Swotvac is that magical time when study might be taking priority over some other areas of your life. That’s very normal! But even if you haven’t made it outside in three days, let alone to a supermarket, that doesn’t mean you have to eat cereal for dinner.
I apologise in advance to the ghost of Julia Child and the nation of Italy. This is far from gourmet cooking, but these recipes are very easy, cheap, and you’ve probably got most of the ingredients on hand – which makes them quite handy for Swotvac. Note: this post assumes you have meat and/or veggies on hand as well as a few staples (herbs, oil etc).
Do you have pasta? Good, you’re having pasta for dinner. The following recipe is flexible and can use almost anything. You can make the sauce in a slow cooker (just put the liquid stuff and herbs in, cook until it looks good) or on the stove.
- First, take whatever’s in your fridge and cook it in a pan with oil and garlic. Chicken? Awesome, put it in the pan. Broccoli? Sure, that can go in. Got some zucchini? Throw it in. Just take whatever you want that needs cooking and sautee for a few minutes.
- While that’s cooking, get some pasta cooking in a separate pan.
- Take one or two tins of tomato, depending on how many meals you’re making. Empty tins into the saucepan with the now-cooked fridge-stuff.
- Rinse tins with a little bit of water or wine and add that liquid into the pan too.
- Now just season it however you like. Basil, oregano, chilli – whatever. Taste and adjust as you go.
- Go check on the pasta, it should be done soon.
- The sauce is done when it looks like sauce.
- Optional: Have another look in the fridge. Is there a half-empty jar of sun-dried tomatoes? Awesome, add some of those. Found some baby spinach? Good, turn the heat off and stir it through the sauce until it wilts.
- Drain pasta, mix it through the sauce, serve with some cheese if you’re into cheese.
2. What’s-in-the-fridge pita pizza
Making pizza dough isn’t that hard, but it can be pretty messy and we are aiming for the minimum possible effort here. So we’re going to use pita bread as a pizza base.
You will need:
- Pita bread, whatever size/type
- Some kind of sauce (pizza sauce, or tomato paste (add some basil and oregano, it’s the same thing), bbq etc).
- Literally any kind of cheese
- Whatever things you have in the fridge that could feasibly be eaten on pizza. Options include:
- That pumpkin that was on special but then the weather was too warm to make soup
- Kale from that one time you jumped on the bandwagon then realised you don’t know what to do with it
- Those mushrooms you keep forgetting to include in stuff
- The neglected jar of sun-dried tomatoes up the back
- Half a red onion from that time you made salad but realised you don’t like red onion quite that much
- That bunch of asparagus that’s on it’s last legs
- Pre-heat oven to 180.
- Prepare toppings (slice red onion, pumpkin etc).
- Poke a few holes in your pita bread with a fork. They can sometimes balloon a little bit if air has nowhere to escape
- Assemble pizza
- Cook pizza in the oven for about 10 minutes. You don’t even need to add it to a tray – just slide the pita straight onto the wire rack. You will need to keep an eye on it because the pita will go from perfect to burnt in about 90 seconds.
- Eat pizza. Feel joy.
3. Whatever-Vegetable Soup: Smooth Edition
Ok so soup is a bit of a winter food, but this is Melbourne. Soup is also really easy. A basic vegetable soup is just veggies + stock + seasoning.
All you’ve got to do is….
- Chop whatever veggies you want.
- Cook them in a large saucepan with until they’re getting soft (about 5 minutes). If they start sticking, just add a splash of water and turn down the heat a bit.
- Add enough stock to cover the veggies and add more later if it doesn’t look like enough
- Let it all cook until the veggies are really soft.
- Add whatever herbs and spices you want. Taste & adjust as you go.
- Turn the heat off and use a stick blender to make it all smooth.
- Add a splash of milk or cream if you want it to be creamy.
That’s it. Some good options for vegetables include pumpkin, potato, sweet potato, carrot, cauliflower, & whatever was on special at the supermarket.
4. Whatever-Vegetable Soup: Remix
If you’re feeling a bit more of a country-vegetable soup vibe or you don’t have a stick blender, try this version instead. You can make an easy veggie soup by following largely the same steps.
- Chop veggies
- Cook in saucepan until the colours are brighter
- Add stock
- Add a tin of tomatoes
- Add whatever herbs you want
- Let it simmer until you can easily put a fork through the firmest vegetable you added
5. Scrambled Eggs & Stuff
This last one is more of a breakfast food, but regular meal time rules don’t really apply in swotvac.
You will need:
- 2 eggs (use this trick if you’re not sure how fresh they are)
- Stuff to go with eggs (red onion, ham, zucchini, asparagus, capsicum, whatever)
- Salt & Pepper
- Sauce of some kind (tomato, sriracha etc)
- Chop your stuff
- Crack your eggs into a bowl and add a dash of water or milk, salt and pepper. Whisk well (with a fork if you don’t have a whisk)
- Add a bit of butter to a fry pan on a medium-high setting
- When the butter is bubbly, add your stuff and mix it around until it looks 90% done
- Add your egg mix and turn the heat to medium
- Once the eggs are firming and collecting a bit (30 seconds or so), start mixing everything together until the eggs are just cooked (this is very quick)
- Serve immediately with any of the optional bits you like.