My store cupboard essentials..
During this crazy time it’s hard to find inspiration for meals. When you can get to the shops, the shelves have been stripped bare (seriously, people need to stop doing this) and your mind is so preoccupied with social distancing, creativity just isn’t flowing. I am the same way. I am one of those cooks who prides herself on making my best meals by opening the fridge and cupboard and throwing things together. But, still, I am struggling.
I always have a few basic things in that I know I can create a meal from that provide some form of nutrients for the family. A lot of friends and customers have been asking me for tips, so here they are. Split into cupboard, fridge and freezer.
- Toilet Roll (sorry, couldn’t resist)
- Lentils – any kind. Good source of protein. Perfect for soups, pasta sauces (replaces meat), stews, basically anything that needs bulking up.
- Pasta – any kind. Lasagne sheets seem to be widely available, so why not give my Veg Loaded Lasagne recipe a go?
- Rice – any kind. Stir fry, tray bake (add stock, pulses, veg or meat to a baking tray, mix in some rice and boom, a delicious meal) or as is as a side dish. I am working on an arancini style recipe for left over rice, will keep you posted.
- Bulgar wheat or couscous. Perfect alternatives for rice/pasta. Try mixing through olive oil, garlic and your favourite roasted veggies. Delicious.
- Noodles – any kind. Who doesn’t love a fakeaway? Grab some fresh or frozen veg and get a stir fry going. Check out my Pork Lettuce Wrap recipe.
- Beans – not just baked! Tins of mixed beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, black beans, butter beans. I could go on. You can make your own baked beans, mixed bean quesadillas, chilli, curry, soups, burgers/patties, hummus and other dips. They are so versatile and provide protein and fiber.
- Chopped tomatoes. They pretty much make a base for everything. I love chopped tomatoes, also a great source of Vitamin C.
- Stock cubes – I religiously only use Kalo Low Salt ones, but in times like these I will take whatever I can get.
- Flour – any kind. Always good to have flour. Make bread/wraps/flatbreads, pancakes, yorkshire puddings, thicken up a gravy or make your own pasta.
- Creamed coconut/coconut milk or oil. Base for curries and adds flavour to any dish you want to make.
- Tinned fish – any kind. Don’t think I need to elaborate on this. Tinned fish can be the base of any snack or meal.
- Popcorn kernels. Perfect snack or for arts & crafts (not just a Christmas tree decoration).
- Nut butters
- Milk – can also be frozen!
- Cheese – any kind (can be frozen too). Halloumi has quite a long shelf life, so I always have some. Check out my halloumi & chicken tray bake recipe. Remove the chicken if vegetarian. Also great for wraps and BBQ kebabs.
- Yoghurt. It’s great for snacks, breakfast, lunch or dinner. Add oats, granola, honey, jam or compote for breakfast. Make wraps/flatbread from yoghurt for lunch or dinner (I’ve never made this recipe, but people are raving about it) and make my yoghurt bark recipe for snacks. Also a great base for mint dip. Simply add some mint jelly and cucumber and mix – delicious.
- Cured meat. Yes, I know processed meats are not good for you and little one’s shouldn’t really be consuming them. BUT I love chorizo, salami and prosciutto. There will always be one of these in my fridge. Mix into chopped tomatoes, basil and garlic for a pasta sauce. Use on homemade pizzas , eat in sandwiches or just eat straight from the packet. No judgement here.
- Cream Cheese – any kind. This is always a good base for pasta or sandwiches. We love smoked salmon, peas and cream cheese mixed through some pasta or spaghetti – a super simple meal in under 10mins.
- Salad and Veggies – any kind. You can pretty much mix all veggies/salad bits together and create something incredible. Don’t be afraid of new ones, step out of your comfort zone.
- Fish. You will always find at least 3 different types of cook from frozen fish in my freezer. Aldi have such a wide variety including prawns, tuna and salmon. My personal favourite is their Basa Fillets.
- Veggies. Frozen veg are the holy grail of freezer stashes. Most are actually better than fresh as they have been frozen within hours of being picked. They lock in the nutrients. I always have bags of individual veggies, like corn, peas, broccoli and spinach. I tend to shy away from the medleys, but if that’s all there is, I’ll grab a bag.
- Fruit. Frozen fruit smoothies, purees and toppers for porridge. You can’t go wrong.
- Herbs. Yep, that’s right, I always have a stash of frozen herbs in my freezer. I either buy them or make up ice cube trays myself. Just cut up some basil for example, pop it into an ice cube tray, top up with water and freeze. Then use when needed, don’t bother defrosting either. Great for garlic, onions and ginger too.
- Meat. I like to buy my meat from farms in bulk, separate into portions and freeze.
- Batch cooked meals and of course my personal stash of Logan’s Plate meals!
I hope you find this list of my store cupboard essentials useful. I will continue to post recipes and any other tips/tricks I find useful during lock-down. Remember I am a Mum too, so I get it and I am here for you.
Logan’s Plate is still open for business and will remain so until we are told to close.
Stay safe, Tijani x