Maybe it’s because I grew up during the Y2K panic, or because my mother likes to buy a year’s worth of whatever’s on special, but it’s my firm belief that you should always have enough pantry staples to whip up a fulfilling dinner even if you haven’t been grocery shopping for a week.
All the ingredients in these recipes are versatile items that you can store unopened at room temperature for months, or basics that you probably have around anyway (or should have around). Of course, you can add fresh ingredients to perk up your recipe too and show off how together your life is, but they taste pretty darn good without them. And if they don’t, just smother it in sauce and set an alarm on your phone to go buy some stuff because there’s only so much abuse your body can take.
- Spiral pasta (or whatever your favourite shape is, we won’t judge)
- Tin of plain tuna (in oil or springwater, even flavoured will do if that’s all you’ve got)
- Garlic, minced
- Olives, chopped
- Onion, diced
- Sundried tomatoes, chopped
- Olive oil
- Dried chilli
- Salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to instructions with a healthy shake of salt. Meanwhile, saute garlic and onion in olive oil until soft, then add tuna, olives and sundried tomatoes and cook until warm and a respectable level of together looking. Stir in cooked pasta and season with olive oil, chilli, salt and pepper to taste.
Optional extras: basil, parmesan, capsicum, capers, artichoke hearts (if you didn’t throw them all down your throat the minute you brought them home like me)
Omelette aka “Fancy Egg Burrito”
For one (sigh):
- 2 eggs
- pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/4 cup canned beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 tablespoon diced onion
- 1/4 cup shredded cheese
- oil or butter
Cover base of non-stick pan with oil or butter and put on medium heat. Whisk eggs, salt and water together and pour into pan. Gently move cooked egg around the in the pan to allow liquid egg mixture to cook. When nothing is runny, place beans, onion and cheese onto half of the omelette, then fold the other half over. Let it cook until the cheese gets stringy. Serve with salt and pepper to taste, and whatever sauces you can scrounge up in your fridge.
Alternatives: use whatever leftovers you have as the filling. Or don’t have any filling, it’s your life. For an Inception omelette, put an omelette in your omelette and eat it pretentiously.
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 cups onion, diced
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 2 cans tomatoes
- 3 cans beans or chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- dried chili, salt and pepper to taste
Heat up the oil in a pot over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic until soft. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for half an hour. To make it taste almost like it’s been cooking all day (ha! ha!), use a stick blender or potato masher to smush up some of the mixture at the end. Serve with rice or bread or whatever carb you have in the house.
Optional extras: minced meat, capsicum, carrots, wine, cheese, beef stock