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ERIN SULLEY: Taking the cupboard challenge

There you have it! One pot wonder to the rescue. – Paul Pickett photo
There you have it! One pot wonder to the rescue. – Paul Pickett photo - Saltwire

How are you all doing? There’s no doubt, we live in different time. Even in foodie land.

I placed an online order for groceries this week. A service I use for convenience. However, given our current situation of physical distancing it’s now become much more than convenient. What I didn’t realize is that when I placed it, I thought it was for same day pick up. When I called them to say I’m on my way, they said they didn’t have my order listed.

Long story short, the order I placed was for pick up two days later. At first, I was a little irritated, but that lasted for all of ten seconds. I quickly realized it was because they’re flat out with online orders. It was at that point I wasn’t bothered at all by having to wait two days to get my groceries.

Why? Because that meant more people across our province were practicing their physical distancing. Meaning, taking the guidelines of staying away from others as best they can as we all play our part in preventing the spread of COVID-19 to others in our beloved Newfoundland and Labrador.

But, that meant I had to adjust my column for this week, given the ingredients of my initial idea were on my online grocery order.

At that moment, I had a light bulb moment. I wasn’t placing my order because I was completely out of stock. I had dribs and drabs of stuff in my fridge and cupboards.

Come to think of it, has kinda become a specialty for me over the years.

When raiding the cupboard, use your imagination and think of what flavours you’d like to pull together. – Erin Sulley photo
When raiding the cupboard, use your imagination and think of what flavours you’d like to pull together. – Erin Sulley photo

I used to hoard groceries. Having more than enough food had been a priority in my house as an adult. I think it started as a mental thing, as I grew up in a single parent home with our family being on a very tight budget. The idea of not having enough was scary. I think a lot of you reading this can relate.

Once I realized this, I started to change my ways and only buy what was necessary as I realized my grocery bill was a lot bigger than necessary.

“Cooking well doesn’t mean cooking fancy.” - Uknown

Times like this, force you to think outside the box. You may not be able to eat like you normally do or make the typical recipes. But, adjusting isn’t a bad thing. Think of it as a teachable moment - a new way to experiment with the food you have in your cupboard and working with what you have on hand.

About a year ago now, I did a column called, “One Pan Wonders” https://www.thetelegram.com/lifestyles/erin-sulley-one-pan-wonders-315546/. This week, we’re going to delve into one-pan pasta together.

Give me a sec. Time to raid my fridge and cupboards.

OK, I have spaghetti noodles, tomatoes, sausage, parmesan cheese, Thai chili sauce, onion, garlic and dried basil. Just have to add water.

That might just do the trick.

This is a 15-minute meal – for real. – Erin Sulley photo
This is a 15-minute meal – for real. – Erin Sulley photo

“A recipe has no soul. You, as the cook, must bring soul to the recipe.” – Thomas Keller

Listen up, because this will go by really quick. You start by putting all of your ingredients in the pan. That’s right, all at once. Bring it to a boil while stirring frequently. Once the pasta is cooked to your liking, and the water has pretty well evaporated, you can season it with salt and pepper and serve it up.

The only item I didn’t put in right away is the parmesan cheese. I saved this for last to sprinkle on top of the dish.

I didn’t measure my ingredients, sorry. The main thing I wanted to keep in mind was the amount of pasta vs water because the result is supposed to be a pasta, not soup. I used twelve ounces of pasta and four and a half cups of water.

Google one-pan pasta or one-pot pasta and you should see a number of recipes pop up.

When serving food to your family, please remember to keep the importance of food safety and food hygiene in mind.

Wash your food, wash your hands and don’t share utensils or plates. Don’t eat from the same dish, even to sneak in a taste.

Keep calm and cook on my foodie friends.

Erin Sulley is a self-confessed foodie who lives in Mount Pearl. Email erinmsulley@gmail.comTwitter: @ErinSulley Instagram: @erinsulley

Top it off with a little parm and a sprig of basil and you’re all set! – Erin Sulley photo
Top it off with a little parm and a sprig of basil and you’re all set! – Erin Sulley photo

 

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