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The secret to whipping up a real dinner without the soul-draining grocery trip

I’m a Florida native into all things food and wine related. I love dogs, cooking, comedy and Chicago sports — especially baseball — and my spirit animal is Ina Garten.

Oh this? I just whipped up this high-protein yummy dinner with stuff I had around the kitchen.

Let's face it: Cookbooks have become luxury items, with their gorgeous, hard covers and all the space they take up on your shelves, their lavish photography, their hefty price tags. Why buy when you can choose from millions of free recipes on the internet? These days, a smart cookbook offers something more than recipes, and The Kitchen Shelf is one of them.

The Kitchen Shelf is organized around 10 pantry essentials: chickpeas, rice, tomatoes, flour, peanut butter, eggs, pasta, coconut milk, chocolate and milk. And then the book includes a list of shelf essentials we should all have composed of spices, condiments and cooking oils.

More: The ultimate pantry list that will get dinner made night after night

There's a chapter for each pantry essential. And each recipe includes that pantry ingredient, one or more shelf ingredients and just two ingredients from the store. The idea is, if you've got a properly stocked kitchen, a good meal is as easy as grabbing a couple things from the market on your way home from work.

Want a peek inside? Here's a recipe from the chickpeas chapter: smashed chickpeas, crispy prosciutto and perfect poached eggs. P.S. Now you have an excuse to try out that aquafaba business everyone's been talking about.

More: 20 magical aquafaba recipes that defy our expectations

Oh this? I just whipped up this high-protein yummy dinner with stuff I had around the kitchen.

Image: Julie Hasting

Smashed chickpeas, crispy prosciutto and perfect poached eggs

Adapted from The Kitchen Shelf by Eve O’Sullivan and Rosie Reynolds (Phaidon, $40, May 2016)

Serves 4

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 15 minutes | Total time: 25 minutes

Tip: Smashed chickpeas are also delicious served with nachos or carrot sticks as a healthy snack and are a brilliant alternative to store-bought hummus.


From the store:

  • Flat-leaf parsley
  • Prosciutto (Parma ham)

Pantry and shelf essentials:

  • 2 (15-ounce/400-gram) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • Handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 8 slices prosciutto (Parma ham)
  • 4 tablespoons white wine vinegar, for cooking
  • 4 eggs, the freshest you can get
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Put the chickpeas, oil and garlic into a bowl, and mash with a fork until the chickpeas are as smooth as you like. Stir in the parsley and plenty of salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • Heat a skillet (frying pan) over high heat. When hot, add the prosciutto (Parma ham), and cook for 2 – 3 minutes, turning halfway through, until crispy and golden. Remove from the heat, and keep warm.
  • To poach your eggs, bring a large pan of water to a boil. Pour about 1 tablespoon of vinegar into a small glass or ramekin, swirl the vinegar around the glass to coat the sides, then pour out the excess, and discard. Crack an egg into the glass. Stir the boiling water to create a whirlpool, drop the egg into the center, and cook for 3 minutes (for a runny yolk). Remove the egg with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels, and keep warm while you cook the remaining eggs.
  • To serve, pile a generous amount of smashed chickpeas onto a plate, top with a couple of pieces of crispy prosciutto and a poached egg, drizzle with olive oil, and season with black pepper.

More: Aquafaba: 15 things you need to know about the vegan egg replacement

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