5 Things to Cook when there’s “Nothing in the fridge”
A guest post from FiveHiver BillyJoeBob
We all fall, too often, into the trap of takeaway. The downfalls are well known; it’s not very good for you, it’s incredibly expensive and it leaves you feeling unsatisfied and guilt ridden as a parent. I know that, often, in my house, the reason we get takeaway is because, after a perfunctory glance in the fridge, we decide that there’s no food in the house. As this collection of recipes will show, nothing could be further from the truth.
I’m always annoyed by recipe books that talk about “the truffle oil in your pantry”, so I’m trying to keep these as broad as possible, but a lot of the ingredients are totally interchangeable with others. Experiment. The worst thing that can possibly happen is that your family ends up eating something that isn’t hugely tasty, but is nonetheless filling, nutritious and FREE!
1. Eggs Au Go Go!
The chances are you have some eggs. Crack 2 per person into a large bowl and add finely chopped whatever you have. If there’s any salami or ham around left over from making lunches, I’ll chop this finely and drop into a pan with onion and garlic to fry off before adding to the eggs. A few green herbs or a couple of sprinkles of black pepper will finish this off. Add a splat of milk, and grate some cheese into it for added taste. Serve with as much toast as you can get your hands on.
2. Pasta A’plenty!
Most of us have some dried pasta hanging around, but we get anxious about having nothing to put on it. We need to remember that the basis for all of the Italian pasta sauces we all love was historically “what have we got?”. Again, this one starts with a quick survey of the fridge. Find one or two vegetables that might be getting a little long in the tooth, and some “flavour bombs”. I like olives, capers, salami etc – anything that’s going to add strong flavours. Fry off onions, garlic and your flavour bombs, add chopped vegies and a tin of tomatoes (you can get these for under a dollar each, or by the case at Costco) and simmer for as long as it takes you to cook pasta.
You can get pizza bases, with or without sauce, at most supermarkets. The great thing about pizza bases is that they’re flat, so they fit really well in your freezer. Fire up your oven to quite hot, get a pizza base out of the freezer and fill it up with, again, whatever vegetables are looking tired, a few flavour bombs and some cheese. Straight into the oven and you’re serving dinner faster than you could have ordered it and picked it up.
4. Tuna Surprise!
The surprise here is, generally, what you’ve managed to hide it in. A tin of tuna is a non perishable replacement for any protein you would otherwise use. I’ve seen tuna used in place of beef mince in spaghetti bolognese, I’ve seen it used as the basis for chicken curries without any chicken in them. Be creative, you can fool just about anyone!
5. Toasted Sandwiches!
A toasted sandwich maker can be a godsend. You can put bread in it that’s too stale for sandwiches, you can quickly make a hot meal for a large number of people. Again, it’s going to be a question of what you have around, but an ancient cook’s maxim is that “a little cheese can hide a lot of sins”.
Please let us know in the comments if you have any other quick tricks to whip up meals for hungry mouths from “there’s nothing in the fridge”!