Parallel cooking (with recipe for spinach sauce)

Last night I had a bit of a cooking binge and it actually worked out (well, apart from the giant mess needing cleaned up this morning). Usually when I try to do too much at once, something goes wrong, as evidenced by the blisters on my fingers and thumb from Monday.
Simultaneous cooking was achieved of:
1) gammon joint
2) cooked in a soup
while also making 3) tomato and spinach sauce for pasta
and 4) roast courgettes
and 5) starting off the breadmaker (classic white loaf)

Busy stovetop

At the time I started, I didn’t really think about the fridge space issue, so it’s a good thing that fridge supplies are (were) fairly lean at the moment!

The gammon and the soup look fantastic, but I’m not tempting fate by posting too much about them until I’ve tried them. The soup was more or less my own creation, so I’ll post it here if it works, just to remind myself of the “recipe”.

The tomato and spinach sauce was referenced in my post about my cooking history – it’s a student cookbook recipe that has evolved into a standard whenever I have spinach to use up (this time I’d bought spinach leaves to “garnish” my sweet potato soup so I had plenty left). I do an even easier version than the cookbook, which is saying something:

A whole bag of spinach feeds about 4 people. It’s easily halved if you only have half the spinach left.

Pour 2 cans (or tetrapaks) of chopped tomatoes into a pan and heat.
Add a decent shake of dried onion
About a third of a teaspoon of lazy (pre-chopped) garlic
A quarter of a teaspoon of lazy (pre-chopped) chilli
A couple of teaspoons of honey
Cook all together for 15-20 minutes.
Then add a bag of spinach (stalks removed if it’s normal spinach not baby spinach) and cook till spinach fully wilted.

For such a trivial recipe, it’s extremely tasty. If I can be bothered, I make it up into a pasta bake with some brie on top, but usually just eat it as it is with pasta.

Although I pride myself on being a from-scratch cook, there’s definitely a few corners I am perfectly happy to cut, and this recipe demonstrates all of them! Dried onion is a miracle product if you’re just looking to add a bit of taste and can’t be bothered with chopping. I don’t use a whole lot of garlic and chilli so the pre-chopped stuff is nice and easy and avoids waste.

What labour-saving products do you use in the kitchen? I know Nigella admits to pre-chopped vegetables which I tend to think is a step too far…

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