When the weather is freezing and there's snow on the ground you often wish that you had something you could make a meal from in the house. The freezer might be well stocked, but there's no pasta or rice or starchy foods. Such items are worth stocking up on because they can be used when you have unexpected guests and for emergencies.
1. Soya Sauce
This spices up plain rice and vegetables, giving them an Oriental flavour. The vegetables might not be exotic, broccoli, onions and corn for example, but the addition of soy sauce will spice them up. It's ideal for a quick meal solution.
2. Olive oil
This is a must-have ingredient. It is very beneficial for your health and goes over pasta to make a meal just as it is although if you have some oregano as well, it will help the flavour. Pour it over salads too and use it to cook with mixed with a lighter oil so that it doesn't burn. It is an essential part of the Mediterranean diet.
Any kind of pasta is good to keep in the cupboard as you can make a sauce for it out of store cupboard ingredients and just use it with olive oil. It cooks quickly and fills you up.
The best kind to cook is basmati rice, but brown rice or any other kind is worth keeping to hand. Even I you just drizzle some soy sauce onto it, this will help fill your stomach in times of hardship.
Red lentils are especially versatile as they can form the basis of a soup or stew if you don't have or eat meat. The Asian dishes of dhal are very tasty, so the addition of spices will give you a tasty healthy meal, full of protein. Mixed with cheese and breadcrumbs, you can make a lentil loaf if you don't feel like a hearty stew.
6. Tins of tuna fish
If you have a tin of tuna fish, you can add it to pasta or rice for protein content, or use them in a tomato sauce, or just make tuna sandwiches with mayonnaise and some salad items if you have any.
7. Tins of tomatoes
These are always useful if fresh tomatoes aren't available and can form the base of a vegetarian or meat sauce for pasta or rice. They can be added to meat dishes and used in so many ways that they are definitely a must for any store cupboard.
8. Dried herbs
A selection of dried herbs is a must for any self-respecting food cupboard. They add flavour to all dishes and if you have dried them yourself, you can make tisanes with them for clods, flu and sore throats. The basic ones are oregano, mixed herbs or herbes de province, thyme, rosemary, basil and bay leaves. With these you can conjure up some really tasty dishes, and remember that basil and oreganos go very well with tomatoes.
These are as essential as herbs and should always be kept in your kitchen cupboard. The best ones to have are chilli powder and black pepper which is a must for almost every meal. Other spices are cinnamon or cassia bark, which flavours both main savoury dishes and desserts, green cardamoms which do the same and cumin seeds. Add any or all of these to a sauce of tuna and tinned tomatoes, serve with rice and you have a quick simple and satisfyingly tasty meal. They smell so good that you will forget your woes and the reason why you couldn't get to the shops for your groceries, at least while you're eating.
10. Milk Powder
This is always useful to have in your cupboard for adding to cups of tea, coffee etc, You can also make cheese sauces with it for pasta or rice and desserts. You can use macaroni and make the traditional favourite macaroni cheese (if you have any) or just white sauce and macaroni if you happen not to have any. Rice can be made into a dessert with a white sauce as can vermicelli or macaroni.
When your store cupboard is full you don't have to worry about going out if you really can't because of extreme weather or if you have a rotten cold and feel terrible. All you have to do is remember where it was that you last put the tin opener to make a really tasty meal from your store cupboard.
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