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What to make if there’s nothing in the fridge

Butter and mayonnaise anyone? We’ve all been there, standing in front of the fridge, staring at nothing but a tub of butter, some scraps of veg (if you’re lucky!) and a load of random jars.

Then a darling son, daughter (or more likely husband), yells, “What’s for dinner?”

Before you snap back, “Dunno, what are you making?”

Swing open your cupboard doors, grab the following ingredients, and get cooking!

Mum’s magical tomato sauce

What to make if there’s nothing in the fridge

Mum’s magical tomato sauce This delicious staple can be used in everything from pasta dishes to baked eggs. It can also be blended and eaten as a soup.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 Onion
  • 1-2 cans of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp of tomato puree
  • 1 tsp of dried Italian herbs. *Don’t have it? Use these; rosemary, sage, oregano, basil, thyme.

Method

  1. Finely chop the onion and press the garlic.
  2. Add the oil to a medium-hot pan and gently cook the onion until golden.
  3. Turn down the heat and pour in the tomatoes, followed by the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste and dependant on who is eating it– leave the salt out for babies & keep it low for kids.
  5. Keep stirring so the sauce doesn’t spit, then use straight away in a dish or leave to cool before storing in the fridge.

Easy peasy baked eggs

Use Mum’s magical tomato sauce in Easy peasy baked eggs

This tasty dish can be served as brunch, lunch or dinner. A winner whatever time of day it is!

Ingredients

  • Mum’s magical tomato sauce
  • Chilli if you want to add spice
  • A can of chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 2 eggs – or as many as you want

Method

  1. Pour ½ of the sauce into a pan on medium-low heat.
  2. Add the can of chickpeas and optional chilli.
  3. Keep stirring, so it doesn’t spit.
  4. After 10 minutes, crack the eggs into a simmering sauce, so they sit on top.
  5. Cook for a few minutes and then place your pan under your oven grill to cook the tops of the eggs.
  6. Leave to cool slightly, then remove from the pan, season and serve with bread to dip.

Oh-so simple spicy pasta

Spicy pasta

Dried pasta is one of the most amazing tools for making a last-minute meal, look around for any olives, capers or prawns and win at dinner once again.

Ingredients

  • Mum’s magical tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp of chilli
  • 300-400g pasta
  • *If you have them: A generous handful of frozen prawns or olives. Or 2 tsps. of capers.

Method

  1. Boil a pan of salted water and add the pasta to cook until al dente, or soft – there’s no judgement here.
  2. Add the can of chickpeas and optional chilli.
  3. Strain off the water put the pasta back in the pan.
  4. Stir in the sauce and add the chilli.
  5. If you have them, add frozen prawns – rinse them in cold water before stirring in. Or pop in some olives or capers – both are a great addition.

Easy peasy pea soup

You can always count on a bag of peas to be hanging about in the freezer.

No fresh mint? This recipe works with the dried stuff too. Plus parsley, if you have it, or if you really have nothing, just peas and a bit of pepper works just as well.

Ingredients

  • 450g frozen peas
  • 1 onion
  • 600ml stock
  • A few sprigs of mint

Method

  1. Chop and sauté the onion in butter or oil.
  2. Put the frozen peas into a blender and pour over the hot stock.
  3. Leave the peas to defrost and the mixture to cool.
  4. Add the mint and the cooked onion.
  5. Blitz until smooth.
  6. Serve either hot or cold and season dependant on who is eating it—no salt for babies and low salt for kids. You know the drill.

Jamie Oliver’s store cupboard curry

Jamie is a wizard at creating recipes with items from around the kitchen and has tons of other store cupboard recipes. Find them here:

Ingredients

  • 1 pumpkin, or squash (roughly 900g)
  • 4 cm piece of ginger
  • 4 shallots
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 fresh red chilli
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander
  • groundnut oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 20 curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 x 400 g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 x 400 g tins of light coconut milk
  • 2 x 400 g tins of chickpeas

Method

  1. Chop the pumpkin or squash into 3cm chunks and cut the ginger into matchsticks. Pick the coriander leaves and finely chop the stalks.
  2. • Pour a good lug of groundnut oil into a large saucepan and place on a high heat. Add the ginger, garlic, red chilli and shallots, then reduce to a medium heat. Cook until golden, stirring occasionally, then add the mustard seeds, curry leaves, and coriander stalks and fry until the curry leaves go crispy. Add the turmeric, tomatoes and coconut milk. Bring to the boil, then add the pumpkin and chickpeas. Reduce to a low heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 45 minutes. Check occasionally and add a splash of water if it looks a bit dry.
  3. When the time’s up, take the lid off and cook for a further 15 minutes or so until the sauce is lovely and thick.
  4. Scatter with coriander leaves and serve with rice, naan bread and chutneys and dips on the side.

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