gently press it with a clean teatowel when it puffs up. Flip the flatbread and cook the other side. The flatbreads should be cooked through with deep golden patches on both sides. 

Once cooked wrap the stack of flatbreads in a clean teatowel. Doing this will help keep them soft as the steam produced by the cooling flatbreads helps keep them from drying out and hardening.

1 comment:

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