Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bereft Pantry

So I had intended to do a top 5 or so cheap and easy snacks BUT I decided a while ago when we had those ginormous snow falls that perhaps cheap and easy meals with few ingredients or meals that could be easily and quickly made with items already in your pantry, kitchen cupboards and fridge might be appreciated - so, here goes (I know I put "bereft" pantry but I have a pretty well stocked "pantry" and I consequently presume that others do too so sorry if I over assume here!)

Tuna stirfry - or simply "tuna pasta" as we've come to call it - what you need:
2 cans of tuna in OIL (I think it is 125gms), Pasta (I like to use spirals - you can also use rice), onions - 1 or 2 depending on size and how much you like onions I guess, 2 large tomatoes, 2 eggs - and then the "givens" - a large pot, a medium sized pot, a can opener, salt, water, spatula/stirrer, paring knife, rubbish bag.
Method: Fill med. pot with water, add salt. Leave to come to the boil. Drain oil from tuna tins into large pot and turn on the heat. Chop onions while oil heats - add to pot and saute. Chop tomatoes and add when onions are soft, season with salt and leave to simmer, stirring occasionally. Add pasta to boiling water, tipping out any excess. Bring pasta to boil, turn down heat and set timer for 6 mins - stir occasionally. Take pasta off heat, stir, place lid on tightly and leave off element - the steam should cook any pasta that is not quite done yet. Drain. Add Tuna to onion and tomato mixture and simmer. When mixture has reduced a little add cooked pasta and stir well. Crack in two eggs and stir through.
The "original" version of this recipe used rice. I have found that the rice absorbs the oil more and that's not so great but still yum! Also pasta is quicker/easier to cook than rice.
You can have this all by itself - it's addictive! But it's nice to have something green/salad-y to break it up so steamed broccoli or salad or both. I also like to add sprouts to my tuna pasta when it's done or stir through torn spinach/silverbeet leaves.

Samosa filling - aka "Curried Beans"
One night I was making dinner from an Alison Holst recipe. I love samosas but making the pastry and frying them is TEDIOUS. So I thought why not just make and eat the FILLING - and then I'm not quite sure why but I added baked beans - surprisingly YUM!
You'll need: 3 or 4 potatoes - peeled, chopped into chunky pieces and cooked, oil, onions, ground coriander, cumin, garam masala and curry powder, sugar, salt, 1 cup frozen peas, lemon juice, water, 2 cans baked beans, cooked rice.
Method: Rinse your rice and get it cooking. Chop onions and saute in 1 Tbsp oil. Add all the spices and seasonings and potatoes - 1 tsp of ea except for Curry powder - 2 tsp Curry powder - recipe says you can sub in Curry powder for any of the spices you don't have. Add frozen peas, 1/4 cup water and lemon juice (supposed to be juice of one lemon - I just squirt some in generously). When peas are soft add baked beans and stir through - heat through. Serve on rice. I've also added chopped cooked carrots - to add colour! I know the baked beans sounds odd - but it's fine! REALLY. Oh and the beans and rice wrapped up in wholemeal tortillas - YUM!!

Simply dubbed "Bean soup" by us - Such a hearty mouth-watering soup! (by Simon and Alison Holst - 20min meal cook book)
You'll need: Can of 4 bean mix, Can of red kidney beans, can whole tomatoes, olive oil, onions, garlic, ham (optional), thyme, salt, pepper, bay leaves, chicken stock, water, macaroni, pesto.
Method: Heat 2 Tbsp Olive Oil in a pot, quarter and slice med. onion, chop garlic (chop and add ham if wanted - the original says Bacon but I always get ham - it's arguably cheaper and you can get a few slices at the Deli as opposed to an entire pkt - handy!) - add and saute. Add 2 bay leaves, 1/4 tsp thyme and chillies or 1/2 tsp dry chilli (I've never used chillies/chilli) and cook for 1 min longer. Add cans of beans and tomatoes, 4 cups of water and chicken stock powder (4 tsps), bring to boil add 1 cup macaroni - boil gently for 10-12mins. Season with salt and black pepper. I love this with basil pesto I've made myself. YUM. Of course it's also delish as is.

Refried Beans - another Alison Holst recipe. Can't get enough of it - done in mere minutes!
You'll need: Can Red Kidney Beans, Oil, Onion, Garlic, Green Capsicum, Salt, Sugar, Oregano, Cumin, Chilli powder, Tomato paste - I also often use dried Red Kidney Beans which I soak and cook myself. I use the "dried beans yield twice their volume cooked" method to determine how much beans to cook : ) - ask me about soaking and cooking times if you're keen to cook dried beans.
Method: Chop onion and garlic finely and saute in 1 Tbsp oil. Add chopped green capsicum, salt sugar and spices when onion is soft and clear - 1/2 tsp for everything except for cumin (1 tsp cumin). When capsicum softens drain beans (but keep juices in case mixture is too dry) and add them and also 1 Tbsp tomato paste. Make sure you use just plain unseasoned kidney beans - this is hot enough already! Heat mixture through and then mash. I like to eat this with baked tortilla chips, a teensy bit of grated cheese and plain easiyo yoghurt subs for sour cream. YUMMO.

Ham and Egg Pie - only it's more than just HAM and EGG.
You'll need: pre-rolled puff pastry sheets - prob 2, greased oblong shaped casserole dish, salt, water, potatoes and carrots peeled and chopped, 5 or 6 eggs, cheese, onions, ham, mushrooms -lil bit of milk for glaze.
Method: Pre-heat oven 150-200 C. Season water - get your potatoes and carrots cooking. Chop onions and ham - saute in a little butter/spread. Place one pastry sheet in bottom of greased dish - cut to shape. Place potatoes and carrots evenly on top of pastry sheet, sprinkle onion and ham over top, quarter mushrooms and scatter them over the onion and ham, beat eggs and pour over other ingredients, grate cheese over top. Place other pastry sheet on top of pie. Slice some vents in top, glaze with milk and Bake! The pie is done when the pastry is golden and the eggs are cooked!

You may have noticed that I have neglected to number these meals - this is because I can't decide which ones are quicker/easier or have the least ingredients. Try them and make your own judgement!

Next time - quick, easy and cheap meals with few ingredients but with recipes that presume you have meat : )

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