Author(s): Wendy Anderson
Copyright holder(s): Wendy Anderson
Here are some ideas of food which is quick to make, often in a single pan, and (generally) healthy.
Store cupboard items:
With the following in the cupboard, you will never be short of a meal. And with a few fresh ingredients, it can be a feast (do I sound like Delia yet?).
Pasta (shapes such as penne, plus spaghetti)
Sunflower oil for frying
Wine vinegar (red, white or sherry will do for most things)
Tins of beans (flageolet/cannellini, as well as baked)
Tins of tomatoes
Tins of tuna
Packet of lentils (green Puy lentils have best flavour)
Oxo cubes (vegetable ones are more versatile, but beef ones are better for French onion soup)
Fresh ingredients to keep in (will keep for a fairly long time):
Onions (normal, or red for salads)
Fresh parmesan (will keep longer if you freeze small blocks of it in clingfilm. Grate it from frozen at the start of meal preparations and it will be ready by the time you need it.)
Flageolet beans with bacon
Time: 5-10 minutes. Uses one pan.
Ingredients: tin of flageolet beans, 3 rashers of back bacon, garlic, olive oil, seasoning.
Drizzle a little olive oil in a pan (either pot or frying pan). When hot, drop in the chopped garlic and stir around. With scissors, snip the bacon straight into the pan, and stir around until opaque. Drain beans and stir these all in too. Season with pepper, tip onto a plate, and drizzle with olive oil. This is especially nice with crusty bread.
Mixed bean salad (if you’re feeling brave)
Time: 5 minutes. Uses one pan.
Ingredients: tin of mixed beans, tin of tuna, (can be done with bacon instead if you don’t like hot tuna), seasoning, chillis if feeling doubly brave.
In a frying pan, fry chopped chillis if using. Drain beans and tuna and add everything to pan. Heat through. Season. Nicer than you’d expect (provided you’ve got a decent tin of beans).
Ingredients (for 6 – 8 people): 2oz butter, 2-3 onions chopped, 1.5 lb of stewing steak, 1 large red pepper (de-seeded and cut into thin strips), 2 level tablespoons of paprika, 1 level tablespoon of tomato paste, tin of tomatoes, 1 large tub of soured cream
Melt the butter in a large saucepan and fry onions for 10 minutes until pale golden in colour. Cut meat into small cubes, and add to the pan, turning constantly until browned all over. Add red pepper and fry for a further 5 minutes. All all the other ingredients except the cream, and bring to the boil, stirring. Lower the heat, and cover. Simmer gently for between 1 and 2 hours or until meat is tender, stirring occasionally.
Remove from the heat, stir in the carton of soured cream. Serve onto plates, and garnish with a small dollop of sour cream, and a sprinkling of paprika. Serve with rice.
Lentil and bacon soup
Makes a large panful, enough for 3 portions. Can all be done in one pan.
Time: 5 minutes preparation (in two blocks), 30+ minutes to simmer
Ingredients: dried lentils, 3-4 rashers of bacon, 1 vegetable Oxo cube, herbs
Rinse 3 large handfuls of lentils under cold running water. Put in a pan, and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, and leave for ten minutes. By this time, the lentils will have soaked up all the water. Remove from the direct heat, and push lentils over to one side. Melt a small piece of butter on the clear base of the pan, and chop bacon in finely, returning this edge of the pan to the heat. Once the bacon has a bit of colour, stir everything together, with some herbs.
Dissolve the Oxo cube in boiling water, and pour this in to the pan. Then add fresh cold water, for the desired amount of soup. Stir everything together. Bring to the boil, for a few minutes, and then leave to simmer for about 20 minutes.
Potato and bacon salad
Time: 15 minutes (10 of which is cooking potatoes, so you don’t need to be there). Requires one pan, and a grill.
Ingredients: c. 10 new potatoes, 3 rashers of bacon, big dollop of mayo, (spring onions), (chopped pepper), mustard, garlic
Cook the potatoes (chop each into two or three pieces to make it quicker). At the same time, grill the bacon (or you can fry it, ready chopped into small pieces). Drain potatoes once they’re done, and chuck in chopped bacon, and chopped spring onions if using. Add a teaspoon of mustard, a spoonful of mayo (a little goes a long way when it’s heated), and stir it all round. Season and tip onto a plate. This shouldn’t need bread, but is nice with a tomato salad.
Chicken noodle soup
Time: 10-15 minutes (but can be left once it’s all in the pan). Uses one pan.
Ingredients: 1 chicken breast, 1 block of noodles, (spring onions), seasoning, 1 vegetable Oxo cube.
Fill a pan with boiling water, and dissolve the Oxo cube. Chop the chicken and spring onions into small chunks, and add these to the pot. Season with black pepper. (No need for salt as Oxo cubes already contain a large amount). Nice with crusty bread.
Fresh pasta and tomato sauce
Time: 5-10 minutes. Prepare sauce while pasta is cooking. Best to use two pans.
Ingredients: half packet of fresh filled pasta, garlic, onion, tin of tomatoes (the ones with added garlic or chillis are especially useful), (dried herbs), seasoning, pinch of sugar.
Cook pasta in one pot. Meanwhile, chop onion and garlic and fry till clear (at a medium heat, not full or it’ll burn and go black). Add in tin of tomatoes and allow to reduce a bit. Season. Drain pasta once cooked, and stir the contents of one pan into the other. Garnish with parmesan.
Tuna and cannellini beans on toast
Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients: half a tin of tuna, half a tin of cannellini beans, small piece of red onion, two slices of crusty bread, olive oil, (garlic)
Heat the grill, and toast the bread on both sides. Meanwhile, chop the onion (and garlic, if used). Put in a pan with a little olive oil, and heat gently. Stir in the tuna and the beans (both drained). Heat through. Once the toast is ready, put it on a plate, and drizzle over some olive oil. Spoon on the tuna mix. Add seasoning to taste. Good served with some peppery rocket, and a tomato salad.
Excellent as a dip for crudités
Time: 15 minutes
Ingredients: 2 egg yolks, 6 cloves of garlic (crushed), salt, 250ml olive oil, 1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice (or 1 lemon, to squeeze in)
Beat the egg yolks in a bowl with the garlic and a little salt, until it starts to thicken. Add the oil, drop by drop, beating as you go. As it thickens, add some lemon juice, and then add the oil in a steady stream, continuing to beat vigorously. Add remaining lemon juice to taste, and mix thoroughly.
Fresh pasta with tomato dressing
Time: 5 minutes. Prepare dressing while pasta is cooking. One pan is plenty.
Ingredients: half packet of fresh filled pasta, two large tomatoes, drizzle of olive oil, seasoning, (tablespoon of single cream), (fresh parmesan), (pine nuts), (pesto – only a level tablespoonful).
Cook pasta in a pan. Meanwhile, chop tomatoes, and assemble all the other bits and pieces. Drain pasta when it’s cooked, and put it back in the pan. Stir in everything else, and let it heat through gently (you can turn off the heat; there’ll be enough residual heat for this and you don’t want to burn the pasta).
Ingredients: Lettuce, tomatoes, croutons, couple of rashers of bacon, dressing (see below)
Make the dressing by crushing a clove of garlic, and mixing in some mustard, white wine vinegar, olive oil. Stir vigorously to blend. You can make croutons by putting squares of bread, drizzled with olive oil and herbs, in a dish in the oven for 20 minutes. Or in a hurry, simply toast some bread, and drizzle over a little olive oil before chopping into squares.
Grill the bacon. Assemble the lettuce, tomatoes, chopped bacon and croutons. Pour over the dressing, and mix well.
Time: 10 minutes. One frying pan – the most non-stick available.
Ingredients: 3 eggs, half an onion, drop of milk, seasoning, filling (nice with grated cheddar, slices of Camembert or Brie, tuna, bacon, red onion, etc).
Fry anything you’re using which needs to be cooked (bacon, onion, garlic). Crack three eggs into a jug, and beat with a fork. Add a little milk, and season. Once onion etc. is cooked, pour contents of jug into the frying pan, to coat the base fully. Heat should be at medium to avoid burning it. Allow to cook almost through, and try to loosen it from the pan with a spatula. When it’s nearly done, add in any further ingredients. Allow cheese to melt. Fold in half. Tip onto a plate. Serve with salad and bread.
French onion soup
Ingredients (for a large panload): Three or four large onions, couple of cloves of garlic, two beef Oxo cubes. Plus couple of slices of French bread, and slices of emmenthal or gruyère.
Slice the onions as finely as possible, and separate the circles. Chop the garlic. Heat a little oil in a large pan, and tip in all the onions. Turn down the heat to medium, and stir the onions until they are translucent (and not burnt!). Dissolve the Oxo cubes in boiling water, and pour in to the pan. Top up with cold water. Bring to the boil for ten minutes. Turn down the heat and leave to simmer, for at least half an hour. Season to taste (little salt, pepper). Top with grilled cheese on toast.
Healthier than a bought pizza, and you can use up the end of a packet of tortillas this way (even if they’re slightly stale), along with any other bits and pieces you have.
Ingredients (for one person): Two flour tortillas, half a tin of chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, (anything you like as topping, such as red onion, mushrooms, salami, olives), slices of mozzarella or grated cheese, herbs to season. Place one tortilla on a flat oven tray. Spread with tomato paste, and put the other tortilla on top. Drizzle over a little olive oil, then top with anything you like. Cook in a hot oven for about 10 minutes, until the cheese melts.
Chicken breast with goats’ cheese and bacon
Time: 5 minutes preparation, c. 25 minutes cooking time
Ingredients (per person): 1 chicken breast, 1 rasher of bacon, chunk of goats’ cheese.
Heat the oven for ten minutes. Slit the chicken breast half way through. Open up, and push some pieces of goats’ cheese in, tucking them into the centre of the chicken. Wrap the bacon round the chicken, fairly tightly. Either secure the bacon with a wooden toothpick, or lay the chicken on the baking tray with the edges of the bacon facing down. Cook in a medium-high oven for about 25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through (times vary, depending on water content of chicken). Particularly good served with new potatoes and green beans.
Time: 15 minutes
Ingredients (per person): half an onion, 1 clove of garlic, olive oil, 1 rasher of bacon, small piece of green chilli, 1 egg yolk, small piece of fresh parmesan, 75g spaghetti
Put the water on to boil for the pasta. While it’s boiling, chop the onion finely, and crush the garlic. Put the spaghetti in to cook. Put a little olive oil in a frying pan on a medium heat, and add the onion and garlic. Allow this to cook gently until translucent – but do not burn. Then chop in the bacon, and add chopped chilli. Turn up the heat a little, and cook until the bacon is done.
Put the egg yolks (NOT WHITES) in a bowl big enough to hold all the spaghetti, and grate in the parmesan. Drain the pasta, keeping about a tablespoon of the water with it. Tip the pasta and this water in to the bowl with the egg. Stir it all together, so the egg cooks and the cheese melts. Stir in the bacon and onion mix, and serve.
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Food ideas. 2022. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved September 2022, from http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=1539.
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