A store cupboard treat

20130728-184846.jpgThis week I have felt slightly out of sorts in the kitchen. I haven’t felt particularly inspired. As I am watching my weight I tend to have the same kind of meals again and again: stir-fries with lots of veg, plainly cooked meat with vegetables, plus healthy meals I had previously made and frozen. They are tasty, nutritious and easy to cook, but have already been covered by previous posts in my blog, so you don’t need to read about them again today.

It’s all been a bit boring, and I decided that I needed to rediscover my cooking mojo this weekend. For that reason, I went to Chinatown with Andrew and drooled my way around the supermarket, buying too many different types of noodle along with sauces, spices, broths, sushi rice and wasabi, and other little goodies. My intention had been to cook some dishes this weekend with my new ingredients but I ended up stuck doing chores around the house and garden which ended in a Sunday morning and afternoon doing shuttle runs to and from the recycling centre. I won’t bore you with this mundanity any longer – it’s just to make clear my excuse for not cooking anything exciting for this week’s blog post.

I did make two lovely dishes though: one is going to be the subject of my Foodie Penpals post next week so I won’t spoil that here, and the other was a version of a dish I discovered in Cooking up a Storm – a book I reviewed for this very blog!

As the dish I am about to describe wasn’t actually planned, it ended up using various store cupboard staples, plus a couple of bits and pieces from the freezer. I did buy a piece of mozzarella on my way to get my bike serviced (see? thrilling weekend), but you could just as easily use whatever cheese you happen to have in the fridge.

So what did I make? Well, it was gnocchi with chorizo, spinach and tomatoes. And it was bloody lovely! For every element you could easily use an alternative, and even leave out a few ingredients if you don’t have them available. Gnocchi could be replaced by pasta; chorizo by chicken, ham or indeed nothing; fresh tomatoes by tinned; frozen spinach by broccoli or beans; other veg could be added depending on what you have (butternut squash, sweetcorn, peppers, onions, aubergine, courgette); herbs could be dried or fresh (or frozen in my case), and could be a combination of any, although I would avoid woody herbs like rosemary or thyme – oregano, sage, basil etc; the cheese on top could be any type – but even for dieters, I urge you to keep the cheese on top, as it does make a truly delicious topping!

20130728-184828.jpgStore cupboard gnocchi how I made it yesterday – serves 3-4

One 400g packet of gnocchi, a chorizo (mine was one of those raw horseshoe shaped ones), 5 ripe tomatoes, a large teaspoon of lazy garlic, a handful of frozen leaf spinach, one mozzarella ball, grated cheddar, some dried chilli, some frozen basil, salt and pepper

Put the chopped tomatoes, sliced chorizo, garlic, chilli flakes and herbs in a casserole dish and mix well. Season with salt and pepper and bake at 180 degrees for 20 minutes, stirring after 10 mins. In the meantime, cook the gnocchi according to the pack’s instructions. I put the frozen spinach in with the gnocchi to save on washing up. Drain the gnocchi and spinach and mix in with the baked tomato and chorizo mixture, then top with pieces of mozzarella and grated cheddar and bake for a further 10 minutes.

When you take it out of the oven it will be boiling hot so leave it for 5 minutes to cool slightly before serving. I served mine with garlic bread and a large salad, and it was superb! It tastes gorgeous the next day as well.

20130728-184857.jpgI hope to bring you a post next week based on some of the ingredients from my Asian supermarket sweep.

5 Replies to “A store cupboard treat”

  1. charlotte says: Reply

    thanks TK! i have a load of left over bits (baby courgettes, Gamon(?)) and some gnocchi in the fridge. I’m gonna make this in the week. I usually pan fry the tomatoes and veges and them bake in the oven for twenty minutes. I will try your casserole dish idea. x

    1. Sounds perfect Charlotte! Give the oven baking a try – for me it was to intensify the flavour of the tomatoes as I am not a fan of raw ones, but I didn’t want to use oil to fry them off, but it works really well. I think salty meat like gammon / chorizo etc works perfectly with this kind of dish as the gnocchi is relatively bland. It’s great just to chuck in a bit of what you have and you know everything tastes pretty fab with cheese melted on top šŸ™‚

  2. We had this a couple of days ago and it was a big hit all round. We’ve never tried gnocchi before so it was a new experience!! I oven roasted the chorizo, tomatoes, onion and whole garlic cloves, the oil that came out of the chorizo was all it needed! My green grocers didn’t have basil so went without and I left out the dried chilli flakes (little one not a fan) but was still really delicious and we will be having it again. Thanks for the recipe šŸ™‚ xxx

  3. Wow what mouth-watering ideas you have on here. Iā€™m particularly fond of spinach myself and am always looking for delicious yet healthful ideas. Check out this blog for a spectacular breakfast idea… http://68anda6pack.com/2013/06/25/the-turbocharged-popeye-breakfast/ … Tasty stuff that I now regularly use for my pre-workout meals. Just thought Iā€™d share. šŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Gerry – I’ll have to try that, although I have never got into eating just before a workout – still sounds like a delicious and healthy breakfast though.

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