5 Things to Cook when there’s “Nothing in the fridge”

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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.

3. Pizza!
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”!

  • http://topsy.com/fivehive.com/2011/02/09/5-things-to-cook-when-theres-nothing-in-the-fridge/?utm_source=pingback&utm_campaign=L2 Tweets that mention 5 Things to Cook when there’s “Nothing in the fridge” – FiveHive.com — Topsy.com

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  • Ozlibrarian

    This is so clever. I wish this person would come to my house and cook for me. His mother must be a wonderful woman to have taught him so well. She is probably incredibly well read, witty and fun to be with.

  • Koalalou50

    In our family we always have some stock in the freezer. You can cook up the stock, add left over vegetables, and random left overs. Known as soup of many left overs. Or SOMOL.

  • http://www.travisranchforney.com/living/five-things-to-cook-when-theres-nothing-in-the-fridge/ Five things to cook when there's nothing in the fridge – Travis RanchTravis Ranch || Forney, Texas

    [...] help you out, Fivehives.com has shared a short list of 5 foods you can cook up when your options are getting low. We all fall, [...]

  • cfcj08

    I like to run to my freezer on those days that the fridge is empty.
    Every time I make a Bolognaise sauce I make a double lot & freeze half of it in two portions. I also always have a packet of mixed frozen peas, corn & carrot in the freezer.
    Whilst cooking pasta noodles, I defrost the sauce & add a handful of vegetables. I then mix the lot up place in a casserole dish add lots of cheese and pop in the oven for a pasta bake.
    OR
    add the vegetables and sauce together and make tortillas or tacos or toasted sandwhiches.

  • Mystic

    best pasta.. bit of butter or olive oil, fry some garlic, add any left over meat or veggies and any spices(i love spice, always have chillie powder handy)… now depending what you have in your fridge or cupboard, you can either add a tin of tomatoes to the pan, simmer then stir in the cooked pasta, or do it cabonaro style and add your cooked pasta into the pan, making sure it is still hot, if you have cheese(optional) grate it in and stir it though, turn heat off and crack two eggs, and stir  it in the pasta so the heat from the pasta cooks the egg,

  • C Marsha

    You have a foul mouth and can’t spell. You could have said that a little nicer.

  • Starving

    My idea of nothing differs greatly from the writers of these columns. Eggs? Gee, how inventive to be able to cook a meal out of eggs. Or anything with bread. Or vegetables or cheese or meat. Not exactly rocket science to come up with a meal out of these things.

  • nigelst

    doodle heads