Where two eat four. Tips for stretching meals


How many times have we not found ourselves in the unpleasant situation of having to have another diner when we had planned to make a simple meal for few people. However, a few ingredients from the pantry and a little imagination can turn a meal for two into a delicious impromptu menu for four, and that's where two eat four.

Diced or minced meat dishes are easily stretched to satisfy a few more stomachs, just by adding greens, greens, fried bacon, rice or pasta. More difficult to lengthen are meals designed with a portion of meat or fish for each. For these types of emergencies, you need to have a few ingredients in the pantry.

The fundamental thing to get out of an emergency situation like the one that I propose to you, is to have an ingredient that becomes a quick first course and then look for another that completes the main course, ending with a fruit dessert that does not require too much preparation. Let's see how to get it.

First courses

If we have something with which to make a substantial first course, then the shortage of meat or fish will be less noticeable in the second. Cans of carrots, peas or stewed beans are almost essential. A quick pass through the blender, a little broth or half a tablet with some water, some herbs, a few tablespoons of cream, and we have a magnificent soup.

Frozen spicanas or cauliflower are also great for improvising soups. We can make butter with garlic or fine herbs and serve the soup with garlic bread or with herbs. Italian pasta also makes for quick and filling first courses. We can serve it in the simplest way, that is, stirred with olive oil and crushed garlic or, for example, alla carbonara, with bacon and egg.

We can also puree a can of tomato, mix it with cream and a good pinch of basil and make a wonderful flavored tomato soup. If we buy some green noodles and keep them in the pantry with a can of peeled prawns, when we need them, we just have to boil them and sauté the prawns with a little butter, we add cream and we will have a delicious sauce for the pasta.

Canned peppers, drained and scrambled with canned anchovies, dressed with olive oil and plenty of black pepper, served with bread and butter, are an unusual but appetizing first course.

And let's not forget the eggs: an omelette with some herbs, or some baked eggs washed down with cream are delicious starters. We can also cook some eggs, cover them with mayonnaise and top them with a cappuccino substitute to achieve an impressive appearance. Or with a can of tuna we can make a salad of hard-boiled egg and tuna, garnished with a substitute for caviar and served on a bed of onion rings.

Main dishes

It's the most problematic thing on the menu, but with a little imagination you can stretch your food portions. Fish offers the least problem: we can make a fish patty with a sheet of frozen puff pastry, or a salad adding rice and onion. If we have a can of tuna, salmon, prawns, crab or sardines, we can add it to the salad to lengthen the dish.

We can use the oil from the sardines to dress a can of green beans and accompany the fish recipe. Whole fish, such as trout, can be opened and covered with a filling and a good sauce, to later make smaller portions.

Pork chops are not as troublesome as they may seem. We remove the bone, and cut the meat into cubes to make skewers or a curry with rice. We can also cook the pork with garlic and coriander in milk and serve it with some sauteed potatoes.

Chicken breasts are not a problem either. If we chop the meat, combining it with fried onion, mushrooms and a little bechamel, we have a great filling for a puff pastry cake or some cakes that we can accompany with a little more bechamel. We can also use this mixture as a filling for onions, tomatoes, crepes or tortillas.

If we have some fillets or sirloins, we can cut them in half to make smaller fillets or lengthwise to get finer sirloins. We make a pepper sauce and serve them with mashed potatoes. We can also roll them on a liver pate and make a sauce enriched with wine and add some minced olives or capers. Another idea is to toast the steaks on the grill from the oven, covered in breadcrumbs mixed with grated cheese.


Cans of fruits, such as raspberries, blackberries, apricots, plums, pineapple, or peaches, make delicious desserts. The cream is invaluable in these cases of trouble. We can mount it with a little ground sugar and flavor it with some liquor, such as brandy or whiskey, and cover the fruit with it. A combination of fruit in syrup and fresh fruit (whatever we have at home) will always be more creative than if we just open a can.

Baked apples, oranges and plums with cream are also a delicious dessert. Canned peaches, drained and warmed with caramelised syrup, are incomparably better than fresh out of the can. The toppings based on biscuit crumbs, cookies or corn-flakes are also an excellent presentation.

I hope you use my advice to stretch our meals. If you put them into practice you will see how it is true that where two eat they eat four. I'm sure you also have your own tricks to get the ingredients to stretch if an unforeseen diner shows up at your table. If so, I hope you share them with us.

Photos | rofi, www.WorthTheWhisk.com, rofi, www.theedinburghblog.co.uk, rofi, www.WorthTheWhisk.com and Silverman68
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Tags:  Desserts Recipes Selection 

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