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Nailed it! Quick, delicious recipes using pantry staples

Skip the trip to the supermarket and get cooking at home with these simple recipes using your kitchen staples.

Cooking doesn’t need to be a chore. Keep yourself happy and healthy by transforming everyday pantry staples with these delicious recipes.

Variety in what you eat can be a big part of staying positive and productive. Whether you’re cooking for one or feeding a family, getting creative in the kitchen is a great way to bring everyone together – plus it can help keep your brain active and entertained.

Interesting and enjoyable food doesn’t always mean a trip to the supermarket is necessary. With a bit of know-how, you can turn your everyday essentials into a range of tasty meals and sweet treats – travelling no further than the kitchen cupboard.

Breakfast, anyone?

Closeup of Shakshuka


Eggs are the heroes of this simple, healthy breakfast dish, surrounded by rich tomato, onion and capsicum sauce.

You’ll need…

  • 1 brown onion, thickly sliced
  • 500g of capsicum, deseeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 x 400g cans of diced tomatoes
  • 4 free-range eggs
  • ½ cup Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

Let’s get cooking…

Step 1: Place a large, non-stick frying pan on medium-high heat. Add onions and capsicum and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until onion is soft.

Step 2: Add tomatoes, stirring for another 5 minutes, or until mixture boils and thickens slightly.

Step 3: Create 4 large indents in the tomato mixture with the back of a spoon. Crack an egg into each, then reduce heat to low. Partially cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes, or until the eggs are how you like. Serve, sprinkled with parsley. Add some lightly toasted bread for dipping – delicious!


Baked Avo Eggs

Sunday morning brunch at your favourite café comes home, with quick, easy eggs in an avocado cup.

You’ll need…

  • 2 avocados, halved
  • 130g cherry tomatoes
  • 4 small eggs
  • 2 rashers of bacon (leave out for vegos)
  • 4 slices of sourdough bread
  • Butter, to serve
  • Sriracha or tomato sauce, to serve
  • Fresh chives, chopped, to serve

Let’s get cooking…

Step 1: Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced). Line a large ovenproof chargrill pan with baking paper and place over high heat. While heating, crack 1 egg into a small dish and set aside.

Step 2: Spray avocado with oil, then chargrill with cut-side down for 3 minutes or until charred. Turn, then pour the egg into the avocado half’s cavity. Repeat this step with your remaining avocado halves.

Step 3: Add the tomatoes, bread and bacon (if you’re not looking for the vegetarian option) to the pan, then bake in the oven for 5 minutes. Turn bacon and bread halfway. When the eggs are set (and bacon is crisp), remove from oven and serve topped with sauce and sprinkled with chives.


Let’s do lunch

Tuna Salad Sandwiches

Take a break from the home office and whip up a filling lunch to get the whole house through the afternoon.

You’ll need…

  • 2 x 140g cans of tuna
  • ¼ cup of mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp sweet relish
  • 2 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp capers
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 8 slices sandwich bread, lightly toasted
  • Fresh tomato and lettuce (optional)

Let’s get cooking…

Step 1: In a bowl, break up tuna with a fork and add mayonnaise, parsley, relish, mustard and capers. Stir to combine, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.

Step 2: To construct, put lettuce and sliced tomato (if you like) on your bread. Top with a generous portion of tuna and close with another slice of bread. Cut in half, serve, and enjoy.


Sun-dried Tomato Pasta Salad

Prefer to make your lunches in batches at the start of the week? This healthy but filling salad has you covered.

You’ll need…

  • 12 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp capers, drained
  • Salt, to taste
  • ¾ tsp ground black pepper
  • 250g small pasta (e.g. orecchiette)
  • 250g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 250g mozzarella, medium diced
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 cup basil leaves

(Scale up or down depending how much you’d like to make)

Let’s get cooking…

Step 1: Add half the sun-dried tomatoes, all the vinegar, olive oil, garlic, capers, 2 tsp of salt, and pepper to your blender, and process until almost smooth.

Step 2: Cook the pasta according to instructions on the pack. Drain well, then toss with dressing in a large bowl. Meanwhile, mince the remaining sundried tomatoes.

Step 3: Add the tomatoes, cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and basil to the salad, and toss evenly. Season to taste with salt. Put in the fridge, or enjoy straight away at room temperature.


Keeping dinner fresh

Chickpea Tikka Masala

Rich, hearty and tasty, this vegan curry will keep everyone at home happy and warm as the evenings get colder.

You’ll need…

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 x 5cm piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Garam Masala
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 x 425g cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 x 420g cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 x 400ml can coconut milk
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly chopped coriander leaves

Let’s get cooking…

Step 1: Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions, a pinch of salt, and sauté for 6 minutes or until see-through, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook for a minute.

Step 2: Add ginger and your spices, and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Now add chickpeas and diced tomatoes, bring to boil, then lower to a simmer for 15 minutes. Then, stir in coconut milk and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Step 3: In a small bowl, whisk corn starch with 2 tbsp of water. Stir this into the chickpea mixture and continue cooking for 5 minutes until the curry has thickened, tasting and seasoning if needed. Remove from heat, sprinkle with coriander leaves and serve with rice.


Spicy Tuna Spaghetti Ragout

Combine tinned tuna and pasta to create a tasty seafood masterpiece that’s ready for the table in just ten minutes.

You’ll need…

  • ¼ cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 chilli, dried and roughly chopped
  • 75g baby capers, rinsed
  • 2 tbsp parsley stalks, finely chopped
  • 500g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2/3 cup (160ml) white wine
  • 4 x 125g tuna tins, drained
  • 400g spaghetti

Let’s get cooking…

Step 1: Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, chilli capers and parsley stalks, then cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for a further 1 minute, until slightly softened.

Step 2: Pour in the wine and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until reduced by half. Add the tuna and break up with a fork, then remove from heat and season to taste.

Step 3: Meanwhile, cook the pasta to instructions on the pack. Drain, saving 1/3 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta and cooking water to the sauce and stir. Serve hot with parsley leaves and cracked pepper for added flavour.


Bake it till you make it

Closeup of a pineapple carrot cake

Pineapple Carrot Cake

If you’re a keen baker, reward yourself for a hard day’s work from home with a slice of this amazing cake.

You’ll need…

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup raw sugar
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • ½ x 440g can crushed pineapple in juice, drained
  • ¼ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup sultanas
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 tbsp vegetable oil

For the icing…

  • 125g cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tsp lemon rind, finely grated
  • 1½ cups icing sugar mixture

Let’s get cooking…

Step 1: Preheat oven to 180°C (150°C fan-forced). Grease a 6cm-deep, 20cm round cake pan. Line base and side with baking paper.

Step 2: Sift flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and cinnamon into a large bowl. Stir in raw sugar, carrot, pineapple, walnuts and sultanas, then create a well in the centre. Whisk eggs and oil in a jug, pour into the well, stirring to combine, and pour the mix into prepared pan.

Step 3: Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake’s centre comes out clean. Stand the cake in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn top-side up onto a baking paper-lined wire rack. Let cool completely.

Step 4: Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and lemon rind until smooth. Gradually add icing sugar, beating well. Spread icing on top of the cake, and decorate with walnut pieces to serve.


Nicely Iced Shortbread Slice

A catchy name and a simple, tasty treat to get the kids cooking with you.

You’ll need…

  • 150g butter, chopped, room temperature
  • 1 cup (215g) caster sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (300g) plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup (160g) raspberry jam

For the icing…

  • 1½ cups (230g) icing sugar mixture\
  • 25g butter, room temperature
  • 1½ tbsp boiling water
  • Pink food colouring

Let’s get cooking…

Step 1: Preheat oven to 170°C (150°C fan-forced). Spray a square cake pan with oil and line with baking paper, allowing the paper to hang over the sides. Spray paper with oil, then line with another sheet.

Step 2: Beat butter and sugar until pale and creamy, then add egg yolks and vanilla and beat until combined. Sift in the flour and baking powder. Use a flat-bladed knife to mix until the mixture comes together. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and divide into two equal halves.

Step 3: Place half the dough in your prepared pan and press to cover the base evenly. Spread jam over the dough, then roll the remaining pastry into a 20cm square (if the dough is too soft, chill until it’s easier to work with). Place the pastry over the jam and gently press into shape.

Step 4: Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden. Allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then use the baking paper to lift the shortbread from the pan to a wire rack. Remove paper and set aside to cool.

Step 5: Sift icing sugar into a bowl, then add butter on one side. Pour 1 tbsp of boiling water over the butter and stir until melted and icing is smooth, adding more boiling water 1 tsp at a time, to make a spreadable consistency. Add 1-2 drops of food colouring and stir until combined.

Step 6: Spread icing over the shortbread, then while the icing is wet, dip a fork in hot water, dry it, and run it across the icing to make lines. Set the shortbread aside for 1 hour or until set, then cut into shapes and enjoy.



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