Whatever You Have Tomato/Pasta Sauce
As the Lunar new year is a fortnight away, I have been slowly clearing out my larder and other nooks and crannies that I stashed my dry and canned food. This is a good time to do this.The Chinese believe that we should clear out our house of rubbish so that there is space in the house to welcome the new LUCK that is coming our way. Like the culture here, we all believe that the new year will usher in good fortune. In fact I have been doing some of the throwing away before the new year.
I threw away some unused spices and replaced them with fresh ones, making sure that I only buy what I need, rather than buying all the spices that I need for the next 6 months. I am now buying smaller packets of spices, rather than larger packs that are very cheap, especially the ones in Asian supermarkets.
This is also the time to use up all the chocolate chips that I bought for my ‘next batch’ of brownies, which never happened. There are also walnuts, pistachios, flavourings, etc., Most of them are still within the ‘use by date’ so I am using that for my Chinese New Year cookies. On second thought, I actually bought the nuts for the new year!! Actually, this year has been quite good in that there were not that much food that has to be thrown away.
I have a few vegetables in the fridge like some halved onions, celery, carrots and half a butternut squash. Of course, there are always a fair bit of vegetables in the fridge as I like to cook from fresh. I went to the High Street last week and there were a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. The tomatoes were really cheap and I got a big bowl of cherry tomatoes for £1!! With that, I had the tomatoes for salad and some other dishes and it was way too much. So I decided to make it into a pasta sauce.
I first learned about the pasta sauce in the Love Food Hate class, and later in the cookery class in the Community House. So here is my take. You can use whatever vegetables that you like. In fact, in the community house, the recipe that we tried includes adding baked beans. I love baked beans, but not in pasta sauce.
Weight Watchers: 0 smart points. ( if using calorie controlled spray)
Here is the easy recipe. You can use whatever left-over vegetables that you have.
Whatever you have tomato/pasta sauce
Left over fresh tomatoes, de-seed and chop if the tomatoes are large.
1/2 Butternut squash – seeds removed and chopped
1 Broccoli stem ( yes, I do save the stems after eating the flowers!!!, Frugal me!!)
2 Stalks celery
2 Medium onions
3 Cloves garlic
2 Tins plum tomatoes
and whatever you have in your fridge, eg., cauliflower, potatoes, courgettes, etc.
Oil for cooking
Salt and black pepper to taste
Some sugar to taste, if necessary.
Herbs of your choice, eg, thyme, basil, rosemary, etc.
(I have thyme and rosemary in my garden so I do not have to buy them. I normally use dried basil and oregano.)
- Chop all the vegetables.
- In a large pan, saute the onions and garlic in some cooking oil ( 2-4 tbsp or use calorie controlled spray.) until soft. ( I use a spray).
- Add in all the other vegetables except the plum tomatoes and bring to the boil.
- Chop up the tomatoes by cutting them in the tin with a knife, be careful not to cut the tin itself. Pour the tomatoes into the pan and add 1 tin of water to the tins to rinse and then pour it into the pan. Give it a good stir and let it simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes. Stir the sauce frequently.
- When the sauce has thicken a bit and looks like the consistency of pasta sauce, season with salt and pepper. Add a teaspoon of sugar if the sauce is too sour.
- Remove from fire and let it cool.
- Pack into 200 ml or 250 ml packs, flatten the packs so that it will be easy to defrost.
- Label and freeze.
Here are some uses for the sauce:
I use it as a base for chicken.
- Pan fry some cubed chicken breast in some oil until lightly coloured. Flip over and fry the other side.
- Throw in some cubed sweet peppers and onions, Add in the sauce and stir well until the chicken is cooked – another 5 minutes or so.
- Plate up and garnish with chopped spring onions or coriander. Serve with rice, mash or pasta.
Pasta Bowl with Tiger Prawns
- Cook the Pasta according to the packet instructions.
- Spiralize a courgette and cut into manageable lengths. 3 minutes before the pasta is done, add in the courgette and continue to cook. Strain the pasta. In a large bowl, mix in the heated pasta sauce. Divide and place in a serving bowl(s).
- Slice 1 banana shallots and fry with some oil in a pan. Add in a chopped clove of garlic and continue to stir until the shallots is coloured.
- Add in the some raw tiger prawns and let it fry till coloured. Flip over and and repeat. Season with salt and pepper.
- Top the pasta with the prawns. Garnish with fresh basil or spring onions, grated cheese , etc.
- This dish tastes wonderful.
Pasta Bowl with Smoked Mackerel
- Prepare the pasta the same way as above.
- In a pan, fry 2 cloves of garlic and a banana shallot. When soft, add in 1 sliced fresh red sweet pepper. Stir fry for about a minute. Add in the tomato sauce and bring to the boil.
- Add in the pasta and stir. Dish up into bowls.
- Tear a fillet of smoked mackerel into pieces. ( 1 fillet per person ). Top on the pasta and garnish with mint.
The saltiness of the fish blends well with the sweet peppers and the sourish taste of the sauce cuts through the rich oily and smokey fish. The mint lend a refreshing taste.
Arrggghh…. it’s a good combination if you like mackerel.
I hope the above will give you some ideas on what to do with your left-overs. Do let me know how you go. I will be most pleased if you could share how you use left-overs and excess purchases.
Until the next post, please like and share so that I can continue to post.