My father once told me the secret to cooking and I have lived by that rule in the kitchen ever since.
Bullshit and confidence.
I am really not afraid to try the most unlikely ingredients together. Often this comes from needing to figure out what I can make for dinner at the tail end of the week before grocery day. Luckily my husband will try (almost) anything I whip up. I’ve served green peas and peanuts in a desert dish as a side once and he ate both his portion AND mine (that wasn’t really my best idea).
I suppose we could also call this post frugal cooking. The first step to this culinary process is to take a look in your fridge and cupboards and make note of what you have left. The most important thing is to not second guess yourself and just keep going with whatever pops in your head.
The other day I made a late lunch quickly with the remains of a long stretch between super market visits. It blew my mind!
Working from home has made me less conscientious of eating at scheduled meal times. Usually, my day begins with 3 cups of coffee for breakfast. Around 11 o’clock I am famished so I have a piece of toast of a bowl of cereal. I then work through my lunch break because I am no longer hungry and by 2-2:30 I am starving! This “recipe” was born from one of those mid day hunger episodes. Mostly all I had in the house was endless boxes of pasta and no pasta sauce. I didn’t have time to whip up a homemade sauce using my canned tomatoes so this is what happened.
Empty Cupboard Pasta Special
Ingredients you will need:
- Mix of linguine and spaghetti (only reason for this was I had shoved what was left of the spaghetti in the linguine box to save pantry space)
- Sweet chili sauce
- Pesto (my favorite! I could eat it right from the jar!!)
- Olive oil
- Sriracha (aka Cock Sauce)
- peanuts (preferably the last handful at the bottom that’s mostly crushed and dusty)
Begin by boiling your pasta to your preference, I don’t like al dente noodles so I let them boil a bit longer.
I am going to let you in on a very authentic Italian cooking trick. To know when your noodles are ready, simply take one from the pot and throw it across your kitchen at the wall or ceiling. If it sticks, you know you can remove it from the heat. If it doesn’t, make sure you remember to pick it up off the floor so you don’t end up with a gathering of old spaghetti noodles behind your kitchen table (that has happened to me far too many times).
Another useful pasta cooking tip my father passed down to me was to run cold water over the noodles while you’re draining them. This prevents them from sticking together. They will still be piping hot, don’t worry.
While your pasta is cooking, open up that forgotten can of chickpeas hidden behind the endless Campbell’s tomato soup stash and drain them well. Chop some onion and get your sweet chill sauce ready.
Heat a “dollop” of olive oil in a skillet (I apologize but my cooking usually never involves measuring). Place your chickpeas in and cook on med-high heat for about a minute before you add the onions and sweet chili sauce. Again, no idea how much sauce, just pour it over the chickpeas until your intuition tells you to stop.
If ya can’t handle the heat skip this step. Add a squirt of Sriracha!
Now it’s time to get back to your noodles. Scoop out a generous portion of delicious pesto from the jar and mix it around the pasta until its evenly distributed. Next, grab a handful of crushed peanuts. Normally I mix pesto with pine nuts and it is just the epitome of delicious. Obviously- I didn’t have pine nuts but I found an almost empty bag of peanuts…remember folks… bullshit and confidence. Your pasta will look like the picture below.
Pour over top your chickpea mix, sprinkle a little hemp hearts and flaxseed if ya got it (I do this with so many meals and Nick has no idea). If you have children I would suggest this little trick. You can barely taste/notice it and its a great source of extra Protein, Omega 3 and much much more!
…But be careful that $#!^ is hot!!!
I made this again for supper for Nick and he couldn’t get enough of it.
Do not despair if your cupboards are bare!
Creative and frugal cooking is simple when bullshit and confidence are your main ingredients!