If you’re like me you might have a few creative shortcomings when it comes to planning a decent meal. I have spent more time that I’d like to see in writing standing in my kitchen oscillating between cupboard and refrigerator trying to build a meal with random ingredients. And I won’t tell you how many times I’ve settled on pasta aglio olio for sustenance. Inspiration is easy when I’m strolling down the fresh produce aisles at Whole Foods (whole pay check) but before long those overpriced fruits and vegetables start producing penicillin in the back of my fridge. I’m trying to work within my unemployment budget and avoid defaulting on my student loans so stretching a dollar is important. I also spend so much of my energy searching for easy recipes on Food Network or AllRecipe that by the time I actually eat the slop I managed to put together–I’m exhausted and OVER IT.
I found this great website called Supercook that shows members, “how to waste less food, how to use up perishable or seasonal ingredients, how to keep track of everything in the kitchen, how to save time and money.” It is basically a virtual pantry that links to all of the online recipe content.
Let’s say you just picked up some gorgeous scallops from the tall-dark-dreamy fish monger at your local farmer’s market–you can select a main ingredient from your to work around and Supercook will list available recipes found online using what you have in your “pantry” (less random searching.) The recipes listed are not shady, they’re from reputable sources like Food Network and Martha Stewart. You can also filter the recipe results by starters, entrees and desserts AND you can list exclusions for recipes to eliminate certain foods like dairy, meat, shellfish, gluten or nuts depending on your current dietary restrictions. It will indicate that “you have everything you need for this recipe” or list missing ingredients for certain recipes as a shopping guide. I literally take my laptop into the kitchen and list ALL of the ingredients I have. Yes, even the baking soda and sea salt.
- 1 pound pasta
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 medium tomatoes (about 2 pounds) cored and torn into 3/4-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup coarsely torn basil leaves, plus more for garnish
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons coarsely torn oregano leaves
- 4 medium cloves garlic, smashed
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
- 1/4 pound fresh mozzarella, torn into 1/2-inch pieces (optional)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and
cook until al dente, according to package directions.
- While pasta is cooking, in a large bowl, combine tomatoes, basil, olive oil, oregano, garlic, and red-pepper flakes; season with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature up to 8 hours.
- Drain spaghetti in a colander and add to tomato mixture. Add mozzarella and toss to combine. Garnish with basil and serve immediately.