4 Filling Meals To Make When The Cupboards Are Bare
When your cupboards are bare and the fridge looks like a barren wasteland, these 4 filling meals can still make it onto the plate…
Holiday time at uni is always a tricky one to gauge when it comes to food shopping. Nobody wants to spend money on food just before they disappear back home for 3 weeks — it’ll only lead to suspicious smells on your return!
Unfortunately, this means that many students end up struggling to make decent meals before the holidays.
But even if your fridge is completely bare, chances are you’ve still got a few sundries lining the cupboards, which means you can probably make at least one of these 4 filling meals.
Pasta Bake From Nowhere
We’ve all been there, last evening at uni before half-term and the evening menu is looking bleak.
Your housemates have already gone and you’re left with nothing but a half-empty bag of pasta, a questionable chunk of cheese and a tin of tomatoes…
Luckily you can whip up a pretty decent pasta bake with that!
- Pop the pasta in a pan with boiling water and cook according the instructions on the packet
- In another good sized pan, heat a little oil and chuck in the tomatoes. Season with a little salt and pepper and any other herbs and spices that take your fancy (we like a little heat so we added a little paprika, chilli powder and a pinch of mixed herbs)
- Simmer the tomatoes on a medium heat until the pasta is cooked
- While everything is cooking, grate the cheese
- Drain the pasta, add to the tomato sauce and give it all a good stir
- Pour the whole lot into an overn proof dish and sprinkle the grated cheese on top
- Pop under a hot grill for 3-5 minutes to melt the cheese and voila – Pasta Bake From Nowhere!
Omelettes Are Perfect For Using Up Leftovers
Even when the fridge is completely empty (bar a half used onion and a scraping of butter), you’ve probably still got a couple of eggs knocking about.
Much like the pasta bake, you can pretty much throw whatever you’ve got left into an omelette and it’s going to taste good — which is why it’s perfect for using up leftover ingredients from previous meals too.
For the perfect leftover omelette:
- Heat that scraping of butter in a pan (medium heat) and throw in the leftover onion (chopped)
- While the onion is softening, beat two eggs in a bowl with a little salt and pepper
- Once the onions are soft and slightly golden, add the egg to the pan — give it all a quick stir and reduce the heat
- If you have any other leftovers that you want to add (could be a little ham, a couple of stray mushrooms or tomatoes), sprinkle them onto the surface of the omelette and wait for the bottom to set
- Once the bottom is set, fold over and cook for a couple of minutes more — serve!
Risotto For One
You might think that you need the usually more expensive risotto rice (arborio) to make a decent risotto, but normal white rice works just as well.
So if you’ve got some rice and a stock cube (preferably an onion and some mushrooms too but you can cope without), you can make this delicious risotto for one.
- If you’re using the onion and mushroom, chop them up
- Heat a little butter or oil in a pan, add the onion and cook on a medium heat until softened
- Add the mushrooms and turn up the heat slightly. While that cooks for a couple of minutes, weigh out a single portion of rice and rinse with cold water
- Add the rice to the pan — stir and cook for a couple of minutes
- Make about 500ml of stock (vegetable is best but you can use whatever you have) and add to the pan
- Stir regularly until all the liquid has been absorbed by the rice and the excess evaporated
- Remove from the heat and serve
Ten-Minute Homemade Tomato Soup
This recipe is courtesy of the legendary Mary Berry and is perfect for using up that last bit of milk before you go home.
All you really need is a few cans of chopped tomatoes, vegetable stock, a bit of milk and some sugar, salt and pepper.
Mary’s original recipe calls for garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, cream and basil pesto but the soup works just as well without these if you haven’t got them.
- Pop a large, deep pan over a medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. If you have garlic, add and stir-fry for a few seconds, or until slightly coloured
- Again if you happen to have sun-dried tomatoes, add them now with the tinned tomatoes, stock and sugar and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper, pop the lid on, and reduce the heat to simmer for 10 minutes
- After 10 minutes, remove from the heat and blend the soup (it’s best to do this with a hand blender in the pan but you can use a regular blender too)
- Stir in the milk (and cream if you have it) and season again with salt and freshly pepper. Return to the hob to heat through — serve
NB – This makes quite a lot of soup so if you’re cooking for one, once you’ve blended, portion it up and freeze for future lunches/meals. When you defrost, reheat until piping hot before you add the milk/cream.
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Published 1st April 2016