Storecupboard staples. What do you keep in there that can be turned into a meal?

(66 Posts)
nkf Thu 24-Jan-13 19:44:56

I have:
tinned tomatoes

But bit dull really.

riverboat Thu 24-Jan-13 20:36:21

Stock cubes
Risotto rice

= you can always make a risotto, throwing in whatever bits of meat / veg you have in the fridge or freezer

Kidney Beans

= a nice side dish to go with pork chops or chicken legs or something. Just fry the two up together, throw in some onion and chopped up pepper, plus cayenne pepper and chilli (whatever combination you have lying around)


= classic combo to be served with mayo, jacket potatoes and chopped up cucumber. One of my favourite lunches or light dinners.

Haricot beans
Chopped tomatoes / puree
Worcestershire sauce

= a recipe for homemade spicy baked beans from Jamie Oliver 15m meals

With what you have, if you also have stock cubes / onion / garlic / a few spices / some chicken or fish or sausage or cooked meat to hand, you could make a great jambalaya. Kind of like a carribean risotto - google recipes!

BoffinMum Fri 25-Jan-13 12:32:38
PixieHot Fri 25-Jan-13 22:30:08

Great links, BoffinMum. I need to get better at all of this stuff.

bluecarrot Fri 25-Jan-13 22:34:43

dorot garlic cubes
dorot chilli cubes
frozen diced onions
tinned tomatoes
stock cubes

MerylStrop Fri 25-Jan-13 22:39:17

chickpeas (for curry or for thunder and lightning with pasta and onions or hummus
green lentils (lovely with herbs and a poached egg on top, or for soup or with feta as a salad)
tinned toms are a bloody brilliant ingredient
pasta, rice, natch - quinoa is a nice alternative but not buying it any more because of environmental impact - bulghur wheat instead maybe
garam masala, cumin seeds, chilli powder or flakes, paprika - one or the other or a combo jazz up anything

PixieHot Fri 25-Jan-13 22:44:54

Can someone please come and live with me for 1 week, and teach me how to do lots of useful things grin?

ouryve Fri 25-Jan-13 22:50:08


Plus tinned tuna & mackerel. Sometimes a tin of sweetcorn. Not keen, but it makes for a more interesting pasta and tuna meal in case of power cut. Also a few sauces I've bought on offer - curry, sweet & sour, etc. And i always have a tin of corned beef in the cupboard!

ouryve Fri 25-Jan-13 22:50:47

And lots and lots of tinned pulses. [tired]

80sMum Fri 25-Jan-13 22:51:35

Kidney beans
Cous Cous
Bamboo shoots

ouryve Fri 25-Jan-13 22:53:18

Do I need to add the entire cupboard I have full of herbs, spices and asian seasonings and noodles? I should really just go into my kitchen and take a couple of pics.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Fri 25-Jan-13 23:01:50

I would add pesto - DS has been known to live for a week on variations of pasta, pesto (tuna, cheese, peas, sweetcorn, salad, olives, cherry toms etc)

Frozen sweetcorn and frozen peas

YY to sardines - really cheap and sardines on toast with sliced tomatoes is a classic wintery lunch

Always have chilli powder and spicy accompaniments - to liven things up.

SinisterSal Fri 25-Jan-13 23:03:08

Meryl - whats the environmental impact of quinoa?

In my larder : lentils, indian spices,tinnef fish, tin toms,
The most useful thing is a block of cocunut cream. You just grate off the amount you ned and the rest lasts for ever in the fridge. I was often throwing out half used tins of coconut milk.

MooMooSkit Fri 25-Jan-13 23:04:53

I always keep pasta can make all sorts of pasta dishes but if i'm lazy i'll just cook pasta mix in soft cheese, grated cheese and milk in the oven, cheesy pasta bake.

Rices to go with anything, stock cubes to add flavour and always keep jars of things to go with pastas and rices.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Fri 25-Jan-13 23:07:10

SinisterSal I keep meaning to do that but can't work out the proportions of creamed coconut as most recipes just say coconut milk

This is the thing about quinoa

SinisterSal Sat 26-Jan-13 00:30:48

Thanks for the link ,
Tbh i dont really know about the proportions, grate a bit add a bit of boiling water, rinse, repeat.

bluecarrot Sat 26-Jan-13 08:26:35

RE quinoa. I think the food production network is far more complex and there's plenty of other stories that say the guardian is, well, a little exaggerated to say the least. Not helped by Micheal Pollan, who I respect a lot but then he starts throwing the guardian link around...

It was a v big part of my diet when story first came to my attention in 2011 so I read a lot into it. I eat it now with as clear a conscience as I eat other food that are produced in other countries.

BoffinMum Sat 26-Jan-13 09:33:51

I go to France once or twice a year and I make a point of buying things like tins of pâté, preserved confit of duck (which nearly self corrected as dick, you will be pleased to know), fish soup in bottles and that posh bean and sausage stew thing (forget the name). They are in all supermarkets over there and half the price of similar posh stuff in the UK. Makes for great impromptu dinner parties.

BoringSchoolChoiceNickname Sat 26-Jan-13 09:38:02

Tinned sardines and anchovies.
Tinned chickpeas

Chorizo keeps for ages, as do eggs so they're semi-store cupboard

nkf Sat 26-Jan-13 13:18:56

Thank you, everyone. How do you make use of coconut blocks?

Fluffycloudland77 Sat 26-Jan-13 15:07:36
Spookey80 Sat 26-Jan-13 15:13:17

Brill thread, some good ideas.

Pasta (penne, macaroni, spaghetti, farfalline)
Stock cubes
Frozen peas and sweetcorn
Frozen bacon trimmings
Creamed/dessicated coconut
Kidney beans/borlotti beans/chick peas/butter beans
Tinned/purée tomatoes
Pitta bread (keep in freezer, toast as needed)

That lot, with in-season veg, eggs, cheese, milk, marg, meat etc. and I can cook a different meal every day for weeks.
We recently changed from Tesco to Aldi, and our weekly shop dropped from £40-£50 to £20-£30 a week for me, DH, DS (11) and DD (8) (plus meat & veg bought in local shops at about £10-£15 a week).
We do have a decent stock of spices though, and grow a lot of our own fruit and veg.

BoffinMum Sat 26-Jan-13 18:53:15

Other good things -

Packets of sauté potato or rosti mix (great with a fried egg or as a shepherd's pie topping)

Pearl Barley

Lasagne sheets (make open lasagne with prawns)

Plain chocolate

Sandwich spread

Vacuum packed breads

racingheart Sat 26-Jan-13 18:58:21

Pasta and egg noodles
Tinned corn, five beans and kidney beans
Tomato and garlic purees in a tube
Chicken, beef and veg stock
frozen mixed veg and frozen spinach

Today's dinner was a boiled up chicken carcass, that in true MN austerity style has done a roast, wraps, sandwiches, pizza toppings and now made the stock for a soup with some egg noodles, sweetcorn, frozen veg, stock, garlic puree and chopped carrots. Most of that was store cupboard basics plus left overs. Only the leek and carrots were fresh today.

nkf Sun 27-Jan-13 07:48:55

I've never tried rosti mix. It sounds like it could be very useful. Instant egg and chips or a topping. I am adding that to my list. I filled up the stores yesteday. Loads of pasta and rice and noodles. Does anyone know a way of making something salady quick from stuff in tins? You know for when you want salad and the only stuff in the fridge is sad looking lettuce.

I need to get more stock in and some chickpeas/kidney beans etc.

nkf Sun 27-Jan-13 07:49:17

Stock cubes I meant.

Nkf, three bean salad(tin) with sweetcorn (frozen or tin), crushed garlic, ground pepper and tomato puree (tin or tube), add a spoonful of pesto and some chopped bacon trimmings if you're really pushing the boat out.
Chop in whatever veg and herbs look least sad, it's a good quick salad.

nkf Sun 27-Jan-13 08:40:43

Also, I have just googled open lasagna because I didn't recognise the term. They look brilliant. Imagine two sheets of lasagna, one on the top and one of the bottom of a filling. Sounds really easy and a bit different to just pasta with sauce.

BoffinMum Sun 27-Jan-13 12:18:16

Nkf those tuna salad/Greek salad lunch pots aimed at working ladies on a diet are worth having in stock for that.

BoffinMum Sun 27-Jan-13 12:18:45

I mean working ladies of the office rather than bedroom persuasion, natch. wink

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 27-Jan-13 12:26:22

If you want tinned pulses or red lentils etc always check the world foods aisle in your supermarket. They are usually loads cheaper.

I noticed that in areas with a high ethnic populations the big four tailor their ranges to suit them. So you get huge vats of oil and sacks of rice for pennies.

BoffinMum Sun 27-Jan-13 12:35:41

Our Tesco does Finest basmati rice for £7 for a huge bag.

fuzzpig Sun 27-Jan-13 12:43:33

I now prefer passata to chopped tomatoes.

Favourite use for tinned chick peas:
Heat a little oil in a pan, chuck in drained CPs. Heat through, then stir in some curry paste. When that's heated, mash them. Add a bit of water until it's a bit smoother. Serve as a dip with pitta bread, crudités or whatever. I much prefer it to hummus, it's really lovely.

fuzzpig Sun 27-Jan-13 12:44:41

As for rice, I use Tesco value range, it's lovely, and dirt cheap smile

RooneyMara Sun 27-Jan-13 12:46:00

Cup-a soup blush

<not a great cook>

fuzzpig Sun 27-Jan-13 13:52:06

This is an old thread of mine that has loads of suggestions BTW

My favourite salad:
Tinned tuna, frozen green beans, boiled eggs, boiled potato, plus any salad stuff like cucumber. The magic ingredient - avocado. When you mix it, it mushes up a bit so it doesn't need a dressing. Due to the mushiness it's not a very attractive looking dish, but it's yummy!

LayMizzRarb Sun 27-Jan-13 16:37:00

I always keep a couple of tins of Campbell's condensed cream of tomato soup in the cupboard. Used without dilution it gives a really creamy rich tomato sauce. There are a few ways I use it - stir through cooked pasta with Tuna or gather all your veg odds and sods, courgettes, broccoli etc cook them, then add a tin of the soup, a couple of tins of beans and simmer on the top of the oven in a stockpot. Serve with crusty bread, and for non veggies, with a sprinkle of cheese or a spoon of Philly stirred through. Lovely and warming, relatively low fat.

fuzzpig Sun 27-Jan-13 17:15:57

We always have a jar of curry sauce and a jar of Homepride tomato and bacon sauce too <yum>

nkf Sun 27-Jan-13 20:21:57

Agree on passata. I use the Basics range. Totally fine. I like the curried chick peas recipe. Thank you.

nkf Sun 27-Jan-13 20:26:20

Okay, anyone up to a challenge. Found some odd things in the cupboard. What can I do with the following things?

- Condensed mushroom soup. Can't remember why I bought it.
- Tin of chestnut puree. Must have intended to go all Nigella-ish at Christmas. On the side it says you can use it to make soups. Can you?
- Some bamboo shoots. Can't remember why I bought those either. Stir fry I guess.

notnowImreading Sun 27-Jan-13 20:32:13

Linguini, bottle of lemon juice, olive oil, tin of white crab meat, dried chillis. Nice pasta dish, seems like you made an effort even though you didn't.

PetiteRaleuse Sun 27-Jan-13 20:36:49

Boffin cassoulet is what you're thinking of.

I also buy tinned duck confit. Yum.

Other than that I have tinned tuna, tomatoes and sweetcorn in. Plus frozen sliced onions and frozen sliced leeks.

Always have a couple of jars of pataks curry paste, a teaspoon of which can liven up pasta or soup (seriously).

Allways have a bottle if very cheap white wine too. A glass added to a pan of soup or poured over baked chicken or fish can make it a little different.

BoffinMum Sun 27-Jan-13 22:50:34

That's it, cassoulet. Name was on the tip of my tongue.

If you open a bottle of wine but fail to finish it before it goes funny, keep it handy as it's useful to cook with.

BoffinMum Sun 27-Jan-13 22:58:05

Stop press ... Austerity Housekeeping eBook is free again on Kindle tomorrow, if anyone still wants a copy.

BoffinMum Sun 27-Jan-13 22:58:19

I mean Amazon!

CSLewis Tue 29-Jan-13 11:36:57

nfk: Thin down the mushroom soup with boiling water and use as stock for mushroom/chicken/any vegetable risotto.

Chestnuts (whole or pureed) are yummy in soups as long as they are unsweetened... I've made a lovely lentil and lardon soup which I chucked some whole vac-packed chestnuts into and then whizzed up a bit - I'm sure a splodge of the puree would do just fine.

You could probably also make some very fancy stuffing with it as well.

Bamboo shoots - yup, stirfry!

BornToFolk Tue 29-Jan-13 11:52:44

Tin of chestnut puree. Must have intended to go all Nigella-ish at Christmas. On the side it says you can use it to make soups. Can you?

I made chestnut and sage soup yesterday. Recipe from the Hugh FW veggie book but it's v simple, just an onion, chestnuts, stock and sage, with some creme fraiche stirred through at the end. I used vac packed chesnuts but I'm sure you could use puree (as long as it's unsweetened!)

I always have gnocchi in the cupboard. Lasts for ever and can be turned into a quick, easy meal with some pesto or jarred sauce. And a bit different from endless pasta...

fuzzpig Tue 29-Jan-13 14:50:58

Mmmm gnocchi, one of my favourite things ever!

notnowImreading Tue 29-Jan-13 20:25:45

You can fry gnocchi - it's delicious and chewy with a crunchy outside. Very nice fried with chorizo and made into a salad. I don't eat very healthily!

InNeedOfBrandy Tue 29-Jan-13 20:43:59

I am a huge hoarder with these type of things

What is always in my cupboard

rice flour and pasta cornmeal

mackerel tuna sardines salmon and corned beef

tomatoes beans pulses sweetcorn and tomato purée

coconut milk, condensed milk

that makes, rice with mackerel and tomatoes,
salmon green thai curry,
beef and beans,
veggie chilli,
tuna pasta and sweetcorn,
pizzas (making own base) and assuming mozzarella is in freezer like normal (also love tuna pizza)
tuna and tomatoe pasta bake with sardines or mackerel thrown in,
cornmeal porridge

always have a tin of tomato soup to grin

nkf Tue 29-Jan-13 20:54:16

Can you put mozarella in the freezer? New vistas open up.

InNeedOfBrandy Tue 29-Jan-13 21:01:47

Yes I slice it up first and pt into portions big enough for the 3 of us.

<light bulb> I wonder if you could make little pizza making bags with frozen already sliced mozzarella and grated chedder ready to just pull out and stick on!

nkf Tue 29-Jan-13 21:05:55

Yes! With some sliced peppers mixed in. Frozen pizza base, frozen topping. Job done.

InNeedOfBrandy Tue 29-Jan-13 21:10:23

We need to package this idea up and sell it to the masses.

SizzleSazz Tue 29-Jan-13 21:12:23

Chicken Marengo - not the healthiest grin but scrummy winter dish with rice

400g cooked chicken (sliced)
1 can condensed mushroom soup (or chicken)
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1/2 tsp mild curry powder
150g mushrooms (sliced)
knob butter
1pt plain crisps
25g cheddar cheese (grated)

saute mushrooms in butter and spread over bottom of shallow ovenproof dish
Layer chicken over mushrooms
Mix soup, mayo & curry powder and spread over chicken
Crush crisps and sprinkle on top
Sprinkle grated cheese on top

Bake for 35-40 mins at 180 degrees

evertonmint Wed 30-Jan-13 10:25:43

Some store cupboard essentials from our house
- squeezy lime and lemon juice for perking up everything
- soy sauce and oyster sauce. 1tbsp each + 1/2 tsp sugar mixed together is a yummy stir fry sauce for leftover veg. That does 1 person so just scale up for however many you're serving.
- eggs, frozen prawns, sweetcorn, rice will always ensure you can do a fried rice - just chuck in whatever extra veg you've got and then flavour with five spice powder, ginger, garlic, soy, chilli depending on what you have/want
- tinned fruit for instant puddings - our kids love fruit kebabs of prunes, lychees, peaches, apricots etc with raspberry sauce (frozen raspberries blitzed with bit of icing sugar)

nkf Wed 30-Jan-13 21:54:01

I'm adding to my shopping more spices esp Chinese ones and lemon juice. Often need it and have never thought to buy it in a bottle. I can't quite imagine crisps on top of food. Why not breadcrumbs?b

nkf isn't it just what you are used to eating? I can't imagine crisps on top of food either. I looked at the links on the first page and I seldom eat bacon, ham, potatoes and cream. So it would hardly be my 10 things.

My quick turn into meal staples are
- rice, egg noodles
- thai red curry paste, thai green curry paste, gochujang (korean red pepper paste), soy sauce, sesame oil
- egg, cashew or peanuts, frozen shrimps or mince
- frozen sweetcorn, peas and broad beans, plus random fresh veg in the fridge.

From that I can make red or green curry, fried noodles or egg fried rice.

happyhorse Thu 31-Jan-13 11:08:03

I like to buy those part baked baguettes to bung in the cupboard (£1 for 4 in Tesco). We always have fishfingers in the freezer so I do fishfinger baguettes to eek out the shopping a bit.

fuzzpig Thu 31-Jan-13 15:27:48

Agree about the part baked things. I used to order a fresh baguette with my online shopping if it was on a day where I was at home, but they always ended up a bit stale and meh. DH is coeliac and the DCs don't eat much so getting the part baked ones makes it more economical.

Also, pizza bases (I get the napolina mini ones)

But those part baked baguettes are more expensive than the normal ones. (I don't understand why that is). I put the baguettes in the freezer, defrost them, and then bake them in slightly wet greaseproof paper.

InNeedOfBrandy Thu 31-Jan-13 15:37:59

I usually use the part baked baguettes for pizza bases or I make it. I only make it when dc whinge for it <rolls eyes> and if I'm really broke value pitta breads make good bases to.

BiddyPop Thu 31-Jan-13 16:03:29

Campbells tomato soup can be stretched quite far by adding a chopped and gently fried onion (and garlic if have it), a tin of tomatoes (I buy whole and chop to desired size), italian herbs (dried oregano and basil, pepper) and the usual tin of liquid (half milk, half water is our usual to make it creamier - in fact, whole tin milk and half of water again works well to stretch even further as creaminess disguises stertching).

Campbells mushroom, chicken, chick in white wine - any of those can be mixed with chicken (diced and fried) and mushrooms to serve with rice or mash. Dash of cream or milk (or chick stock or white wine) to loosen a little. Some tarragon or parsley if you have it gives it depth.

Tin tuna, half tin sweetcorn, loads of old veg from fridge (including an onion and garlic) and leftover cooked rice (and frozen prawns maybe) fried up with some mild curry powder makes a nice dish mostly from stores. (I use both tuna in brine and oil for different things - but tend to use oil one for this as the oil goes into pan for the cooking, extra pennies saved and extra flavour gained).

Pasta with garlic fried gently in a good slug of olive oil, with a handful of frozen prawns thrown over the top, all mixed together, is nice (squeeze lemon juice brings it all together!).

I try to have a tin of bamboo shoots, tin of beansprouts etc in the cupboard to make a stirfry.

Always have onions and garlic.

Lidl's double pack of bacon lardons, and their chorizo sausage, have long fridge life and many many uses.

Frozen cooked prawns are faster to defrost (throw straight into sauce) for an emergency dinner - heat a jar of tomato or curry or chinese sauce with prawns, and veg if have any, while rice/pasta cooks.

I always have dried mushrooms and usually risotto rice - I make a few different risottos, but mushroom one from dried mushrooms is handy for "just before big shop" days.

Usually have chick or veg stock in freezer, but stock cubes for emergencies too.

My cupboards are a very varied smorgasbord, I can rustle up a big variety of meals and treats in minutes usually - but I do have to remember to empty them out at the back at times....

Palmtree Fri 01-Feb-13 11:38:41

Our local Lidl store is currently stocking tinned chopped toms with garlic and onion - they are great, and save you having to chop the garlic & onion separately. We have bought a tray of them, and bung them in curries, casseroles, stir fries, you name it.

Fluffycloudland77 Fri 01-Feb-13 15:36:59

Lidls packs of microwaveable rice are 40p ish this weekend.

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