Have you noticed a few staples missing from the grocery stores shelves over the past couple of months? Well, you’re not alone. Panic buying in the early stages of COVID-19 meant that supply chains have been working hard to fill gaps. Hopefully we are past the worst of this, however it does allow us an opportunity to rethink what we buy ready-made and what is just as easily made at home, from scratch. We’ve compiled a short list of some of the more common, easily made at home options to get your creative juices flowing.
Ah pasta, one of the world’s most beloved and ancient foods. While we tend to think of pasta as traditionally being Italian, nearly every country has its own unique variation of this versatile staple. In Hungary and Germany they have spaetzle. In Greece they have orzo and in Poland they eat pierogi. Even Jewish families make kreplach dumplings using a rolled dough made from wheat. There are so many examples of pasta-like foods from around the world it is enough to noodle your mind! One of the reasons that so many cultures have used pasta for so long is because it is simple to make and needs very few ingredients: eggs, flour, olive oil, and salt.
Jamie Oliver has a great recipe to get you started on your pasta journey: https://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/pasta-recipes/a-basic-recipe-for-fresh-egg-pasta/
Now, once you’ve made your pasta it is worth making a couple of jars of homemade Passata to add to all your Italian recipes. Passata is a simple tomato sauce that is made very easily from ripe oven roasted tomatoes that are then sautéed with onion, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and basil. It takes about 45 minutes to make from scratch, but you can make it in bulk and store jars of it in your pantry or fridge for months.
Who doesn’t enjoy the smell of freshly baked bread?! Well, you can fill your home with this delightful aroma very easily, and without needing to rush off and buy a bread maker. Another benefit of making bread yourself at home is that you can choose the grain, blend different types of wholegrains together and create a loaf that is densely filled with a variety of seeds. This will not only boost the fibre content, but it will also provide you with a great source of plant stanols (great news for your cholesterol!).
Check out this great recipe https://www.seasonsandsuppers.ca/seeded-multigrain-sandwich-bread/
Do you enjoy a smooth and creamy peanut butter on your freshly baked bread? Well, while you are waiting for your bread to bake you could get to work on this nutritious pantry staple. It is literally as simple as getting peanuts (dry roasted, lightly salted) and placing them in a food processor for 5 minutes. You can try this same method with any nut of choice!
Homemade hummus is just as easily made as nut butters. Grab a tin of chickpeas, drain and rinse thoroughly. Place them in a blender with some garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Whiz together, adding additional water to get your desired consistency. Simple, quick and super nutritious!
Continuing the theme of blending ingredients together – try adding a bunch of basil, a handful of pine nuts, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, some parmesan cheese and lemon to a blender. Let that machine do its thing, add some salt and pepper to taste and you’ve got pesto. Toss that through your homemade pasta with some freshly cooked chicken and you’ve got a very simple, satisfying and nutritious meal.
While we are on the topic of simple, nutritious meals, let’s not forget about baked beans. Now I am not referring to the tasteless tinned variety you are used to. Oh no, I am talking about the type that uses fresh tomatoes, bacon, garden herbs and navy beans. You can batch cook and freeze this too, so you can heat up and serve with a slice of grained bread and an egg when you just can’t be bothered to cook. Flip to page 28 of your LifeShape Cookbook for a homemade baked beans recipe.