Got This? But Not That? It’s Okay!


By: Nikki Nies

If you’re interested in whipping up a spur of the moment meal, but don’t have a key ingredient, have no fear.  You may have to change your initial meal, if you don’t have specific ingredients on hand, but experimenting’s fun, right?

Ingredients Alternative Uses for Ingredients and/or Substitutions
Tomato Sauce
  • Stack it with sliced eggplant and mozzarrella  cheese
  • Sear chicken breast, poach it in sauce and shave Parmesan
  • Mix with canned chipotle chiles, garlic and cilnatro and transform it into huevos rancheros
Ramen Noodles
  • Add in miso pasta, chili bean sauce, thai curry pasta, Japanese curry powder, fish sauce, harrisa, vinegar and/or ponzu for an easy elevation
  • Spices: white pepper, Sichuan pepper, chili flakes, cinnamon sticks, coriandor, star anise to simmering broth
  • Fats: toasted sesame oil, chili oil, pork fat, duck fat and/or chicken fat
  • Citrus juices: a quick squeeze prior to serving can bring out a lot of awesome flavors quickly
  • Add in veggies: baby spinach, romaine lettuce, bean sprouts, sliced cabbage, watercress, scallions, broccoli, cauliflower, snap peas, snow peas, shredded carrots, corn
  • Eggs:hard boiled eggs, soft boiled eggs, poached eggs, egg drop method—which creates small curds of egg blossoms that float in broth and coat noodles
  • Add lemon juice
  • Flurry of smoked paprika
  • Dash of sea salt or olive oil
  • Add to toast
  • Cook with hot cottage cheese and place in microwave
  • If onions are chopped small and simmered in olive oil or butter to caramelize
  • Use instead frozen puff pastry
Hot Sauce
  • Use instead chipotle chiles by blitzing it

It’s very easy to use staple ingredients for repeated meals, however, out of the box uses for tomato sauce can provide a new wave of flavors and perhaps introduce a new


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