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If you are one of those organised persons, who makes a menu plan for the week ahead, and never needs to do a Ready-Steady-Cook style forage of the kitchen cupboards, look away now. This is not for you. This is for those of you who, like me, randomly chuck ingredients into their shopping trolley, and decide on a day to day basis what they will make for dinner.
I have learned over the years that having some basic ingredients in the house makes it possible to throw things together at the last moment. Even if we have unexpected guests, I can have a dig in the freezer and fridge and find something worthy of serving up.
These are the ingredients that I almost always have in my store cupboard and fridge, and just some of the meals that I make with them.
Risotto is a great standby meal, that you can adapt easily. Tomato, pumpkin, bacon, broad beans, asparagus, lamb, ham … the possibilities are endless.
A variation of the traditional Quiche Lorraine, but with added potatoes and spinach, and a lid. I can’t help thinking that this would make a great picnic dish, and it is again very adaptable to whatever you have lurking at the bottom of your fridge veg drawer.
There are a thousand Carbonara recipes out there, but this one is pretty authentic. No cream, no onions, no garlic (although you can add whatever you want, I won’t stop you!). The trick with Carbonara is to take the pot off the heat before you add the egg, or you get pasta with scrambled eggs!
You really can’t go wrong with pizza. Prepare the dough in advance, and set out the toppings for the kids to create their own. A lot of people worry about making their own dough, but it is really so easy. You do need to allow time for the dough to rise (although I’ll admit to having skipped this part when I was in a rush, and it still tasted good!)
A food blogger after my own heart – someone who looks at the recipe to see what store cupboard ingredients are listed. One of things that I like about a pasta bake is that I can prepare it during the day, so I only have to pop the casserole in the oven later.
Quick and Easy Salmon Coulibiac – by Salt&Caramel
This looks really impressive, but is actually very easy to make. Puff pastry, salmon, rice and spinach are the basic ingredients, but you can add mushrooms and shrimps, or adapt depending on what you have in your store cupboard. (See also the Salmon en croûte recipe)