Nutrition: store cupboard cooking

Tuesday 08 May 2018

I have decided to look at store cupboard cooking for several reasons;

Preparing your larder and freezer pre treatment.
We could all do with a well stocked larder/freezer to fall back on at times. A question I get asked many times from visitors I see who are waiting to start their chemo, ‘What can I do to prepare?, well part of my reply is to try and shop ahead for foods that will go in the store cupboard that will make useful, easy to prepare light meals in anticipation that some days over the period of treatment energy may be low or appetite for food preparation diminished.  Sometimes shopping can be a real chore so to have food ready in the cupboard or freezer is a real bonus. Many family supporters also appreciate some help with this.

Store cupboard cooking can be a vast subject and it took me quite a bit of deliberation as to how to approach this. I did not feel that by simply listing food that may be a good idea to have in the cupboard would not be very useful, simply because we all have different ideas of what that might be.  

Choose some recipes you like and then stock up on ingredients.
I want to look at some very simple ideas using store cupboard ingredients with some recipes that are quick and easy to make. By approaching the subject this way you can choose which ideas you like and buy those specific ingredients for your cupboards. Hope that makes sense and that the ideas will serve you well.

Some of the suggestions seem very obvious but when people are going through diagnosis and treatment the obvious does not always come to mind. So if we look at some ideas, some are more adventurous than others;

My first idea is a particular favourite of mine and I am always flogging them as being highly nutritious and so simple to use and that is of course tinned sardines!!! (I know a bit like marmite you either love them or hate them) I recommend that if you can get to love them!!

Sardines: on wholemeal toast, Add fresh tomatoes if you have them in; or simply use them as a topping for a jacket potato; or mix with some cooked wholemeal pasta and some cooked peas/ sweetcorn out of the freezer. Eat them on a bed of frozen cooked spinach; or use as the protein element of a simple salad.

A simple soup  (my own recipe)
A can of tinned tomatoes
4oz/100g red split lentils
500mls/1pt of vegetable stock from vegetable stock powder and 1 chopped onion.

Put together in a large pan and cooked gently for 30 min till the lentils have softened. Blitz together check seasoning. You could add a couple of freshly grated carrots to the soup if you have them in.

Another simple soup Broad bean and pea  (Good Food magazine)
2 tbsp of olive oil
knob butter
1 stick of celery
large bunch of spring onion finely chopped
1lb 4oz of frozen broad beans
1 tbsp of risotto rice
1 tsp of dried rosemary
4oz frozen peas
2pts of vegetable stock from stock powder.

melt the butter and olive oil and chopped celery in a pan and fry gently for 5 mins; Add the remaining ingredients; bring to the boil then reduce heat to a simmer for 15 mins till rice is tender; liquidize till smooth, season and serve.

Rice and bean salad  (Good Food magazine)
Take some cooked brown rice (4oz per serving) add a small can of drained and rinsed mixed beans, seasoning and a dash of balsamic vinegar to flavour.

Tinned salmon sandwich.

Baked beans on toast; baked beans on a jacket potato adding any fresh vegetables if you have them like tomatoes or peppers.

Tuna Pasta Bake (my own recipe)
300g of pasta
25g of butter
25g of plain flour
300mls of milk (or alternative milk)
1 tbsp of dried parsley leaves
1 large can of tuna in springwater drained
150g of cooked sweetcorn

Heat the oven gas 4/160’C. boil the pasta in water till just under cooked then drain, Make the sauce by blending the flour, butter and milk together over a low heat stirring all the time until the sauce thickens and bubbles, mix in the parsley; mix sauce through the pasta, add the tuna and sweetcorn, season to taste. Put into a baking dish and bake 15-20 mins till golden.

Store cupboard pasta salad.
1 small finely chopped red onion
2 tsps of capers
1 tbsp of pesto
2 tsps of olive oil
large can of tuna in water drained
100g of cooked pasta
3 sundried tomatoes chopped.

Method.  Simply mix all the ingredients together.

Spiced rice and beans(Good Food Magazine)
200g of basmati rice
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 onion chopped
½ tsp of lazy ginger (or ½ tsp chopped ginger root)
1 tsp of lazy garlic ( or 2 clove chopped garlic)
1 pinch of dried chilli flakes
1 tsp of cumin powder
400g can of black eyed peas rinsed and drained
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp of turmeric
2 tbsp of pumpkin seeds (plain or toasted).

Wash the rice in cold water through a sieve until the water runs clear, (this is to get rid of the starch to prevent it become sticky). Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onion and ginger and cook gently for 5 mins; Stir in the garlic, cumin and chilli. Tip in the rice and beans and mix well, add 600mls of water, the bay leaves, cinnamon stick and some salt. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer, cover the pan and cook gently for 15 mins until the rice is soft and the liquid absorbed. Sprinkle over the seeds.

Hummus (from Delia Smith freezer cooking)
1 can of chickpeas rinsed and drained (keep a couple of tbsps of the chickpea liquid)
5 oz of tahini
juice of 2 lemons
3 fat cloves of garlic or 1 tsp of lazy garlic
4 tbsp of olive oil.

Put all the ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth, Add some of the chickpea liquid if you want it a softer consistency. Serve on oatcakes, as a topping for a jacket potato, spread on toast, with some vegetable sticks.

Date oat and Honey slice. (my own recipe) Let’s end on a sweet note!
12oz of rolled oats
12oz of whole meal flour
12oz of pure margarine or butter
1 ½ lbs of dried dates
2 tbsp of honey
1 tbsp of lemon juice.

preheat the oven gas 5/180’C and line a large swiss roll tin with baking parchment. Put the dates into a large pan and just enough water to almost cover them, bring to the boil and stew gently for 5 mins, take off the heat and let cool. While they are cooling rub together the flour, oats and butter to make a sticky crumb. Press half of the crumb mixture into the tin. Add the lemon juice and honey to the dates. Spread over the oat base. Gently sprinkle the remaining sticky crumb mix over the dates and press down lightly. Bake 25 mins till dark golden, Cool in the tin.  Freezes beautifully.

To add to the above I would also be inclined to have some unsalted nuts and a variety of seeds, unsulphured dried apricots. Mix the nuts and seeds together and add some of the apricots chopped up. This mix makes an ideal snack and in between meal pick me up.

Herbs and spices
I would also include a basic mixture of herbs and spices to include ground cumin, coriander and turmeric. I quite often mix 1 tsp of cumin and coriander and ½ tsp of turmeric together to make a rub for fish or chicken before cooking. It can also be made into a paste with a little water and added to soups to give a mild curry flavour or stirred into cooked hot quinoa to add some flavour.

Nut butters
Do not forget the wonderful nut butters, almond and cashew make an excellent spread for oatcakes or toast as a quick snack.

Store cupboard shopping list
if you like the idea of these recipes than this is what your store cupboard should contain.

Salt and pepper; Tinned fish, sardines tuna in water and salmon; Whole meal pasta; rice; basmati rice; Quinoa; Tinned tomatoes; Tinned baked beans (low sugar salt variety); chickpeas; canned beans; black eyed beans;  Olive oil; balsamic vinegar; Honey; rolled oats; wholemeal flour; red split lentils; vegetable stock powder; sun dried tomatoes; pesto; capers; Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame); unsalted nuts; Tahini; Almond nut butter; cashew nut butter; A variety of herbs and spices i.e. cinnamon sticks, coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric, bay leaves, chilli flakes; Lazy ginger, lazy Garlic, dried rosemary;

From the freezer; broad beans; peas; sweetcorn.

This is an extensive list but simply buy in the foods for the recipe ideas that you like. Next week I will continue the blog with yet more ideas.

Blog originally written by Caroline Sept 2014

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