Clearing out the freezer & cupboards challenge

(245 Posts)
jenduck Sun 20-Jan-13 10:56:43

So, I am having a very expensive month (car failed MOT, cat got in another fight, birthdays etc) & it has struck me that I have 2 freezers & an understairs cupboard full to bursting with food that needs to be eaten! So, I am challenging myself to see how long I can go without buying anything (other than basics)

Who would like to join me? We could perhaps give each other inspiration for recipes for the random ingredients that we find?

Tonight's dinner is Fray Bentos pie (blush but yummy!) with mash, veg from freezer & gravy - warming, delicious & easy on a day like today!

Ugh to pie (but my dp would probably like to come to your house for tea!).

Thinking off the top of my head, I could probably rustle up the following from what I have -

roast potatoes, veggie sausages, savoy cabbage, Yorkshire puddings, carrots - today's dinner

dahl and basmati with a cucumber minty salad

veggie chilli and either rice, homemade wedges or homemade flatbreads

chickpea curry and homemade flatbreads or rice

a leek and potato bake

lentil soup

pancakes and berries

cheese on toast

rice pudding and or/bread and butter pudding

apple crumble or pie and custard or baked apples

Lots of porridge

Probably a few more random things that don't go together v well.

I would need to buy onions, bread and milk.

I using the snow as an excuse not to go shopping and eating whats in the freezer.

Today we having Roast Lamb (what was leftover from we had on new years day).

The freezer needs defrosting anyway so we going for an odds and sods week/fortnight.

Mum2Fergus Sun 20-Jan-13 13:59:46

Im with you Jen...move house soon so saving pennies and dont want to be carting loads of food with me! Sooo, stewing steak in slow cooker, puff pastry and sprouts from freezer and potatoes and carrots from veg drawer...left over profiteroles from yesterday and ice cream/cream for dessert. Off to raid freezer/cupboards for tomorrow...back to let you know what I can rustle up!

drinkyourmilk Sun 20-Jan-13 14:04:42

After reading your post I had a quick look in the freezer. We have two lamb shanks, a ton of king prawns and duck breasts! We are going to be eating like kings this week smile
Of course tonight we are having the chicken kievs, because I love 'em

Mum2Fergus Sun 20-Jan-13 14:10:27

Ok, Mon will be fish/scampi and chips, Tue Pasta n Sauce with some chicken...need to shop for bread a milk tomorrow. Ive 2 onions and a red pepper need using soon...thinking caps on!

HearMyRoar Sun 20-Jan-13 14:12:30

Hello, would you mind terribly if I joined but with a slight amendment. I don't mind buying stuff if needed but really want to avoid throwing away any food. So trying to use up odds and ends before they go bad and save all left overs no matter how small.

Today I've got some left over pastry from a quiche I made yesterday that I'm going to make some tarts with using some nectarines that are on the turn.

I'm also going to start a veg stock bag in the freezer for veg ends and slightly manky bits I would usually chuck. We're having pheasant for dinner so the bones from that will go in my meat

Gosh, I'm super excited about this thread. Good shout jen ! grin

CrazyOldCatLady Sun 20-Jan-13 14:17:34

I started this on the 1st of January. We haven't bought any food since then other than milk and bread. I think we could keep going till about halfway through February, though I'm starting to crack at this stage - I miss fresh fruit and veg!

It's freezer surprise tonight - I defrosted it for lunch on Friday thinking it was soup, but it appears to be some sort of beef and mushroom tomato-based casserole. I think.

It's my birthday on Wednesday so I think I'll go mad and get a takeaway, and some grapes for dessert.

Mum2Fergus Sun 20-Jan-13 14:19:15

Pheasant and quiche Roar...Im now thoroughly embarassed by my scampi and pasta sauce efforts lol

I happened to watch a Sky+d programme this morning, What A Waste...nice timing for this thread following that. Ive cut down on a lot of waste by getting my portion control better ...

jenduck Sun 20-Jan-13 14:32:15

Ooh, glad this thread is gathering speed! Mum2 I think my Fray Bentos pie is still the most blush offering!

Right. Have been clearing out the understairs cupboard of doom and found some dried chickpeas, so think I will try & make hummous. Am a hummous virgin, so any tips there gratefully accepted. Also have 1.5 boxes of Paxo sage & onion stuffing, so need to think of what to do with that (not stuffing fans hmm)

Bows to CrazyCatLady seriously impressed!

HearMyRoar Sun 20-Jan-13 15:02:01

Humus is one of my cooking failures. I know in theory it is really simple but no matter how much I try I just can't get it right. Dp valiantly put up with my efforts for months until cracking and politely suggesting we just buy it. Bless him grin

So I am also all ears if anyone has any magic tips on humous making.

northender Sun 20-Jan-13 15:35:12

I did my cupboard clear out a couple of weeks ago. I rescued manky looking dried apricots and prunes, soaked them in tea and used them instead of sultanas and currants in a tea bread recipe. The tea breads are now in the freezer.
jen I found dried chickpeas too, mine were very out of date blush. After extensive research (including an American "survivalist" site grin) I soaked them overnight, then cooked them in the slow cooker for several hours, then drained and froze them to be used in stews, casseroles etc. I've had mixed results with home made hummus, dh loves it, I'm not so sure.

So I think my priority is to make sure these things don't languish in the freezer now grin.

Loquace Sun 20-Jan-13 15:38:19

I think this kight be a good place to ask, is there and app or website where you can put in what you have got in the house and then it spits out meal suggestions ?

I've tried one or two claiming to do that, but the answers seem to be "what you have got, plus nineteen million extra ingrediants that you DON'T have", thus defeating the point a bit.

Is there anything out there that really sticks to what you do have ?

HearMyRoar Sun 20-Jan-13 18:28:59

Not heard of av decent one loquace, have you tried just putting them in Google with recipe and seeing what comes up. In fact I might try it now...

HearMyRoar Sun 20-Jan-13 18:34:36

I just tried searching 'chicken, aubergine, celeriac recipe' and got some pretty good suggestions. I'm actually rather impressed as I thought it was a reasonably random selection.

jenduck Sun 20-Jan-13 20:11:16

Well, dinner tonight was a hit, just right for this weather smile

For tomorrow I have found some meatballs in the freezer, so will do these with pasta & tinned toms from the cupboard. May have to buy some cheese to grate on top, though.

Have also found some broccoli in the freezer & have Stilton in the fridge so will make soup for lunch tomorrow. Yummy smile

Loquace have you tried lovefoodhatewaste?

rainbowsprite1 Sun 20-Jan-13 23:53:40

something you all might find useful if you find a pack of dried pulses. Cook the whole pack and then freeze in portions. it is a much cheaper way of doing it. 1 tin costs nearly a pound, I have found a pack that costs the same does 4 portions. we regularly have meals that are bulked out with whatever frozen "beans" I find at the bottom of the freezer

rainbowsprite1 Sun 20-Jan-13 23:54:21

* by portions I meant you get 4 tins worth

We are having spag bog from freezer (made last Oct.)

CrazyOldCatLady Mon 21-Jan-13 12:29:46

Last night's dinner turned out to be a curry, and very tasty it was too : )

Tonight it's a sort of pork hotpot thing, made from pork shoulder pieces from the freezer, some spuds (we had a huge sack to get through so still haven't found the bottom!), and apple juice, chicken stock, mustard, sage, fennel, and some flour to thicken it. It's all bubbling away in the slow cooker while we're in work but I have high hopes. It should feed us tomorrow as well, and I've green beans in the freezer which should go nicely with it.

Soup for lunch today, it's beef and veg made from leftover christmas spiced beef so it's very warming, perfect for the weather!

multitask Mon 21-Jan-13 15:13:37
Loquace Mon 21-Jan-13 17:14:48


It works, it works!

Loads of options with a 100% of what I have got.grin


<goes on hunt for mathcing app>

HearMyRoar Mon 21-Jan-13 19:19:40

Left over quiche and potatoes for lunch. I put mince bulked out with tomatoes, lentils and pearl barley in the slow cooker this morning before work so just cooked up some rice to go with it when I got in.

Tomorrow will be some of the mince with some sauce added for spaghetti. Tuesday is the day both me and dp are at work so I need something super quick.

alemci Mon 21-Jan-13 19:30:25

sounds excellent idea. Had roast pork last night, tonight cold with chips and beans.

Not driving 'cos of weather so it may save a bit of money buying bits and pieces.

Aethelfleda Mon 21-Jan-13 19:30:30

Watching with interest! We are hoping to move next month and one of the many jobs on the to-do list is to eat up cupboard and freezer stuff so that we're not paying movers to transport 99 tins of beans. It's also worth saving some cash in the run-up to the hideous expense of moving!!
It's odd (We started this after Christmas) as I'm so used to having a super-stocked cupboard, I often bulk-buy and cook all manner of stuff...
Not replacing the stocks is so weird!

MrsJamin Mon 21-Jan-13 19:58:35

Like this idea for a thread. Putting house on the market this week so a good idea to keep cupboards and freezer contents to a minimum. I like this idea of having a frozen veg stock though, what do you do, just chuck in cooked veg a little bit at a time then make it into soup?

Haven't bought any meat this week so I can go through what's in the freezer. Should be enlightening.

jenduck Tue 22-Jan-13 09:42:32

Dinner last night was good, only bought a block of cheese to grate on top & that should last all week. Also made broccoli & Stilton soup with ingredients which were, quite frankly, past their best & would have previously been thrown away, so pleased with that. DS1 was not keen on the soup, but DS2 (21mo) loved it!

Have a tub of homemade chicken soup for lunch. Cheating a bit for dinner as Dmum is looking after the DSes whilst I am at work, and she always makes us a dinner, too (generally mince, so will maybe have it as a cottage pie, with jackets)

Have noticed that my grapes are starting to shrivel up, does anybody have any ideas for those, please?

PartTimeModel Tue 22-Jan-13 09:48:10

Signing up - I only have a small freezer but it is chocca. Cupboards are bursting - mainly with lentils smile but as DD1 seems to be naturally inclined to vegetarianism (she refuses most meat/chicken/fish and has some for some time now) this is no bad thing.

I'm making a risotto (with leftover roast chicken) tonight - the chicken will be chopped up so fine I hope to get it past her & I can have leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

rockinhippy Tue 22-Jan-13 10:10:12

I've been using the snow & ice & freezing cold as an excuse not to shop too, plus DD was very ill last weeks so I couldn't get out & DH has no shops at all near his work & a long detour on his way home, so I pretty much did this the last week or so & I'm pleased to say I managed just fine, though I do have good stores of pasta, rice, cous cous, flours & the likes & we ate more frozen veg than usual.

DoItToJulia Tue 22-Jan-13 10:15:19

Hummus: cooked chickpeas, tahini, clove of garlic, olive oil. Blitz. The tahini and olive help with the consistency, so start by adding tiny amounts and upping the quantity until you have a smooth ish consistency. It took me a while to get the consistency right, but I did in the end. You can added Harissa, smoked paprika, cumin or other flavours to spice it up! Yum!

jenduck Tue 22-Jan-13 10:18:45

Woohoo, just seen this is on 'discussions of the day'! <excited> grin

Galena Tue 22-Jan-13 10:35:07

We have all sorts of freezer meals - we have some pork and beef joints for roasting, meatballs that I make in huge quantities (8 meals worth at a time) and freeze, beef enchilada filling, chicken breast fillets, roast chicken pieces, veg, etc. We also have rice, pasta, potatoes in the cupboards.

Hopefully we won't starve grin

comixminx Tue 22-Jan-13 10:38:36

Multitask, that fridgefood site is a good find! It is pretty American so I smiled at all the things you don't even see here but it'll work fine for most things. And I found out what popovers are, after saving read about them in US kids books - little Yorkshire puds, by the looks of it! Heh.

BiddyPop Tue 22-Jan-13 10:41:14

I am trying something similar this month and next. We're not bad anyway on eating veg, but trying to actually eat veggie meals rather than always having meat, and eat more fish, and use up freezer/cupboards, and not drink drink less.

We've made a veggie curry using jar jalfrezi paste, tin coconut milk, tin tomatoes and half a butternut squash that had been languishing (with lots other veggies too).

I used up frozen leftover rice to make a nasi goreng (loads veggies, curry powder, tin tuna, half tin corn, handful of frozen prawns) - a regular I hadn't done recently.

DD is having another bag of leftover rice today with the couple of tablespoons of leftover curry that she loves from the takeaway (a rare night that there WAS some leftover, I'd frozen that). (I am having pork chops 2 nights in a row as I only froze them in 2s, au pair is veggie and DH is away).

My pork chops, DD's sausage and APs veggie burger last night were with leftover mashed potato, which I fried with an onion and a large handful of frozen peas to reheat it. Tasty!!

DH has made veggie chilli twice (he makes beef chilli regularly enough), and that's used up a few tins of tomatoes and kidney beans (normal) but also a couple of tins of chickpeas as part of the veg.

I am going to put out the stuffed vine leaves as part of a buffet we are doing in a couple of weeks (couple on 1 side got married so street party to celebrate, lady on other side is Greek and rarely gets them but loves them) - it was part of my "Secret Santa" pressie from DBro last year. (I used the black ink tagliatelle, the nice olive oil and bottle of wine easily enough!).

We got a jar of bruschetta tomato mix from an aunt this Christmas, and I plan on making a puff pastry open tart (a la M&S in the Dine In offer last weekend) using that with some of the last 2 jars of my semi-oven dried tomatoes (preserved in olive oil) in the fridge and a bag of mini mozarellas.

And I will make a couple of risottos over the next few weeks too, I've loads of dried mushrooms and a couple of containers of turkey stock.

(Another use for turkey stock is a potato bake using layers of potato, crumbled stilton, shredded ham, chopped rosemary and cracked black pepper, with hot stock over it - GREAT way to use up Christmas type leftovers, we make it every year at Christmas and I froze a spare bag of shredded ham to do it again in the next few weeks a second time).

Hope a few of those ideas help. My mouth is watering at some of the other ideas here!

JerryLeadbetter Tue 22-Jan-13 10:41:23

Marking my place!

CocktailQueen Tue 22-Jan-13 10:52:13

Yay, great idea, I'm doing thew same myself! Cleared out food cupboards yesterday and listed foods in there we can eat. Want to empty freezer too. Good luck!

BiddyPop Tue 22-Jan-13 10:52:35

Actually, leek and potato bake sounds good.

I have leftover prok frozen from a roast - I sliced it VERY fine once it had cooled and intend using it with a Chinese sauce.

If you have bread leftover and won't use it before it goes too stale, make crumbs. I try to have a bag of plain crumbs frozen at all times (for all sorts of uses - leftover mash mixed with a tin/pack of crab meat, half tin corn and chopped spring onions, made into patties and given the flour, egg and crumbs treatment makes great crab cakes and quite cheap!!), but if I have a decent sized bag frozen already, I find making a bag of plain stuffing for freezing is very useful too. JUst your onion, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper variety - can add extra flavours if you want when using but it means a fast dinner of stuffed mushrooms or tomatoes is very do-able, or stuffing a pork loin to stretch it is not a major hassle on Sundays.

susanann Tue 22-Jan-13 11:11:41

a great thread. very inspiring!

Just lugged home a load of fruit/veg and bread so I'm set up for a while.
Milk running out and probs off but it's the first time I've bought any in ages and I didn't really miss it.

Sick of pasta! But have loads.
Plus loads of potatoes and cheese.

Apple juice.

Pasta sauce, beer, cider, "hot oat cereal", white flour crackers, couple of tins of baked beans.
Ketchup, mayo that's tasting a bit vinegary by now.
Coffee and lots of tea and hot choc.

Er. Canteen downstairs and money on college card. I have no appetite so will probably just make salads and toast.

OP You could just chop the grapes up and pop them in some plain yoghurt- wrinkly texture will be less noticeable. Unless they're actually rotting!

GreenEggsAndNichts Tue 22-Jan-13 11:25:07

Oh I like this thread! We'll be moving house in a month or so, and I've been wanting to use some of the stuff in my cupboard as well. We've ended up with so many random items in there because they were on offer, etc, and I should really use them.

So, marking my place for ideas, and will share if I come up with something particularly useful!

Also, I have a lot of steel cut oats, if ideas are forthcoming for those I'd be grateful.. hmm

^ what's the difference between steel cut oats and normal oats? they sound very healthy! like they'd have a rougher texture?

PartTimeModel Tue 22-Jan-13 11:48:45

Saw leeks mentioned above - I have to share one of my fav pasta recipes, it's become a 'standard' since I first made it - so easy too:

Pasta with leeks & vintage cheddar

PartTimeModel Tue 22-Jan-13 11:50:06

^ what's the difference between steel cut oats and normal oats?
I'd like to know too - they are more expensive than regular oats and I think a finer texture, but apart from that I don't know.

I have been doing this this week.

Tonights dinner is chicken and mushroom pies using up left over gravy, chicken and some puff pastry I have had lurking in the freezer for ages. With mash and broccolli and carrots

I think I can go the rest of this week or so from here without having to buy anything at all except loo roll. have 4 litres of UHT milk a bread machine and lots of breadflour & yeast in.

fruit & veg might be an issue, but I have bananas, blueberries and apples but i do have tinned in the cupboard and some frozen.

Tomorrow is marinaded salmon probably with noodles.
Thursday will be something with oven chips-thursday is my long work day. probably chicken kievs or fish and frozen peas.
Friday night were out for dinner to celebrate DH & DS birthdays. So thats kind of cheating I guess.

ethelb Tue 22-Jan-13 11:59:29

DP started new job two weeks ago and we aren't sure when he is going to be paid so we are in a similar situation.

Freezer meals include:
Leon Gobi
Bunny paella x 3
Cottage pie
African ground nut soup
Leek and potato soup
Plus: fish fingers, spinahc and peas

Cub grub is going to consist of a lot of dahl and maybe some black bean burgers. We also have ingredients for humous and tzatziki for lunches.

PartTimeModel Tue 22-Jan-13 12:02:44

ethelb what is Leon Gobi? <curious>

PartTimeModel Tue 22-Jan-13 12:06:41

ethelb what is Leon Gobi? <curious>

GreenEggsAndNichts Tue 22-Jan-13 12:08:41

quirrel PartTime they're a bit nuttier, I think. The texture is what makes the big difference to me- they have more substance to them than rolled oats. Not as soft. I love them. I'm not sure what the health benefits are, but I do see them in health food shops. (The ones I have were the last tins of Irish oats I found at Tesco before they stopped selling them sad )

ethelb Tue 22-Jan-13 12:14:46

cauliflower curry with coconut and ground almonds in it. A bit like a veggie korma, but much much naicer.

Loving this thread as work has dropped off loads we be just have dps wage we both angency. Found a couple of redued pasties for dp for his pack up to bump it up ( only got 3slices of bread left so he have them and cheese for sarnies ) he hates veg and i did a farm foods veg shop for me. So having loads of diff veg with a potato bake which can be used for my tea tommorrow. Wished i got fozen leeks though really like the sound of potato and leek bake

PartTimeModel Tue 22-Jan-13 12:27:34

Thanks Green - I used to work with an Irish man who was a huge fan of them.

Cheers ethelb my 5yo will love that (I hope)

BranchingOut Tue 22-Jan-13 12:54:06

Those of you who are talking about freezing meatballs - do you form them into balls, brown them and then freeze them 'dry'? Or do you freeze them after having cooked them in a sauce?

I have some recipes, but am not sure how/when in the process to freeze.

Brilliant thread!

I did this in 2011 and have been thinking about doing it again to save a bit of money - my energy bills were huge and I'd like to pay a credit card off.

Last time, I made a list of everything I had and then looked down it to figure out what to cook with it. It meant I could meal-plan without having to go into the kitchen and shove things around.

I find it tiring cooking so I've been avoiding it and buying easy things, but I really need to use everything in the cupboards.

My mum freezes meatballs in sauce in metal trays with cardboard lids, so she can put it in the oven after defrosting.

fussychica Tue 22-Jan-13 12:59:04

Counted the meals in my freezer - have enough for 24 daysshock.

Trying to use food in the order it was frozen - today it's Waitrose Chicken gratin with a mountain of fresh veg I got cheapgrin. Homemade soup for lunch (reduced price butternut squash).

My biggest problem is I can't resist a good bargain.

Galena Tue 22-Jan-13 13:09:18

I freeze my meatballs raw. I mix beef and pork mince with seasoning, onion granules, oxo, tomato puree, breadcrumbs and an egg. Roll into balls and lay on a tray with cling film both underneath and over. Freeze. Once frozen, bring in, bash about a bit, remove cling film, bag in meal-size portions and return to freezer.

Then I cook them in a baking tray from frozen (about 20mins at Gas Mark 5 for the small ones I make) and serve with spaghetti and tomato sauce.

Galena Tue 22-Jan-13 13:10:57

Meant to say - I use 1kg beef mince and 1kg pork mince and make 128 meatballs. I use 16 per meal (8 meals altogether) which does me, DH and 3yo DD - we each have 7 and she has 2.

3rdnparty Tue 22-Jan-13 14:04:14

am attempting this but as soon as theres space in the freezer dh buys 'special offers' to fill it up again....but at least some of the old stuff is going ...

re the chickpeas - I too have given up on hummus and just use them in curries instead..much nicer as they seem to absorb the flavours!

we having 'veg/fridge stir fry (sprouts need eating) with leftover roast pork chopped in tonight

spamm Tue 22-Jan-13 14:05:35

For those trying to use chick peas, this is gorgeous:

Chickpea curry. I replace the fresh spinach with frozen, which is just as easy. And I use fresh ginger, but you may only have frozen. I love it just with a wholemeal naan, or on basmati rice.

BreastmilkDoesAFabLatte Tue 22-Jan-13 14:18:58

I'll join. Been spending too much recently and I know there are a few one-off mega-bills in the pile of post I've been avoiding.

I have a very fussy DH, though: this could be fun..

Abitwobblynow Tue 22-Jan-13 14:29:56

Good idea: I got a huge shock clearing out the house prior to moving abroad for a contract: the freezer (not labelled or packaged or stored properly) had 100s if not a 1000 pounds worth of forgotten joints etc. It was shocking and so now I try and buy for one meal at a time.

Today's dinner is chicken and veg pot pie for DH and me.

Dc fish fingers chips and tinned spaghetti.

zcos Tue 22-Jan-13 14:41:57

Really inspiring topic and will keep watching to try in a few weeks but with a 7wk old been buying things for convenience (pre-made cous cous salad etc). And doing the shopping online is really the most exciting thing I have done in days took hours finding weird and wonderful products (kinda trapped cos of snow).
Of course my delivery may never get here then it's back to the cupboard...
I did manage a spaghetti Bol on Friday with no spaghetti or onions and as I'm veggie vege mince!

GreenEggsAndNichts Tue 22-Jan-13 14:53:57

And I'd already taken out the turkey breast crown to cook for today. Somehow I ended up with one spare in there. There's also a frozen goose which I've no idea what to do with as I've never cooked a goose before.

I also have two bags of veggie mince in there that needs using.

zcos Tue 22-Jan-13 15:00:42

My food order has been cancelled!!
So any ideas ...cans of chickpeas and whole unopened pot of smash?

GreenEggsAndNichts Tue 22-Jan-13 15:01:26

See, I don't mind the freezer (or cupboard) being full-ish with items I use on a regular basis (frozen veg, mince, small pieces of meat, fish fingers etc in the freezer, or passata, tins of beans, condensed milk etc in the cupboard). What is currently driving me mad is the odd bits and bobs I don't use often which have just taken up space for a year or more.

duchesse Tue 22-Jan-13 15:03:39

Ha! I've been doing just that since early January. So far the only things we've bought this month have been fresh bread and milk and fruit (oh and one leg of half price lamb a fortnight ago because I fancied lamb). Everything is from stores. We'd had some...interesting meals but I have received compliments even from my teenagers so it's not all bad!

We actually need some tinned tomatoes and some tomato puree now.

duchesse Tue 22-Jan-13 15:04:27

zcos- how about chickpea cottage pie? Fling in some veg and gravy, cheese on top and you have a perfect veggie supper.

ouryve Tue 22-Jan-13 15:18:53

I've been trying to run the freezer down a bit while the weather's so bad. I have to buy fresh fruit and veg, though. Can't not have my bananas or fresh greens.

duchesse Tue 22-Jan-13 15:28:46

Ah yes, I forgot about the veg box! It comes to me so is easily overlooked as an item of shopping...

topbannana Tue 22-Jan-13 15:39:01

We are moving in a couple of weeks and have been watching the pennies like hawks for the past month or so. A lifesaver has been the long-neglected contents of my freezer which we are still wading our way through (spicy chicken wings anyone?!)
We sat down to dinner last week and DH stared at his plate, sighed plaintively and said "When we move, can we have meat that we have to cut up again?" grin
In fairness, I had no idea I had squirrelled away so much mince so he does have a point grin

BadMissM Tue 22-Jan-13 15:45:28

Moved house just over a month ago, and tried to do the same. Found all sorts of weird and wonderful ingredients in the cupboard- some herring fillets in sauce which mixed with night-before's left over rice became something fussy DD loved... Lots of beans and pulses, which I use to make the glamorously named 'Beany Thing'

As many different kinds of beans as you have - kidney, cannelini, butter, flageolet.... cut up an onion, fry in olive oil or butter, add some cut up sausage (you can use smoked sausage, normal sausage, Kabanos, Chorizo, or hot-dogs), add some potatoes, add the beans, some tinned tomatoes or passata, some basil/oregano, paprika or chilli and serve with bread and butter. Really filling and warming...

Also made 'cupboard pasta bake' with tinned tuna, cooked pasta, tinned tomatoes, any remaining veg, topped with a tortilla chip crust with grated cheese.

When in a skint creative mood, I also resort to the trusty copy of 'Cooking in a Bedsitter', that I've had since I was a student....full of cheap cupboard recipes...

Gnomi Tue 22-Jan-13 15:51:26

We do this every January, and it saves us loads of money. I batch-cooked loads of things before DS1 was born and we're still eating it (he's 5 and a half months now).

Last night we had a trout that DH caught in July, and tonight it's fishcakes with the leftover fish. Tomorrow it's Boeuf Bourginon.

I made a fruit cake at the weekend with all the bits of leftover dried fruit from Christmas and various recipes. I also have loads of crumpets and bread rolls to keep us going. Have to buy fresh fruit, veg, milk etc though.

boomting Tue 22-Jan-13 15:53:29

I do this annually, as I move house once a year. My top tip is to use - you type in the ingredients you have, and it comes up with a few thousand recipes that you can make with those ingredients.

boomting Tue 22-Jan-13 15:53:46
mathanxiety Tue 22-Jan-13 16:14:38

You can use Paxo stuffing as a crunchy topping for pork chops or chicken breasts that have been coated with a little oil. Bake covered in foil and then remove foil to let it all get crisp for about 10 mins at the end of cooking time. Also can be used as a filler for meatballs.

grin Loving 'Beany Thing'.

We are having a crockpot chicken dish today with various dried fruits (apricots, dates, cranberries, raisins) to finish up several bags left after Christmas plus onion and garlic and lemon slices.

mathanxiety Tue 22-Jan-13 16:16:36

Thanks for the tip. Fab site.

racingheart Tue 22-Jan-13 16:32:03

I did that today. DH started muttering about goiung out to Waitrose to buy food today, and we have an order coming tomorrow. He can't stop himself spending £30 on nothing and then we throw stuff away, so I said: No. We have food.

Am attempting now to make a goulash with freezer stewing beef and almost no veg blush except tinned toms and carrots...DC better be hungry!

UniS Tue 22-Jan-13 16:47:28

This week I'm not buying stuff using up fridge/ freezer and cupboards.

MOnday - sauagae n mash and the last of our garden beans.
Today - ragu and pasta
wed - school dinners for most, jacket spud and tined tuna for me
Thursday omlette , chips and veg ( I will have to buy some eggs from nearest farm gate.)
Friday - Jacket spud for boy, DH and I are eating out
Saturday - stir fryed pork , veg and rice.

Kaekae Tue 22-Jan-13 17:05:43

I have just looked in my freezer and was pleased to find 6 steaks from Waitrose. BUT the date on the front says August 12 and on the back it says eat within one month. confused

FoofFighter Tue 22-Jan-13 17:14:05

kaekae, it'll be fine!

I've been doing this for a while, because I've had stuff in the freezer that really needs using up. It's been a good way of extending my repertoire of recipes. I've also been taking note of frozen stuff I can keep in in future that lends itself to a variety of dishes.

If you're not veggie, a ham/gammon joint for boiling up can be used in all sorts of ways. I slice some for sandwiches and then the rest can be diced for use in risottos, pasta dishes, potato bakes, etc, etc.

Given how much food prices have risen, I've been re-assessing the other stuff I keep in, eg dried goods like pasta, fresh veg/fruit. It's amazing how much I've not been spending and I think I'll keep doing this.

I have some frozen fruit that I need to use up. Looks like crumbles aplenty.... just need custard. DP will be pleased grin

duchesse Tue 22-Jan-13 17:33:30

kaekae, they're in the freezer, they'll be fine!

Gettinthehangofthisatlast Tue 22-Jan-13 17:54:55

Idea for shrivelly grapes: cut in half and use in fruit salad. Can use up any little bits of fruit, including tinned, add some (orange) juice. Flavours even better if left over night, but wouldn't put any banana in until last minute if using. Should help rehydrate the grapes and won't be so noticeable mixed with other fruit.

I also love bits of fruit in jelly, which I think would work with halved grapes.

Any good?

HearMyRoar Tue 22-Jan-13 17:59:54

Steaks will be fine.

I'm super jealous that everyone seems to have such big freezers. I think 6 steaks would pretty much fill half of ours. They would certainly be pretty hard to forget. smile

Dd's not good with dairy so I've decided I'm going to make oat milk tomorrow so I can do savoury pancakes, with roast veg and a tomato sauce. Yum! Love pancakes grin

GreenEggsAndNichts Tue 22-Jan-13 18:06:15

ooh getting into the spirit of things now. I found the two pots of cranberries DH picked up on sale after Christmas. Obviously they go with the turkey crown I'm making for dinner tonight. smile

JustFabulous Tue 22-Jan-13 18:11:59

Just cheekily marking my place as I haven't time to read all the thread now but I suspect it will be a good read and very useful.

DIYapprentice Tue 22-Jan-13 18:14:09

Can I join in a little bit too? Not going to go completely freezer and cupboard, but do need to cut down on some shopping and use up my supplies so this will be ideal. Will try to do at least half my weekly meals from storecupboard.

Using my slow cooker for the first time today and have made lamb shanks in a casserole which should be yummy. Have a roast pork that needs to be cooked tomorrow. Think I might try some chicken and mushroom risotto the next day. Does anyone have any good recipes for it?

Will try to make a lamb stock overnight in the slow cooker.

Virgil Tue 22-Jan-13 18:18:09

I have no space at all in either of my two freezers. Can I join in too?

I should only need to buy bread milk and fresh fruit since I know there are loads of vegetables in there and tons of butter and cheese. We will however be eating a lot of spaghetti since I bought 32 packs when tesco changed their packaging and reduced each pack with the old branding to 9p grin

Mirage Tue 22-Jan-13 18:19:43

I've spent the last few weeks doing this,as work has been really quiet and the snow has put a stop to it completely.sad

I have been making flapjacks,using up broken biscuits left in the tin,and the little bits of cereal that always seem to get left at the bottom of the packet.Add some oats,cooking margarine and sugar or golden syrup,bake at 180 for 15 minutes.They have been very popular in this house.

DIYapprentice Tue 22-Jan-13 18:57:19

What a great idea Mirage! Will have to start gathering them up instead of throwing them out.

blue2 Tue 22-Jan-13 19:00:31

I've managed about 10 days of no shopping before I cracked and had to get more loo roll.

Am loving the suggestions.

In return if anyone has any leftover roast pork (and they don't or can't stir fry it), slice it and bag it up to put in the freezer.

Defrost (which only takes a few hours, if that) and fry for a couple of mins in a lightly oiled frying pan until brown and crispy.

Stuff into pitta breads with salad and lashings of apple sauce.

They're known as "Hot Porky Pittas" smile

didireallysaythat Tue 22-Jan-13 19:38:07

This is my kinda thread. I'm taking notes.

But is it just me who defrosts two take away containers of what looks like chilli con carne (the bit that's always left over) for supper, only to discover one of them is actually crumble topping from a failed attempt at making flapjack ?

I've just found 3 bottles of elderflower cordial in the bottom of the freezer - predates at least one of the children....

ethelb Tue 22-Jan-13 19:40:07

@hearmyroar I know, being able to discover things in my freezer is an aspirational dream!

Babycarmen Tue 22-Jan-13 19:45:02

We literally had to do this last week because of unforeseen expenses! Soup, pancakes, chilli, bubble and squeak....

We have beany thing in our house too! It's a recipe i got from blue peter when i was a child in the 80's!

3 tins of mixed pulses-it really doesn't matter what sweetcorn, kidney beans, haricot beans works well
tin of baked beans
tin of tomatoes
sprinkling of mixed herbs

saute onions and garlic add the tins to it. tip into an oven proof casserole, top with broken up slices of bread and heaps of grated cheese bake til the cheese is melted.

Ohhelpohnoitsa Tue 22-Jan-13 20:13:11

excellent thread. i have defrosted bolognaise sauce for lasagne tonight but may stuff some past their best tortillas and bake with somr cheese on instead. in fact, i think i have a sachet of fajita sauce somewhere so i might go mexican. my problem is yogurt. we cant seem to live without it here. so when i pick up yogurt & milk I throw in a few extras.....

UniS Tue 22-Jan-13 20:30:34

Tonight I bulked out ragu from the freezer with some veg from the fridge- the last few mushrooms and half a pepper, and a saggy celery stick, the last squirt of tomato puree.

Also - removed loaf of bread from freezer for tomorrows lunch/ tea and the last solitary chicken kiev ( for my tea).

Might have to re-think tomorrows meals if we end up with a snow day.. but lets cross that one when/if it comes.

Feelingood Tue 22-Jan-13 20:37:16

I ran my cupboards down already and freezer almost caught short with this snow! I wouldn't recommend pork curry, not the way I did it anyway.

Leilandri Tue 22-Jan-13 20:58:42

Joining in too. Great Thread idea jenduck

Have just meal planned for the entire of February using freezer and/or cupboard contents for every meal. Will have to buy milk, bread, fruit, some veg, juice, eggs, but should be ok for meat, pastry, chips etc, crumble fillings.

Tonight we had pork chops and green beans (freezer) with cider sauce (cupboard) and mash.

I've made a strawberry jelly, with chopped tinned peaches for DS's pudding tomorrow, which they can have with ice-cream.

Have found a tin of custard powder in the cupboard dated 2006!! 3 years older than my eldest son shock blush Lots of trifle in our house then!


Do you have a milkman in your area. I have a milkman and although it is more expensive pint for pint but I don't go to the shop for 2 pints of milk and spend £20.

zcos Tue 22-Jan-13 21:46:06

Fishandlilacs DH makes something similar to that but with lean mice and onions tin of oxtail soup, beans and sweet corn he adds chilli powder. His mum used to make it and calls it cowboy hash which is pretty cool! ... Wonder if that was from blue Peter too!

AnnIonicIsoTronic Tue 22-Jan-13 21:57:24

Lean mice... Mine are quite fat, feeding off the crumbs of my slovenly housekeeping. Will they taste as nice?

zcos Tue 22-Jan-13 22:08:13

Duchese just saw your response was thinking of that... Though would be a shepherdess pie as I am veggie. Have lots of veg mince and bag of peas and some onions in looking good!
Such a fab post topic jenduck save money & tidy freezer and cupboards!

FoofFighter Tue 22-Jan-13 22:56:45

Lean mice, think will pass on that one!!

I've pretty much run the freezer down since Xmas but still plenty in the cupboards:
lots of 10p packet mash which aside from mash, I use for tuna fishcakes, as a thickener, or mix with a load of herbs/spices and use the flakes to coat things, then bake.
even got the xmas pudding still unused, although I bought an 8 serving one and there's just the two of us (there were 7 for xmas dinner though hence the fat pud!) so any tips on how to use up left over xmas pud would be appreciated please smile

AnnIonicIsoTronic Tue 22-Jan-13 23:08:47

Ugh - that's a struggle - its such a seasonal taste...

BerylStreep Tue 22-Jan-13 23:09:29

Oh I'm up for a challenge. I have just looked at my cupboard and I have 5 Tina of assorted beans to use (black eye, haricot, kidney, and adzuki) 2 cartons of chickpeas, red and green? lentils, lots of rice and pasta. Not to mention all the spices and chutneys.

gaelicsheep Tue 22-Jan-13 23:13:18

Would like to join in but we've just done this exercise before moving and now no longer have a freezer to store anything in (hope THAT doesn't last too long). I think with store cupboard stuff and what we've got in the fridge/ice box we could last maybe 5 days to a week, but DH would be most unhappy to go through it again. And we'd need to keep getting milk or there would be a riot.

blackeyedsusan Tue 22-Jan-13 23:19:00

we could last about 3 months. as long as I was allowed to buy bread and milk.we may be eating rather a lot of rice and beans. I have a 10kg bag of rice under the cupboards. not sure why I bought that home..

Ohhelpohnoitsa Tue 22-Jan-13 23:40:08

oh yeah, why have i never thought about the milkman. great idea. will investigate. if he could bring milk, bread & yogs, I would resist a midweek shop. fab idea!!!

duchesse Wed 23-Jan-13 00:00:08

We are very extraordinarily lucky that our neighbours went into production in October with organic unhomogenised milk a mere short walk away. They have saved us 100s of pounds already by giving us the option not to step into the supermarket for milk.

Daysies Wed 23-Jan-13 00:12:46

I had a whole leftover xmas pudding too, I just opened it up and sliced it then wrapped the slices well before freezing them. Defrosted one in the microwave and had it with ice cream the other night, still good!

marriedinwhite Wed 23-Jan-13 00:16:27

I reckon I could do three decent dinners and then another three days on:

tin toms, onion, and pasta - salad scraps from fridge
spuds, sliced onion, cheese sauce, frozen peas and tin of carrots
Rice cooked in stock with a bit of onion, tin of red kidney beans, and a chicken breast chopped up with frozen peas.

After that - might scrape together some out of date polenta, tin of tomatoes, tin of tuna, served with some homemade bread from the last of the flour and some yeast from the back of the cupboard.

That's it - then we would run out and the whining that had been going on for hree days would reach a creschendo after the cereal and last frozen milk from the freezer runs out.

.....there might still be half a bottle of gin and a bottle of tonic left for the grown ups though grin

mathanxiety Wed 23-Jan-13 01:00:27

I have had a Christmas pud in the fridge for about three years. Its moment just never arrived.. Do you think it could still be classified as food?

marriedinwhite Wed 23-Jan-13 01:07:18

Yep. No prob.

mathanxiety Wed 23-Jan-13 01:31:46

Well that is St Patrick's Day sorted then. Thank you.

FellatioNels0n Wed 23-Jan-13 03:41:11

If you regularly find yourself chucking out fossilized food that has been in the freezer too long and got freezer burn then by a foodsaver vacuum packer from Lakeland. Put your meat in it before you freeze it and it will last for years rather than months with no ill effects whatsoever. Well worth the investment if you are like me, and insist on having a cavernous pit of a freezer and always stockpile meat in case a zombie apocolypse or some other catastrophe.

I have all sorts of random shit in my cupboards that have no obvious use for. You have spurred me on to dig it all out and get creative. The thing is, DH always moans when I do this, and then moans when I spend too much on the shopping! I can't win. confused I can't do fillet steak en croute every night on a Fray Bentos budget!

ripsishere Wed 23-Jan-13 05:40:35

I'd love to join in, but, since I have a minute freezer and only four kitchen cupboards which have to house implements as well as food, I can't.
I do have 30kg of rice though if anyone is short.


I use milkandmore. I use him for milk,yoghurts and bread. And I normally check if they can deliver if I run out of something mid week they seem to stock most things.

HearMyRoar Wed 23-Jan-13 08:09:17

I really want one of those vacuum things. My freezer is tiny so I want it to squeeze more stuff in. I'll take a look at the lakeland one grin

jenduck Wed 23-Jan-13 09:47:42

Wow, this thread has gone crazy! I am quite overcome grin Thank you all for joining me, I will definitely try even harder now I feel I have to report back!

Some good suggestions re the grapes, thanks, but I'm a fussy devil. I don't really want a cold dish as it is too cold for that & I'm not good with bits in yoghurt. I have seen some recipes for grape sauce for fish/chicken, so I will maybe freeze them until I find some suitable meat to use them with.

Re Christmas puddings - they keep forever! I'm sure I've had some that were 5+ years old, the older the better! I have one to eat & a couple of cartons of rum sauce (not my fave, gift from MIL, but will use it up).

Tonight's dinner will be a fairly plain one - pan-fried trout with rice with some stock stirred in & steamed veg. DSes will eat earlier - one will have the remaining few chicken fingers from the freezer, the other some leftover frozen spag bol (homemade).

If When I get my car back tomorrow, I will have to buy some basics -tinned toms, potatoes, bananas - but other than that I think I have a month or so of both meals & snacks!

christmasclean Wed 23-Jan-13 11:51:48

I am currently doing this now as u had to replace my car directly after Christmas. Porridge milk eggs bread fruit veg spuds rice pasta flour sugar teabags orange juice (I don't buy pop because of the nasties) soup beans flora rapeseed oil whole chickens, cheap stewing cuts of lamb or beef. Bag of quorn mince, butchers sausages Chilli sauce, herbs spices gravy. Make your own cakes , pasties, puddings. grin Good luck

BiddyPop Wed 23-Jan-13 12:17:54

Au Pair is making veggie lasagne tonight - that will be interesting.

I have a load of things I WANT to make at the mo (and have all ingredients), but time/fussy child/manic timetable isn't allowing it. And that's not even getting into the exoctic type stuff.
Gorgonzola pasta with bacon lardons
Lamb meatballs with tomato sauce and pasta
Prawn tikka masala
Chicken and mushrooms in white wine sauce (with mash or pasta)
Chicken fajitas
Hoi Sin Pork
Mushroom risotto
Tomato and mozarella bake
Sweet'n'sour pork
Nasi Goreng
Bacon butties
Welsh rarebit bake with crusty bread
Lamb chops, roast potatoes and cauliflower cheese
Mini chicken kievs and oven chips
Crab cakes and sweet chilli sauce
Spag bol
Veggie Chop suey
Prawn and vegetable sushi
Prawns with roasted veg, a tomato sauce and pasta
Hoki (fish) and mash
Paella (that is getting into exotic as it's an experiment)
Cod in batter and oven chips and peas
1 meal each of hot dogs and fish fingers and probably 2 of chicken nuggets(for DD after school)

Flapjacks with lots of dried fruit
Chocolate cake
Coffee cake with walnuts on top
Pot au chocolat with orange
Apple crumble or apple pie and custard

And I am sure there is more without me even reaching the bottom of the freezer.

Cailleach Wed 23-Jan-13 13:13:14

I was going to go shopping but this thread has inspired me so I checked out our stocks of stuff instead.

From freezer, fridge and cupboard stocks I could rustle up the following:

- Cheese and broccoli quiches (loads of eggs, pastry ingredients)
- Pizza (have flour and yeast, homemade sauce already in freezer, mozarella in fridge)
- Lentil soups or curry (have red lentils, curry powder, tinned tomatoes, onions, rice)
- Scotch broth (pearl barley, turnips, carrots, onions, tinned tomatoes, frozen chicken stock)
- Cheese and mushroom toasties
- Various omelets including spanish type (eggs, potatoes)
- Egg fried rice with chicken stir fry (chicken thighs in freezer, carrots, onions, broccoli, soy sauce, spices)
- Anything made from oats / oatmeal including oatcakes, porridge, parkin, homemade hob nobs
- Homemade scones (freezer drawer full of cheese or currant varieties)
- Could make a fruit or marmalade cake (eggs, flour, sugar, marmalade, dried fruit)
- Any type of bread from flatbreads to loaves (have bread flour and yeast in abundance)
- Curry (chicken thighs, sauce in freezer, rice)
- "Fish-and-something" - loads of breaded and plain frozen stuff in freezer, beans or veg to go with
- Apple crumble (homemade, frozen) and custard
- Roasted chicken thighs with a spicy tomato sauce and rice (freezer)
- Pasta with tomato sauce (tinned toms, onions, dried pasta) or tortellini with same (bought tortellini reduced; in freezer)
- Roast chicken dinner (make homemade Yorkshires, chicken in freezer, veg, gravy)
- Scotch or normal pancakes (golden syrup, eggs, flour, milk)
- Baked beans....inevitably
- Sausages: could be casserole, go in sarnies, or as a fry up (freezer)
- Hash browns / rosti (potatoes, onions, oil)

So I don't need to go shopping then...good.

<eyes snow with distaste>

Cheat’s ham and carrot risotto (Serves 2 adults plus 2 DC, but then we don’t have big portions)

1 medium onion, diced
1-2 medium carrots, diced
250-300g cooked ham/gammon, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
Small knob butter
150g risotto rice (Arborio or Carnaroli are risotto rices)
500 ml hot stock (whatever suits)

Heat oil/butter in a pan, add carrot and onion and gently fry until golden but not too coloured. Add ham and fry a minute more. Add rice and fry until oil/butter absorbed, then add all the hot stock. Stir to ensure nothing is sticking to pan and bring to boil. When boiling, reduce to simmer and cover. Simmer for 10 mins, until liquid absorbed and rice is thick and creamy. Serve with some parmesan (or ordinary cheese is okay) for people to sprinkle over.

The ham and carrot can be changed to suit whatever you have. I’ve used bacon, fish, left over roast meats of any type, a variety of veg, etc. You don’t have to have meat.

This gets done at least once a fortnight to use up leftovers. grin

PS, the recipe I adapted this from was for double the amount to serve 4 adults, which for us would make massive portions. I know the Italian tradition is to add a little stock, stir until absorbed and then add more stock, etc, but this cheat is great for a busy night.

LieInsAreRarerThanTigers Wed 23-Jan-13 13:32:50

I've gained a perverse pleasure from not being able to use the car for a few days so have been on foot twice to stock up on essentials only. I have always thought we could survive quite comfortably for a few weeks without shopping, mainly because I always have a good stock of dried beans and pulses, ftinned tomatoes, flour and other breadmaking ingredients.
I would miss onions the most, and milk I guess, but porridge made with dried milk is fine.

Ragwort Wed 23-Jan-13 13:43:49

I've also been using up stuff because I am too scared to drive out in the snow; and my DPs are moving and gave me a load of food from their freezer grin. Yesterday I made stilton (Christmas leftovers grin) & onion soup and today I am slow-cooking a small piece of beef in a sort of barbeque sauce (from a jar - found in a back of cupboard) - will serve it with jacket spuds and make a coleslaw from a red cabbage - had forgotton I bought it at Christmas blush - OK with the outer leaves stripped off grin.

Just knocked up a packet brownie mix that I also found lurking.

fussychica Wed 23-Jan-13 15:14:49

Despite my earlier post saying I had 24 dinners in the freezer I just bought another 4 as they were reduced - ooops Epic Failgrin.
Up side is it's a lovely salmon dish for dinner tonight.

happynappies Wed 23-Jan-13 16:28:39

Marking my place to have a good read through this thread later, sounds like a brilliant idea. We moved house before Christmas, and I'm determined not to run up huge quantities of supplies again, but can see the cupboards filling up with the same old same old... need to learn how to use things effectively, and use up stuff from the fridge and freezer. I've ordered a slow cooker today in the hope of being able to free up some time and make more soups etc to use up veg. etc in addition to all the casseroles that people talk about

BerylStreep Wed 23-Jan-13 16:51:43


Tonight: Baked spuds with homemade hummus, grated carrot and sultana with some sort of dressing, and salad veg.

Tomorrow: Chicken cassoulet

Friday: Something with lentils & prunes? Tagine type affair?

DiamondDoris Wed 23-Jan-13 16:57:15

I'm going to use Smash as a pizza base grin. Got a jar of tahini languishing at the back of the cupboard - will try to use it in dressings and sauces rather than the typical humus. I hate baked beans (got loads of tins) but in stews etc they're not bad.

Virgil Wed 23-Jan-13 18:17:11

DCs have just eaten the contents of a random mystery freezer tub for dinner. It's turned out to be chicken casserole which they had with a couple of part baked bread rolls.

Last night DH and I had egg on toast (we can cheat a bit since we have hens)

Tonight DH and I are having chicken curry from the freezer since I batch cooked eight lots of curry last weekend. We will have to spread those out so that we don't get sick of curry grin

No spend freezer meals - hurrah!

For the risotto, I forgot to write in the salt & pepper, just add to taste.

Did this tonight, DS ate it so fast I'm suprised he left the pattern behind in the bowl.

Tomorrow I'm doing sausage and bacon rolls for tea, which I sometimes do when 1 or more DCs is out somewhere.

Friday possibly fish pie (in freezer).

BerylStreep Wed 23-Jan-13 19:06:32

For those contemplating hummus, I have a very nice recipe, adapted slightly, but courtesy of James Duigan of the Clean & Lean diet (you know, the one Nigella did).

235g carton ready cooked chickpeas (organic if you have them)
3-5 tbs lemon juice
1 1/2 tbs tahini
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbs olive oil
parsley to garnish

whizz it all together for longer than you think you need to. You could also add a tsp of harissa paste.

Perfect, and it makes loads.

Aethelfleda Wed 23-Jan-13 19:07:46

This thread is great! We are really getting into it: my shelves have actual space and the freezer isn't groaning! I confess I did do a big fruit and veg shop earlier thIs week as we were getting low on frozen beans and peas and I need fruit for DH's sarnies. I must admit that I do a fair amount of from-scratch cooking, so to use up some things (like curry pastes) I do need to have the other components to go with them, so I'm trying to make sure that anything I buy from the shops has the potential to go with something from the cupboard/freezer to make a complete meal.

Tonight the DCs had pasta pesto with cheese and (fresh) mange tout. DH and I are going to have packet veg chilli with coconut milk rice and the leftover mange tout. Later I am planning to soak and boil a packet of coarse lentils that have been lurking for aaaaaages (I use small mung dahl in preference as it doesn't need soaking, so the coarser stuff just doesn't get enough use). Then will freeze them for use in curries over the next few weeks.

HearMyRoar Wed 23-Jan-13 19:13:38

I have just looked at my meal plan and for tomorrow I have just put 'chicken and aubergine'. Ummm...not sure I thought this one through as I have no idea what I was actually going to cook.

Maybe I could do some sort of aubergine pie sort of thing using the aubergine sliced on the top and bottom and then chicken and veg in the middle...maybe some sort of sauce over the top kind of like a lasagna. Er...I'm sure it'll be fine confused

BerylStreep Wed 23-Jan-13 19:20:21

Roar, what about Nigella's involtini?

HearMyRoar Wed 23-Jan-13 19:31:34

Ooo...looks interesting beryl will need some adapting as dd and dp are both dairy free so no cheese but I think I could use the general principle.'s a crazy idea, but it might just work grin

Leilandri Wed 23-Jan-13 20:08:28

Totally freezer tea tonight - nuggets for DS's, Kievs for DH and I, chips and corn-on-cob. We have an allotment, and I froze quite a bit of veg at the end of summer, but because I've dumped loads of crap on top of it buried it in the freezer I've bought more frozen veg hmm so we definitely have veg to go with our meals for a while!

Tomorrow will be Thai red curry and rice. Chicken from freezer, onions and pepper from languishing in fridge, spices, rice and coconut milk from cupboard.

PhylisStein Wed 23-Jan-13 20:34:53

I did this when we were skint just before Christmas - On 1st Dec I made a list of everything in my cupboards and freezer etc. and went online and in recipe books in search of recipes to use them all up. We did really well, discovered some quite nice recipes and the only things left by Dec 21st were a tin of goose fat and some capers! In those three weeks I spent £40 per week instead of £120 for a usual shop. Result all round I thought. Good luck with your mission.

Boomerwang Wed 23-Jan-13 20:39:38

I'd love to join this thread as I have a full freezer and cupboard, but I'm not much of a cook. I tend to lob things together and sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't.

Today I emptied the rest of a bag of pytt i panna (hash to you and me), a few meatballs, half an onion, three frankfurters, a solo garlic bulb and half a bag of frozen grated cheese into a frying pan and covered it with three eggs. Looked like shit, tasted ok, too much meat but my boyfriend wanted the extra meat.

Aware that it's really unhealthy too. I need to do this because I keep going to the cupboard at night to see what I can eat for my tea and I walk away again every time. I can't afford to buy fresh salads any more because my boyfriend is a chef and works late so is never home to eat any of it and it's hard to buy small amounts without wasting any.

I hate waste, btw. I'd rather freeze something than throw it away.

Boomerwang Wed 23-Jan-13 20:40:09

My baby has gone off sweet potato so I'll be digging all the frozen cooked sweet potato out tomorrow. Wondering what to eat it with.

MrsDeVere Wed 23-Jan-13 20:58:50

Being called selfish.

MrsDeVere Wed 23-Jan-13 21:00:04

How the fuck did that happen?
This thread was not about sodding freezers when I posted on it!

Aethelfleda Wed 23-Jan-13 21:03:34

<gently turns MrsDV towards the freezer door and hands over a choc-ice for sustenance while she finds her way over to the thread she originally wanted>

duchesse Wed 23-Jan-13 21:18:07

Elderly choc-ice covered in white ice as it's been there so long. I can't think of a single thing to do with lost choc-ices other than give them to lost people.

MrsDeVere Wed 23-Jan-13 21:29:31


PurpleStorm Wed 23-Jan-13 21:39:30

We've also been having a lot of freezer/cupboard meals lately.

Today I made tomato soup with a tin of chopped tomatoes, a stock cube, and the last 2 onions. With a bit of bread on the side.

racingheart Wed 23-Jan-13 23:00:10

This thread is brilliant. My weird is it goulash or is it chilli went down so well, DH said it was the nicest thing he'd had in ages and what was the recipe and when could we have it again.

I have loads of Christmas stilton around. Could do the soup or a quiche.
Loads of lentils too for dahl with rice.

Some out of date porridge oats. But i've been making porridge with them and they're fine. Would love to make flapjacks but have v little golden syrup - just brown sugar or maple syrup. Would that work, does anyone know?

Cailleach Wed 23-Jan-13 23:54:35

If the oats are old, racingheart, soak them in the melted butter / syrup mix for a while before baking to soften them up.

And I've used sugar and honey before when I've run out of golden syrup and they've worked out fine, albeit a bit crumblier than usual. Make sure all the sugar is melted into the butter before adding the oats.

ChocChipCookieMuncher Thu 24-Jan-13 01:12:24

Love Food Hate Waste have a great website I use lots -recipes, using up food tips, how to get best out of freezer and food storage advice etc etc (I think they have a new app due out soon too, I get the newsletter). They reckon the average family can save £50 a month if we waste less food, all adds up smile

Galena Thu 24-Jan-13 08:07:21

Going shopping today for the first time in ages. Was meal planning and have planned meals for the next 10 days which require me to purchase:
Big potatoes for jacket potatoes
Gammon joint
Fresh fish

And that's it.

Needless to say, that's not everything I'm buying as we need the short-life stuff - milk, bread, lunch bits, fruit, etc, but that is all we need to buy for the main meals. smile

jenduck Thu 24-Jan-13 08:38:08

It's great to hear from people who have done this successfully & found it useful.

For flapjacks, I have not made them but my dmum uses honey instead of golden syrup as it's healthier.

Trying to decide between ham & mushroom pie (topped with mash) or ham & mushroom pasta tonight, will depend how much time I have. Shopping later just for potatoes, tinned toms & bananas, other than that really pleased how easy it is to stick to this!

MrsBeep Thu 24-Jan-13 08:51:12

Love this thread!

Replying so I can bookmark it for future reference. Will reply in due course.

MrsBeep Thu 24-Jan-13 08:55:02

It may have already been asked, but I'm on my way to work and don't have time to read through on my long does uncooked meat keep in the freezer? Red meat specifically?

I've had some in there for over a year (possibly year and a half). So you think I could stew it?

Galena Thu 24-Jan-13 09:01:48

I would. I'm a bit blase about dates and things though. I would defrost the meat and smell it. If it smells ok, use it.

PartTimeModel Thu 24-Jan-13 09:42:57

Nothing gone from cupboard or freezer yet. The chicken I roasted on Monday is still going strong. Risotto tonight.

I have a very sore thumb (now all bandaged up thankfully) and that is slowing cupboard explorations and all but the basic cooking down. Still here in spirit!

Tonight we having chilli mince with tortillas then friday we have staying so we having cheese potato bake smile with fresh bread or garlic bread as got a bread mix that needs using

*Have a friend staying

Galena Thu 24-Jan-13 13:08:22

Ok, so I've slightly failed... blush

I bought the things I'd planned, but also bought a haggis as I remembered that it's Burn's night tomorrow. I also bought some bread flour to make bread with dd... more stuff to clog up the cupboard!

millie0210 Thu 24-Jan-13 14:05:22

Good luck with your challenge, hope you save lots of cash.

Skyebluesapphire Thu 24-Jan-13 14:21:36

I've never got anything to eat, yet my freezer is full blush

I am also trying to save money. I have a cupboard full of tins of soup, beans, spaghetti, sauce jars etc. Having grown up on a farm where you risk getting snowed in for days on end, I have my mothers hoarding mentality in case we starve. ( I live within walking distance of a shop.......).

So I am trying to empty out the cupboards as we dont need 8 of everything.... and also eat up the freezer as it needs defrosting.

MrsBeep Thu 24-Jan-13 15:26:33

I need to do the freezer mostly (did the cupboard recently actually), because we need a new freezer. The damn thing is half what a good excuse to eat all the food within it!
Anyone else able to answer my meat question above? Anyone else cooked meat that has been frozen a very very long time?

I would use it, if once defrosted it smells ok.

Virgil Thu 24-Jan-13 17:02:26

I've eaten lamb that's been in the freezer for at least 18 months and its been fine. Did give it a good sniff once it was defrosted.

Virgil Thu 24-Jan-13 17:12:16

DCs are having fish cakes from the freezer tonight and one of the many many tins of beans in the cupboards (they have main meal at school). DH and I are having Mousakka from the freezer.

Managing this with ease at the moment, I should have done it before! Mind you it won't be long before we are eating apple pie morning noon and night.

I have to confess to popping into Lidl and buying bananas and mushrooms (which never freeze properly unless they're in something). That was it though!

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 24-Jan-13 17:16:54

We've just finished doing this, just buying a few fresh veg to stave off the scurvy etc. and I finally cracked and had to do a 'big shop' today. Still..... have spent half what I would normally spend on food in a month.

Galena Thu 24-Jan-13 18:11:14

We had a non freezer dinner, but very nice it was! We had panfried river cobbler, coated in seasoned flour... Yum!

Mirage Thu 24-Jan-13 18:46:03

Fish pie here tonight,with beans from the freezer [from 2010!].There is also plum crumble with frozen plums dating from the great plum glut of 2011.

We live a 14 mile round trip from the nearest supermarket,and have a 5ft long freezer in the garage.It hasn't been emptied since 2005 and there are frozen baby meals for DD2 in the bottom.She will be 8 in May blush

Aethelfleda Thu 24-Jan-13 22:34:50

Wow, mirage, that's a hardcore freezer!

Dinner was frozen chicken made into a masala curry with the first of my cooked lentils (the rest are now in the freezer in portions). dH said he realy liked the variety we've been having recently: result!!!

I know what your DH means about the variety.

I think we all get stuck with cooking the same few meals over a couple of weeks. Am going to try to be better in future.

BiddyPop Fri 25-Jan-13 09:44:30

Tonight, DD had an M&S meal from the freezer (I get them to have for Wednesdays, fast dinner after late swimming lesson but she was eating leftovers Wed this week).

And I had 2 part baked rolls with a welsh rarebit (M&S) that was due to have been eaten by the 1st week of Jan (but was getting well cooked and was vacuum sealed, so seemed ok).

The au pair had leftover veggie lasagne.

Am going to write up my list of options on the fridge door to prevent me buying more food, especially meat, for the next few weeks. Will still need lots of fresh fruit, veg and dairy (go through a lot of all in our house).

BerylStreep Fri 25-Jan-13 10:05:14

I had cassoulet last night, which the DC adored.

Tonight is steak accompanied by goats cheese and raw beetroot salad with puy lentils and pecan nuts (ok, I cheated and had to buy the beetroot and goats cheese, but I am using up lentils, pecans, red onion and red wine vinegar from the cupboards).

Once I have the food cupboards and freezer sorted, I might start on the cleaning cupboard and toiletries, although it takes a lot longer to go through those.

I may attempt some baking over the weekend.

atthewelles Fri 25-Jan-13 16:26:30

I defrosted some bolognaise sauce yesterday and put the pasta on to cook. When I went to heat up the bolognaise it was chicken casserole confused.

So tonight's dinner is chicken casserole with mash and peas.

HearMyRoar Fri 25-Jan-13 17:44:49

Yesterday I failed completely, I was so knackered after another night of barely any sleep and the kitchen was mayhem due to new washing machine delivery, I ended up phoning dp and begging him to pick up soup on the way home blush

Skipped work early today and made a lovely sausages thing using up some left over veg bits in the fridge.

BerylStreep Fri 25-Jan-13 17:50:50

Well I have just looked in my 'Rice & Grains' box in the cupboard. Honestly, who knew there was such a range, and it would appear that in some carb induced 'rice and grain' trance I have bought it all, with the intention of allowing it to languish in my cupboard. I have:

Fragrant thai rice
Brown rice
Basmati rice
wild rice
camargue red rice
arborio risotto rice
millet seeds
red & white quinoa
bulgar wheat
cous cous

Have found a recipe for quiche with a brown rice crust, which I will try tomorrow.

jenduck Fri 25-Jan-13 17:52:54

I also had a bit of a failure yesterday blush as DH was very late home, again <bloody trains> so he just got chippy chips on the way home. Then today we took the kids for free fish & chips at BHS (well, free if you buy a hot drink, so cost us just over £5 for 3 x fish & chips). link if anyone's interested in free food grin

So, tomorrow we will probably have the ham & mushroom pies we didn't have yesterday & then may roast a leg/shoulder of lamb from the freezer on Sunday & use leftover meat throughout the week.

Mum2Fergus Fri 25-Jan-13 17:53:42

Mash and sausages courtesy of freezer, onion and carrots from veg drawer and gravy. Doing a pasta thing tomorrow, chilli and wedges on Sunday...getting there smile

Today's dinner is

Hot and spicy chicken wings (from bbq last July) and uncle Ben's rice).

Virgil Fri 25-Jan-13 19:21:26

Berylstreep I'm also going to try to do the toiletries thing. We have loads lurking around.

DCs have had fishfingers sandwiches (full roast beef dinner at school today) followed by apple pie from the freezer. DH and I are having freezer amb stew with dumplings. Yum

Virgil Fri 25-Jan-13 19:23:01

I'd advise against the brown rice crust on the quiche. We have chickens so eat a lot of quiche. The time I tried to do a rice crust, the lot ended up in the bin. It was truly disgusting.

Would be interested in the recipe if it works though!

I'm watching this with interest! We emigrated last year so tried to eat all our food up. After a while, I got fed up of trying to feed the children tinned beans and custard and broadly gave up. However, we did take a packing box full of unopened packets of dried goods (sadly only those within sell by dates) to a food bank. Might be worth considering for those of you moving house! It saves throwing things away, and hopefully really helped some people.

I've just had another baby, so we're currently living out of the freezer (and the largesse of neighbours) but when I come to cooking again, I think the store cupboard could pretty much see us through a nuclear winter! Which might be just as well as it's just started snowing here (east coast of the US) and can apparently snow for a very long time.

ZenNudist Fri 25-Jan-13 19:40:54

I have been trying to use up freezer stuff for a while, it's just got full of random bits. I don't have much 'naice' stuff in there, certainly no joints of meat or steaks!

My cupboards are a nightmare, I have way too many spices that don't get used, plus the randomy things like tinned mackerel or jars if artichokes that seem like a good idea at the time but never ever get used.

BerylStreep Fri 25-Jan-13 19:59:42

Zen - what about a tapas themed meal - artichokes, mackerel pate etc.

Funny, I have a tin of artichokes and I can't remember why.

Am doing the rice crust quiche tomorrow, so will let you know how it goes.

Leilandri Fri 25-Jan-13 20:45:47

Had enchiladas for tea tonight (made a few months ago and frozen) and chippy chips for tea.
Did re-stock freezer somewhat today when shopping, as I added 6x 4pts of milk and 9 loaves of bread, but these will only last a fortnight!!

Homemade pizza for tea tomorrow using up dough frozen ages ago, and also a pot of frozen pizza sauce, and some frozen grated mozzarella.

thereistheball Sat 26-Jan-13 01:50:09

We are doing this. We've eaten really well this week. I don't want to have to do any cooking til the end of the month so without having to put together elaborate meals from individual ingredients, we will be eating:

-chorizo and chickpea stew (from cupboard, with frozen onions)
-bacon sandwiches (or - better - salad, if I can get a bag of fresh spinach)
-frozen beef stew with baked potatoes
-roast lamb shanks and veg
-some kind of puff pastry tart (maybe courgette and cherry tomato, with frozen fresh pesto)
-pasta puttanesca
-egg-fried rice with peas, ham, sweet corn
-breaded fish with lemon, garlic and coriander sauce, and veg

HearMyRoar Sat 26-Jan-13 16:39:57

Homemade left over bits pizza in the oven for dinner tonight. Its got chicken, sausage, cherry toms, aubergine, onion and some tomato sauce from a jar hanging about in the back of a cupboard. Yum! grin

UniS Sat 26-Jan-13 17:18:26

Yesterday tea- jacket spud with tinned tuna and crudities ( not a freezer clear, but part of the fridge clear.)

Lunch today - scones ( freezer)
Today tea - stir fry pork with noodles. Completing the veg from fridge clear, pork from freezer.

Virgil Sat 26-Jan-13 17:34:38

Lunch was bacon sandwiches and dinner is about to be chicken risotto using chicken, onions and wine dregs all from the freezer.

gaelicsheep Sat 26-Jan-13 17:36:20

I'm reading this hoping none of you gets snowed in before you've restocked!

Ruprekt Sat 26-Jan-13 17:38:54

My freezer is stacked with Waitrose reduced food!

Atm we have

pork fillet
2 monkfish fillets - £2
pork joint - £3
minced beef x 3
minced pork x 1
prawns x 5 packets
cod x 2
garlic, parsley and coriander
2 x goat cheese garlic bread
scotch pancakes
bread x 2

Tonight we are having tilapia fillets with veggies. Not sure what boys are having.

gaelicsheep Sat 26-Jan-13 17:40:52

But I'm also having freezer envy envy

Virgil Sat 26-Jan-13 17:58:44

We are already snowed in with nearly 10 inches of snow. But I reCkon the two freezers and my store cupboard could feed us for two months so I'm not panicking yet grin

Leilandri Sat 26-Jan-13 20:10:33

Added some bits TO the freezer today hmm but only what is needed on the months meal plan, so will all be gone by end of Feb, taking more of the freezer inhabitants with it too! smile

Roast chicken tomorrow (chook from freezer) with fresh roasties, but sprouts, cauli cheese and broccoli from freezer, 1/2 packet of stuffing mix from cupboard too.

thereistheball Sun 27-Jan-13 03:04:58

Hah - confidently promised DH beef stew last night only to find I'd defrosted pork and lentil soup instead. It was delicious though.

I've only just found this thread, but may I join you?

! have been eating my way through my freezer and cupboards for the last couple of weeks. I'm moving from the US to the UK in a couple of months. DH and DCs have already gone, so I am eating all the things that I've bought over the last few years months that I like and they don't - e.g. couscous, quinoa, beans and pulses.

I might crack and go shopping tomorrow - I am missing green veg/salad now that I've used up all the frozen fruit.

BerylStreep Sun 27-Jan-13 09:05:43

Hi Neither, welcome!

I did my brown rice crust quiche yesterday. It was really good, although I might experiment a bit more with the texture.

Will post the recipe later.

jenduck Sun 27-Jan-13 09:54:38

Welcome to the newcomers & lurkers!

Today we will be attacking the 2kg leg of lamb that was in our chest freezer. My parents & nan are coming to help us with this mammoth task & it will be accompanied by roast potatoes (bought the other day), roast carrots & parsnips from the fridge, cauliflower cheese from the fridge & yorkshire puddings (fridge/storecupboard). We won't do a pudding as such as we have still got at least 4 tins of biscuits & more chocolate than a Cadbury's factory left from Christmas!

Also like the idea of using up toiletries, I have loads of half bottles of things! Had a very bubbly bath last night to start the ball rolling!

Virgil Sun 27-Jan-13 13:36:37

We've just had chicken pie made from chicken from the freezer, frozen leeks, a handful of frozen peas, some carrots from the freezer and a handful of pearl barley. Had it with roast potatoes. Yum

Tonight it's tomato soup and bad rolls.

Have just raided the old toiletries box to find some soap rather than buy it

Leilandri Sun 27-Jan-13 15:27:55

Found a carrier bag of frozen chicken carcasses whilst rummaging today, so will add them to the one from dinner tonight and make some stock for the planned risotto later in the week smile

Also defrosted some apple puree and blackberries to make a yummy crumble. Unfortunately made enough for 2, so one has back INTO the freezer hmm
Oh well, atleast that is an easy pud another time!

I have made:

Tomato and chickpea soup, with the last handful of orzo pasta chucked in for good measure.

Rice and red beans (had some kidney beans left over from soup I made earlier in the week), onions and paprika from store cupboard.

Cous cous with dried cranberries and sunflower seeds (see what I mean about DH and DCs not liking the same food as I do?). Added bonus - the recipe I found on the internet had maple syrup in the dressing, so I got to use some of that up too instead of having to make pancakes for breakfast.

I will alternate the soup and cous cous for lunch every day this week. I have enough left overs in the freezer for dinner (although it could get a bit monotonous - there are 4 portions of risotto grin).

While exploring the fridge I came across a tub of crumbled blue cheese that had a sell by of June 2012 blush. I must have bought it to put into salads, and not got round to using it. It looked and smelt fine, so i'm going to turn it into soup smile.

My freezer is filling up with little plastic tubs of soup. I should keep a list, I've defrosted a few mysteries over the last couple of weeks grin.

redmayneslips Sun 27-Jan-13 20:53:27

Oooh, I love this thread! I bought some supplies in Aldi 2 weeks ago and added them to store and freezer stuff I had and we lived off it for 2 weeks - so cheap!

Today I spent £80 between tescos and Aldi (this included washing powder, luxuries like icecream etc) and now I reckon with what's left in the cupboards I have enough food to make the following:

Meatballs with fresh cherry tomoto sauce, parmesan and herb foccaccia X 2 lots of dinners so some for the freezer
Stirfry jumbo prawns with veg and chilli noodles
Terryaki chicken with rice and veg
broccoli & brie quiche
frozen beef stew with cauliflower cheese and baked potatoes
Frozen creamy chicken pasta with herbed foccacia
Fish pie x 2 dinners
baked salmon with sugar snaps and fresh pesto and baked potatoes x 2
chicken kievs with frozen peas and mash / baked potatoes
crispy bacon, pancakes and maple syrup
sausage, egg and homemade wedges
smoked haddock fish cakes, peas and salad (need to buy salad)
Chinese crispy duck with pancakes and hoi sin sauce X 2 lots
mushroom and porcini pasta (nigella's new book)
chinese pork with veg and jasmine rice
orange and thyme pork chops with cauliflower cheese and baked potatoes
frozen pizzas with homemade wedges and salad
couscous with roast veg and prawns
lentil soup with homemade bread

So that is 24 dinners taken care of - not bad going really and I know I have jars of curry sauce / pasta sauce etc that could be rustled up at a stretch if I needed to, so prob another 5 or 6 dinners there. Love it!

I'm coming round now redmayne, your list sounds lovely!

DIYapprentice Sun 27-Jan-13 22:11:08

So far I haven't been to the shops this week for anything bar sandwich making materials for the DSs' lunchboxes.

We have had:
pork roast (with some damn good crackling if I may say so myself!!grin)
battered fish with chips
chicken risotto
slow cooked lamb shanks in a casserole (first attempt at slow cooker cooking!)
chicken stir fry
chicken & veg pasta bake
sweetcorn fritters (with polenta)

Really happy with that, actually. Have also made some lamb stock this evening, and will make some chicken stock tomorrow with some frozen carcasses. Will make a chunky lamb soup one evening this week, and have some tacos as well.

The fridge is now running very low, and the freezer is getting reduced. Will now scramble through the cupboard and see what I can use up for some meals. Might have to buy some meat though but will try to stretch it further than I usually do.

What is super nice to make with left over roast pork?

TomDudgeon Sun 27-Jan-13 22:12:24

I say myself this challenge a bit back
Was doing well, not much in freezer and cupboards starting to look bare

Now dh has been made redundant and we have no resources to fall back on

I'm never going to do it again

sad Tom. Sorry to hear that.

DIYapprentice Sun 27-Jan-13 22:50:09

Tom - So sorry to hear that. But most people are doing this because January is a tough month financially, and they are doing it to get ahead. (I know I am!)

Aethelfleda Sun 27-Jan-13 23:03:06

Oh no Tom, sorry to hear that. A lot of the stuff we've been using up has been things that have just been sat at the back of the cupboard so it's as much about turning things over as emptying them
Up. If you need to restock with limited budget then can you use a combination of BOGOF offers (freezing the duplicates), doing the two-things-for-store rule (each shop, however small, you buy two cheap things "for the cuPboard). Or consider bulk buys like those on Approved Food (it does vary a lot how things are priced, but sometimes bulk stuff is very cheap on there. Still working through some of the rather tasty Polish packet soup we got on there at 30 packets for £1!)

Tonight was homemeade spag bolognaise with lettuce and feta-a-like salad. My middle freezer drawer now only contains ice trays and a lot of fishfingers!

Leilandri Mon 28-Jan-13 08:26:02

Sorry to hear that Tom I'm doing this as we have a few extra bills to pay in January, so I'm trying to save where we can. Would also like to defrost the freezer as it hasn't been done for a year!
Approved Foods is great. We're slowly munching through the packets of Thai red curry paste that we got (20 for £1) and the Fabulous Baking Boy muffins (great for lunchboxes 90 for £1!)
DIY left over pork is super yummy in fajitas ;)

Lasagne for tea today (mince, sweetcorn, peppers from freezer, sauce, pasta sheets and bechamel sauce from cupboard) with garlic bread (freezer)

Mum2Fergus Mon 28-Jan-13 08:35:47

So another frugal w/end under my belt smile lunch today with DS will be soup/sandwich...TexMex dinner tonight using up a few bits n pieces-chicken wings, potato wedges and onion rings. Chicken casserole tomorrow...

jenduck Mon 28-Jan-13 09:38:14

Tom sorry to hear about your DH sad For me (and I was the one who started this thread!) I think this challenge is very much about not having 3-year old pieces of meat/fish in the freezer that I could not use because they had gone off. And also not paying out so much in January, as this has been a very tough month for us in terms of unexpected expenses. If you need to stock up again cheaply, have you thought of visiting supermarkets when they do their reductions? Staff will tell you when this is & you can get things for 25% of their original price (this is mainly what my freezers are full of!).

Dinner today is the remainder of last night's leg of lamb, currently in the slow cooker with some swede & carrots from the freezer & the leftover gravy from yesterday. There is also some yorkshire batter left, so may have pancakes as a snack later smile

BiddyPop Mon 28-Jan-13 09:41:51

I finally used up the 3 old leeks in the fridge last night with salmon and mash, with leftovers to have with some pasta and grated cheddar tonight.

I also put a list of the relatively easy meals I have to hand on the fridge door, so that I can use up some of them. And au pair will have ideas too from it. There's about 20 on there without even looking at "hmm, what can I make with these" type meals.

This week I only bought salmon for yesterday, and otherwise no meat or cupboard items. Milk, bread, fresh fruit and veg, and loo roll.

Tom, sorry to hear about your DH, I hope you'll find inspiration from here for cheap meals. If you have one near you, Asian supermarkets often have things a lot cheaper than main SM's - big bags of rice, spices, tins of coconut milk, bags of pulses etc, might be worth a look if you have any near you.

mrspink27 Mon 28-Jan-13 16:13:48

Ssssh! I nearly have ....

an empty shelf in my freezer!!!!! smile

Ruprekt Mon 28-Jan-13 16:42:09

MrsPink - DH would love me to have an empty shelf in the freezer.

It is actually impossible to fit anything else in!

Problem was I went to Waitrose for milk just as the lady was reducing everything down. It would have been stupid to ignore lamb at 99p, venison at 67p, cod at 55p etc etc so my freezer is stocked again!

Tonight I am having chicken wrapped in parma ham and asparagus with celeriac chips and spinach.
Boys are having fishfingers and beans.

Perhaps we should have a new rule that when we put anything into our freezer we put a date on it to be eaten by.

I'm going to go through my freezer tomorrow and make a list of what I have in there and then plan Feb dinners/lunches from what in there.

northender Mon 28-Jan-13 17:37:05

where I've just planned our feb meals after another freezer stock take. Today I retrieved an old bread roll and some chocolate pud from the freezer. dh had a nice lunch with the roll and the dc will have yummy puds tonight smile

Aethelfleda Mon 28-Jan-13 18:46:16

Ooh, my freezer is really getting cleared out: lots of pasta portions for easy re-heating, the only meat left is two packets of chicken breast strips, a small packet of prawns, and some scampi/fishfingers. This really is the point where I need to resist stocking it all up again! DH does like his animal protein though, so meat shopping will occur at some point. I think I'll do prawn and lentil curry tonight to work on the frozen lentil mountain!

northender Mon 28-Jan-13 19:39:18

Well the chocolate pudding has gone down well with the dc and the haggis we had for tea tonight from * years ago was scrummy. I think I am almost into food that is less than a year old in the freezer now grin

Leilandri Mon 28-Jan-13 20:34:33

Was supposed to be lasagne for tea tonight (took mince out of freezer ready) but DS1 went to a teatime Bday party which ran on, so got home too late to be arsed to cook it. We have chicken stirfry instead, which was on the menu for tomorrow. Left over chicken from yesterday, bag of frozen stirfry veg, noodles and sauce from cupboard.
Guess it will be lasagne tomorrow instead smile

Tomorrow we are having chicken soupy stew or stewy soup depending on your choice of words grin.

Made from leftover chicken and chicken bone stock from dd1 birthday on sunday.

Leilandri is frozen stir fry veg ok? Didn't even know of its existence but sounds useful!

Today I'm going to
a) go through freezer & make list of what's in there/ chuck out undesirably ancient stuff then
b) make list of what to buy to make use of what's left

Thanks for tips biddy and putit !

Leilandri Tue 29-Jan-13 18:56:19

Notquite I always buy it, as I forget to use fresh stir fry veg and it goes off so quick. The one I buy is from Morrisons, and is good. Has water chestnuts, peppers, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, onion in. £1 a bag. Great added to some noodles/rice and only takes a few minutes to cook through smile

Lasagne tonight. With garlic bread made from some frozen foccacia rolls

redmayneslips Tue 29-Jan-13 19:32:33

We had the meatballs with cherry tomato sauce last night and will finish it off tonight - may steak a couple of small portions for the freezer for dd as she really liked it and it is so handy to have a proper instant dinner for her for nights when we are having something she is not mad about.

I had some very nice croissants I picked up on sunday, but it was after breakfast / brunch time and they were just wasting away in the cupboard to today I made cheese and ham croissants for lunch - they were delicious!

I nipped into M&S (fatal mistake for me!) after work to grab some fruit and came out with waaaay too much gorgeous food as always - so hard to resist in there! Got a meal deal thingy too, so might have that tomorrow night, had been planning Nigel Slaters Sausage & Mash Supper as it is so delicious and is a winner with all of us. MIght still have that and have the honey roast gammon Thursday night instead.

I need to get more inspired for lunches though, or start to make more soup. I have to make it the night before and I am tired from work these evenings so rarely feel like making the effort to cook lunch as well as dinner.

They were selling lots of stuff off in M&S so got things like mini pork pies for buttons and a few things for the freezer. I also bought their frozen rice and veg for making egg fried rice and another one - veg and potatoes for roasting, it has a basil dressing according to the pack and looks like a handy thing to have i the freezer!

I am trying not to let my freezer get too over stocked, ever since the time we went away for 2 nights, came back to find something had tripped the socket and the entire contents of my freezer had to be dumped, I cried as I had stockpiled some fillet steak (on offer), a whole wild salmon (bil is a fisherman), 2 whole free-range chickens, tons of homemade cakes etc and all of it went in the bin. Now I try to buy what I will use within a week or two.

Have listed what's in out 'big' freezer - and added 2 lots of chicken stew.

Will do the small freezer in the kitchen and cupboards tomorrow then I will do a menu plan using as much as I can from what we have.

HearMyRoar Tue 29-Jan-13 20:19:30

Restocked my freezer over the weekend so it is now full of meat and bread. It is only little though so I get to restart the freezer emptying challenge every few weeks grin

HearMyRoar Tue 29-Jan-13 20:23:49

Forgot to add, left overs quiche had yesterday used for lunch today and probably tomorrow. Chicken and random roast veg using up the bits in the fridge before I buy fresh stuff. Anything not included in that will go in some soup as I want to have some to go in the freezer for Tuesdays which as a bit crazy dinnertime wise and need something super quick ready.

I used up my old blue cheese in soup - made enough for dinner last night and tonight, and another 3 portions went in the freezer for work lunches. I finished the last of the cous cous for lunch today. Tonight I will be finishing the rice and beans from the weekend, along with some mushrooms that were getting wrinkly in the fridge which I cooked with onion, garlic, lemon juice, paprika and chilli.

My problem is I love to cook, so I get things out of the cupboards/freezer to use up, and end up making enough for a small army and needing to freeze the left overs.

FellatioNels0n Wed 30-Jan-13 03:00:42

Minestrone is a great user upper of leftovers. You can use all or any of the following: the stock from a boiled up chicken carcass, a dry old lump of parmesan rind, any veg that's a bit past its best, shredded up small (can be a winter minestrone with root veg, cabbage etc, or a summer one with lettuce.) A good way to use the last few frozen peas or green beans in the bag as well. A GREAT way to use up dried beans and pulses. And either small leftover bits of bacon, pork or ham. And any stray bits of pasta, when you are left with not enough to make a proper pasta meal. You can make loads then freeze it.

ethelb Wed 30-Jan-13 16:48:56

Finally found out when DP will finally get paid, and its not until 14 feb, so we are extending the cubgrub challenge.

Here is the meal plan (confession: we spent £20 on essentials last night)

Tuesday: spag + garlic + chilli (yesterday)
Wednesday: fish And veg
Thursday: leon aloo gobi
Friday: lamb curry
Saturday: chicken and veg
Sunday: beef and veg
Monday: beef sanwiches
Tuesday: bunny paella
Wednesday: chilli con carne
Thursday: yorkshires and veg and gravy
Friday: chickpea curry and dahl
Saturday: fish finger sarnies
Sunday: something on toast
Monday: veg something
Tuesday: pancakes!!
Wednesday: chicken and veg
Thursday: cottage pie
Friday: pasta bake

ethelb Wed 30-Jan-13 16:50:21

Oh and I am already panicking about the cost of the shop I am going to have to do on February 15th!!

(to add to the above lunches are veg soup and hm bread/crackers, bfast is toast/museli/porridge)

ethelb Wed 30-Jan-13 16:59:04

@redmayne that kind of occurence is often covered on contents insurance.

Thanks Leilandri re: frozen stir fry, will look out for that.

Fresh stir fry seems to go off before you've even returned from the shops, & since the point of stir-fry is usually to use up odds & ends from the fridge it would make sense to have this veg mix on hand in the freezer!

Done freezer reconciliation, binned ancient fish fillets & several unidentified items. Found enough meat, veg & various sauces to last until next week.

But still managed to spend far too much at Sainsburys this afternoon shock. Need to get more of a grip!

grin at cubgrub ethelb

ethelb Thu 31-Jan-13 09:28:18

@neither another MN'er referred to cubgrub days which were factored into her meal planning!

BiddyPop Thu 31-Jan-13 09:51:31

I am so busy this week that I am not actually eating properly - so I am using up a lemon cake from fridge rather than dinners. I had planned on things like lamb meatballs with pasta, and chicken (fajitas 1 night, w/mushrooms in white wine sauce another) last week - none of which happened. At least I was able to freeze the meats with space cleared in freezer.

AP made a veggie curry last night, which looks nice (I will eat some tonight, I had to talk to DMum last night so put me in too bad form and made DD's bedtime difficult, so I just went stratight to bed at 9 once DD was settled). Used up a sauce and lots of veg from fridge.

I will make something from freezer tomorrow (DD and AP are having pizza using bases from fridge and odds and sods they find), and DH is taking us all out to Milanos (our version of Pizza Express) on Sat to celebrate his homecoming. I might do the meatballs and pasta on Sunday.

HearMyRoar Fri 01-Feb-13 18:36:56

For a minute there biddy I read that as you are having lemon cake for dinner grin

Sausages tonight, pizza tomorrow. Yay!

chasingtail Sat 02-Feb-13 19:04:48

fab...marking place

HearMyRoar Sat 02-Feb-13 19:25:41

Well, I just prepared some strawberry ice cream using some squashy strawberries I'd put in the freezer before they went bad. I'll put it in the ice cream maker tomorrow. Now I get to eat ice cream and feel virtuous. grin

BiddyPop Mon 04-Feb-13 13:02:57

HearMyRoar blush you read right. I was too depressed after the bad week and my mum on top of it...

Yesterday, we had the chicken and mushrooms in white wine and cream sauce.

Today, we are having lamb meatballs with pasta, tomato sauce and lots of veggies.

Tomorrow, DD and AP are having battered fish and oven chips (DH and I are having a nice pasta dish as it is our anniversary and we cannot get out for it alone tomorrow, last weekend, next weekend or all this week - it will actually be maybe the Friday night of 2 weeks time!! or else the night before he goes away again in 3 weeks).

AP is cooking Wed.

Thurs, I am planning on chicken fajitas, and Fri will probably be something quick and easy but from stocks rather than takeaway.

The only meat I bought this weekend was some sausages (don't get to that supermarket regularly and they make a lovely dinner - and can be frozen). And spent very little on other stuff too.

Last night, DH and I finished off the last of the chocolate cake DD and I had made last Sunday - just heated in microwave for 20s and it was fine! I still have about 3 slices of the lemon cake to use up.

Could you use the lemon cake as pudding with custard.

BiddyPop Tue 05-Feb-13 10:08:09

Where, I could do that, but I had a large slice last night (after dinner though, so not as bad as last week) and there is only 1 large slice left that I'll probably eat tonight straight up with my cup of tea.....

I am not putting on pounds despite this badness - but I need to get rid of it (that's the last cake) so that the LOSING pounds regime kicks in again (I have at least a stone to lose before a wedding in May).

Aethelfleda Mon 18-Feb-13 15:24:36

Hiya, fell off the thread due tO house-moving woes...but it's all back on again so here I am!
Cupboard clearing and freezer emptying going well here, we had christmas pud and custard for pudding yesterday smile have another one still to use so it's all festive over here!!
Tonights dinner will be pre-frozen homemade chicken curry and rice as I have two portions left, the DDs have been admirably tackling many portions of macaroni cheese and pasta pesto: I always make double/triple and freeze leftovers with stuff like that cos then I can defrost DS a portion in 90 seconds. And how many fishfingers do YOU have lurking in yor freezer? I confess a habit of bunging in a packet to the trolley automatically as they are so cheap and easy and I luffs them ...

I have until next week to finish the stocks, but would like to defrost the freezer before we move if I can....

Aethelfleda Fri 22-Feb-13 09:16:48

Whoah, thread killer! Has EVERYBODY run out of food??!!

I'm down to one freezer drawer and a half empty cupboard. I actually had enough room (and motivation) to completely deep clean the fridge/freezer the other day- this is unheard of as usually I do it surrounded by huge piles of freezer stuf in boxes!!

However, there is discontent in my cupboards as the remaining stock is clearly aware something is afoot. The tin of Spam is watching me with suspicion. And I think the last packet of Fishfingers may be planning to tunnel out before they are selected....

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now