Does anyone fancy joining me in a two week challenge to use what's in the cupboard and freezer?

(36 Posts)
SubliminalMassaging Tue 10-Sep-13 05:31:43

I must confess that for the most part this won't be too difficult for me. I always shop and cater for England, stick useable leftovers in the freezer, forget half the things I have lurking at the back of the cupboard or the bottom of the freezer, and drag another 20 carry bags home each week. hmm

I am running out of cupboard space, feeling a little guilty about waste (especially of fresh fruit and veg) and more than a little guilty about the money I spend on having stuff tons of storecupboard stuff I never get round to using.

I'm not insisting I/you buy nothing at all - just that I am going to try to plan menus for the next two weeks or so based around as many ingredients as possible that I know I already have.

Who's in?

Tonight I am going to make Martha Stewart's Farmhouse chowder here.

I have all of the ingredients except the swede so I will put some diced potato in instead. I do have the turnips though. I will also add a bit of leftover celery, and will chop and fry up the two rashers of streaky bacon I have in the fridge, and add that. I might top it with some small squares of ready made puff pastry I've had knocking around in the back of the freezer forever, so it's more of an unreconstructed chicken pie.

SubliminalMassaging Tue 10-Sep-13 05:34:46

I realise the above does not particularly sound like a frugal meal of leftovers. blush

But I imagine I'll be scraping the bottom of a rather more humble barrel with in a week or so, if it's any consolation. grin

mrspremise Tue 10-Sep-13 18:43:16

Subliminal, that chowder looks amazing, I've just pinned it to my Food for Living board on Pinterest for later in the week. Thanks for the link! smile

SubliminalMassaging Tue 10-Sep-13 20:25:01

I didn't actually make it in the end - I didn't start it early enough. blush Going to have it tomorrow instead now.

I did have chicken though, roasted in a bag with some homemade orange, coriander and chilli butter (that I had in the freezer left over from a previous recipe) pushed under the skin of the chicken and then I tossed in some garlic and coriander seasoning powder. It was delicious and moist with a lovely flavorsome, buttery juice. I served it with some leftover saffron rice that was in the freezer, to which I added some small bits of chorizo fried up, some chopped peppers and some fresh parsley.

I have spent the entire day doing a full inventory of every single thing in my kitchen cupboards, fridge and freezer. It's a very long inventory. About 15 pages. hmm

JollyGolightly Tue 10-Sep-13 21:38:42

I'm always resolving to do this! Today I made a storecupboard/freezer risotto which included some chorizo the kids gave DH for his birthday in May, and a hidden veg/tomato sauce I usually have bags of in the freezer. One of the DC is a picky toddler but adores rice so we eat it a lot and I try to smuggle in as many nourishing bits as possible.

Tomorrow I must do something with noodles. I accidentally multiplied the number I wanted in the online shop and they cause an avalanche every time I open the cupboard.

acsec Tue 10-Sep-13 21:43:03

I had this thought the other day, when I attempted to get something in the brimming freezer and then got caught in a tin can avalanche from the cupboard!

Last night we had toad in the hole using milk and sausages from the freezer.
Tonight DSS had a ready meal from freezer (Cubs night so quick meal) and I had some very tasty shepherds pie, also from the freezer.

Not sure about tomorrow night yet!

sharond101 Tue 10-Sep-13 22:11:49

I am currently doing this as I have an obssession with food shopping and seem to buy buy buy then need to do a couple of weeks using everything up to make room for more. Last night we had enchiladas which were batch cooked and frozen two weeks ago. Tonight we had chicken and noodle stir fry. Tomorrow is river cobbler which has been in freezer for 4 weeks now.

SubliminalMassaging Wed 11-Sep-13 06:48:43

I seem to have tons of cucumber for some odd reason! Not easy to do anything inventive with cucumber is it? confused

I'm deffo doing the chicken chowder thing tonight, and tomorrow I think it will be the Gordon Ramsay char siew pork recipe here using a pork belly piece I have in the freezer. It will help me get through my glut of opened bottles of oriental sauces and marinades and I have all the other ingredients to hand so no shopping involved. It's a two day recipe though, so I might not get to eat it until Friday, depending on how soon the pork defrosts!

I have half a --wilting- chinese cabbage in the fridge and loads of cucumber so I'm sure I can knock up some steamed greens and noodles in a soy sauce, or a chilli and cucumber dipping sauce or something.

I have some chinese pancake/egg roll wrapper things in the freezer so I can shred up the leftovers and make spring rolls. I'll just have to buy some spring onions and bean sprouts.

SubliminalMassaging Wed 11-Sep-13 06:49:06

What is river cobbler?

sharond101 Wed 11-Sep-13 17:04:01

River Cobbler is a white fish

SubliminalMassaging Wed 11-Sep-13 19:24:56

Chicken chowder was lovely, I added some bacon and leeks and celery. I have loads left to freeze.

My char siew belly of pork is now cooking overnight in the sous vide, ready for roasting/crisping tomorrow. Will do a sort of pickled cucumber relish/salad and some steamed chinese cabbage to go with it.

I have decided on Malaysian lamb murtabak next. It's like a sort of stuffed and rolled paratha, with a filling of spiced lamb mince and vegetables, topped with a Malaysian coconutty curry sauce. I have been toasting and grinding my own Malaysian curry masala powder today. Just need to buy some lamb mince.

frenchfancy Thu 12-Sep-13 11:59:11

We decided to dpi this starting yesterday. I've managed to dpi a meal plan for 2 weeks with what we have in particular, which will save us about 300€.

I was inspired by watching a you tube video of Jamie Oliver talking to Martin Lewis.

Yesterday was homemade fish fingers using fish from the freezer and some stale bread. I also made a plum and almond cake with some plums I've had hanging around for a week.

SubliminalMassaging Thu 12-Sep-13 19:45:07

The char siu belly of pork was absolutely divine even if it was a bit of a faff. I had the pork in the freezer and all the other ingredients were in the cupboard. We had a Nigel Slater recipe of green beans sir-fried with fermented black beans, (which I happened to have a tin of) chilli, garlic and ginger with it which was lovely.The rest of the black beans have gone int he freezer for another day. I didn't have many green beans but I had half a white cabbage so I shredded that up and bunged it in as well and it was gorgeous.

We are out for a drinks party thing tomorrow, so not sure whether we'll need dinner or not yet, but if we do then all I have to buy is some lamb mince and I'll make the Malaysian Murtabak thing mentioned upthread. I think I'll buy it anyway and if we don't have it tomorrow then we'll have it on Saturday.

frenchfancy Thu 12-Sep-13 20:07:42

Subliminal surely the whole point is you use up what you've got not go out and buy more. I bet you've still got some meat in the freezer, so use that.

SubliminalMassaging Fri 13-Sep-13 08:02:07

Well yes it is in a way, but like I said I am not on some massive frugality drive - I just want to make best use of all the half used, long ago opened jars and bottles of cooking ingredients, endless spices and speciality flours, pulses etc, small quantities of 'useful leftovers' in the freezer and random bits of vegetables before they go wilty and get chucked.

I'm forcing myself to think carefully about each meal in advance and to make use of as much as possible that's already in the house, instead of doing my usual thing of going round the supermarket in a clueless fashion, buying things that I've forgotten I already have, and having no specific meal plan in mind.

And actually I don't have masses of meat in my freezer at the moment, which is unusual for me, but I am making plans for what is there! Most of it seems to be bacon though.

I have decided to make this to take to the drinks party thing tonight as I don't have to buy a single thing to make it. I also have some feta cheese that needs using asap and I am going to add that to it. I have a bit of leek leftover from making the chowder the other day so I will put that in with the onions. Will eat something quick out of the freezer like chilli con carne before we go, and make the lamb thing tomorrow instead.

SubliminalMassaging Fri 13-Sep-13 08:12:05

I still have a turnip, and a couple of carrots threatening to die soon. I was watching that dinner Date programme on iplayer last night and a woman made 'lamb crumble' which was basically a shepherd's pie but with a savoury cheesy crumble topping instead of potatoes, which looked great, and I thought it would be even better with the addition of a bit of dry English mustard powder. If I buy a bit more lamb mince I can get two very different dinners without having to buy anything else. I can use up my ailing turnip and carrots!

frenchfancy Fri 13-Sep-13 08:34:40

That onion tart look delicious.

Chilli for us tonight. I was thinking I needed to buy some kidney beans, then remembered that there was a pack of dried beans lurking at the back of the cupboard so they are now soaking. Lunch tomorrow is tomato tart, with our own tomatoes. I might make some rough puff pastry for that.

I know I'm late but I'm in. I have just checked my 'stock' and I will be having some odd combinations in the coming weeksgrin and have to admit to a serious hoarding problem. I'm seemingly mindlessly buying stuff I already have and it's taken this thread to bring it to my attention.
I am also trying to save money (or rather not spend what I haven't got) so am aiming for a fortnight spending only ten pound a week on milk and f & v.

So my rough plan for the next few days is

Today- sausages with a green lentil, carrot and bacon casserole. (going off carrots, tin of lentils, last two rashers of bacon from a packet, and defrosted chipolatas)
Tomorrow- baked trout with new potatoes and broccoli (frozen trout and broccoli)
Tuesday- homemade flatbread with a red lentil and split pea dhal. (using the two half packs of red lentils and yellow split peas knocking about, as well as some of my vast collection of flour)
Wednesday- lamb meatballs in a spicy tomato sauce (frozen lamb mince and spicy sauce made a few Weeks ago and frozen) with cous cous, which I have two packets of- neither opened.
Thursday- spaghetti carbonara with frozen bacon and one of the fourshock packets of spaghetti I have collected.

Beyond that I'm not planned, but for lunches we will be eating the variety of soups/casserols/pasta bakes and pies that I lovingly made only to put into the very expensive bin that my freezer has become.

I too have a glut of egg noodles, so will make a laksa in the coming Weeks to use some as well as a tin of coconut milk and the chopped chilis in the freezer- beyond that I'm somewhat stumped with what to do with them. Why have I been buying packets of egg noodles I've no idea what to do with?!

samuraispider Sun 15-Sep-13 10:16:44

I'm doing this at the mo. Using cupboard/freezer/fridge stuff and only buying exactly what we need as necessary.

beccaamuseyourbouche Sun 15-Sep-13 10:33:31

Haha I always say I'll do this and then I find I need to buy a particular ingredient to make something for my cooking blog and I give in and go shopping.

Frittatas and curries are a great way to use up veg from the fridge that are starting to get old smile

frenchfancy Sun 15-Sep-13 11:10:19

Didn't have time to do the tomato tart yesterday so just made up some tuna mayo.

Pastry is resting in the fridge now so tart is on for lunch. We had a rib of beef in the freezer so it is roast beef and yorkshire pudding tonight.

Tomorrow is probably aubergine curry, Tuesday is pasta.

SubliminalMassaging Sun 15-Sep-13 14:27:47

Right ladies - where am I up to? Let me see. I can confirm that the onion tart was indeed delicious but the quantity of onions in that recipe was twice as much as was needed, and I now have a ton of caramelised onions in the freezer, so am going round in circles somewhat, creating yet more leftovers in a bit to use some up. grin

Yesterday we ate out for lunch so we just grabbed some crackers and cheese etc for a light supper.

Today. I bought two packs of lamb mince the other day for the Malaysian dish I mentioned above which I still haven't made, but I'm not fussed - I'll do it eventually.

Today I have used one pack of the lamb to make a sort of shepherd's pie type thing but with a cheesy, mustardy, herby cobbler mix on top. It meant I was able to use up various bits of grated cheese and veg I had knocking around. I didn't intend to do potatoes, but I wasn't sure if my son would eat the cobbler so I'm doing mash as well now. Looks like it might be fishcakes or bubble and squeal tomorrow then. grin

I also have a glut of lentils and pulses, so will be making a dal later this week, and possibly some falafels so that my poor neglected chickpeas can finally see the light of day. I've got some naan breads and arabic flatbread type things in the freezer and loads of cucumber so that will be nice with those.

I did have to go shopping today to get son's packed lunch stuff for tomorrow but I was very restrained and didn't buy anything I didn't have a specific plan for.

SubliminalMassaging Sun 15-Sep-13 14:28:38

in a bid, not in a bit!

SubliminalMassaging Sun 15-Sep-13 14:37:35

We usually have an omelette/frittata or a homemade soup around once a fortnight, into which goes everything in the fridge that is threatening to keel over within the next day or two! It's amazing what you can put into soup or an omelette when you try!

Speaking of which I saw a really nice recipe today for a Rick Stein's Goan or Sri Lankan style (can't remember which confused) crab omelette with spring onions, covered in a coconut curry sauce. I have eggs and loads of tins of crab, and once I've made my curry sauce for the Malaysian lamb thing which I will make eventually if it kills me I'm bound to have some left over so voila! Just the spring onions to buy.

Loads of tins of crab and potatoes= Crabcakes? (yum!)

I have been trying to do more meal planning and using the various bits from the freezer, I seem to forget every time that I already have have a pie frozen, or four slices of quiche in there. Not as bad with tinned stuff, but the amount of fresh I threw away over the summer holidays was obscene- I was really annoyed with myself. There's only me and one DD so I would plan to make something for dinner, only for her to be invited out somewhere, or to end up popping out for dinner. Spent a fortune and wasted loads.

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