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5 budget meals you can make with cupboard staples

Sometimes you just don’t have the time, or the energy, to get to the supermarket. The weekend was too full or too exciting, and the idea of dragging yourself around the fresh food aisle just didn’t whip you up into a frenzy. If that’s the case, then you’re going to need to figure out how to cook some tasty dishes from basic ingredients you probably have knocking around in your cupboard.

Look no further, the following recipes are quick, simple, and have no more than 4 ingredients. They’re great for saving both time and money.

1.     Pasta, tinned tomatoes, basil

This can also work with soggy old fresh tomatoes. A classic Italian recipe, just chuck the tomatoes in a pan (with some garlic and onion if you have any), sprinkle in a little sugar and let them simmer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the pasta. Then mix everything together, sprinkle with basil, and voila: instant Italian authenticity.

2.     Eggs, rice, soy sauce

Easy-peasy egg fried rice. You can also tart up this dish with some frozen peas and carrots if you have any knocking about. Just cook the rice, drain it and rinse it, then fry it with some vegetable oil (olive oil is also fine). Make a well in the centre and chuck in a raw egg that you’ve scrambled with a fork. Wait for the egg to cook then chop it up into the rice. If you have veggies, add them now, otherwise, just drizzle the whole thing with soy sauce, and you’ve got yourself a great, filling, dinner.

3.     Eggs, tinned tomatoes, onion

If you haven’t made Shakshuka before, then be prepared to be blown away. It’s a tasty Middle Eastern dish that just requires you to fry off the tinned tomatoes and the onion in a pan (add bell peppers if you have any). Then season with salt and pepper and a little chilli, and make little wells in the sauce to crack the eggs into. Poach them slowly and when they’re done you have a hearty, healthy, breakfast dish that will keep you full ‘til lunch.

4.     Prawns, coconut milk, green curry paste, zucchini

Going a little ‘fancier’, these four ingredients make the simplest green curry/laksa you will ever make. Simply fry off the green curry paste, add the coconut milk, then after a few minutes when it’s warmed through just add the prawns and julienned zucchini. Cook until the prawns are done then pour all of it onto a bed of rice. Easy as you like.

5.     A bunch of old veg, stock cube

It happens all the time, you buy loads of vegetables with the honest intention of eating like an Instagram foodie sensation, but two weeks later half of them are still languishing at the bottom of your veggie drawer. If that’s the case then there’s a simple way to use up all these undesirables without having to face the guilt of throwing them out! Simply chop them all up, fry them off in a pan (with garlic and onion and celery if you have them), and then add in a litre of stock. Once they’re cooked for 15 minutes just blitz them in a food processor, add some salt, and you’ve got yourself a hearty veggie soup.

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