Does anyone fancy a 'using all the weird stuff up during November so there is room in the cupboard for Xmas goodies ' challenge?

(52 Posts)
Parsnipcake Sun 27-Oct-13 08:18:21

My food cupboards are full to bursting. With things I bought on impulse - spices, weird grains, odd noodles etc. the fridge is full of last tablespoon jars and the freezer has loads of single portion UFO's.

My plan is to clear all this during November, and as a personal challenge I am going to cut my £1000 a month food budget to £100 and use the saved money for Christmas presents. We are a familyi of 2 adults, 5 older teens and a baby.

Does anyone want to join ( set your own rules , it's about clearing cupboards and meant to be helpful) or am I the only food hoarder?

NotAnotherPackedLunch Sun 27-Oct-13 08:25:49

Great idea.

I'm making a start today with a big pot of split pea soup.
I'm not sure how I managed to accumulate 5 bags of them. blush

Then it will be onto working through my stockpile of red lentils and using up all the spoonfuls of pastes that I have in jars in my fridge too.

Parsnipcake Sun 27-Oct-13 09:05:59

Sounds like a lot of dahl in the coming month for you NAPL! I can't do split peas as I had too many ferment and stink when I was a student, but I love them if someone else cooks. Today I will be using Freekeh - a sort of green cous cous I found in our Lebanese grocers, and I also seem to have 3 bags of dried pear which I am going to incorporate into a crumble.

Dilidali Sun 27-Oct-13 09:12:11

I am in!!!
So the challenge is to spend £50 in november, on fruit and milk and some green veggies.
Thanks for the idea.

Bubbless Sun 27-Oct-13 09:17:17

Does anyone have any recipes for using the 1:2 tbsp of fish oil etc we all have sitting around?
Best make a meal from nothing recipe?!

Xiaoxiong Sun 27-Oct-13 09:49:05

I'm in. We have a big jar of chickpeas taking up huge amounts of space in the cupboard, a big bag of kale taking up the fridge and a load of last bits of Indian spices in pots - that will be the basis for dinner I think...chana punjabi and saag aloo.

InsultingBadger Sun 27-Oct-13 13:23:35

I will join you!

Nodney Sun 27-Oct-13 13:29:56

Me too! Sounds like a great idea

Clutterbugsmum Sun 27-Oct-13 13:31:46

What about homemade pot noodles. I use it as base and change whatever meat I have dying in the fridge which needs using.

NotAnotherPackedLunch Sun 27-Oct-13 13:54:31

I know it goes against the spirit of your thread Parsnipcake, but I've not had Freekeh before and now feel the urge to go out and buy some.grin
Is it tastier than quinoa, or fairly similar?

On the positive progress front, the split pea soup is ready and smells great.
Thanks for the dahl solution to the red lentil stockpiles - I hadn't got further than planning the usual lentil, tomato and grated carrot soup which will get very boring if I cook all the lentils that way.

trish5000 Sun 27-Oct-13 14:07:21

I thought I would do this, but there is nothing extra there. Discovered I needed to buy something hmm

My freezer on the other hand...

So not sure if I am eligible or not!

Parsnipcake Sun 27-Oct-13 15:13:21

Ooh so many fellow food hoarders! I suppose it would be ok to buy the freekeh if you were using up something in the whole recipe smile but I can see this as a thread where we just all end up buying even more food! Fish oil? Do you mean from a jar of anchovies? I use that as a dressing for brocolli. Homemade pot noodles seem like a great idea - they are very popular here, and freezer hoards are also welcome.

Any good recipes for odds and ends of pasta?

Dilidali Sun 27-Oct-13 16:27:41

I boil the lot, irrespective of shape, pour bechamel sauce over, grate cheese and sprinkle paprika over, oven, done.
One thing I like doing is put sweetcorn and broccoli in the middle, sandwiched by the pasta.

I love Dahl but if you're afraid of wind, do as the Indian do, add a pinch of asfoedifda when cooking blush it aids digestion and prevents wind wink

I have done exactly this today and have only seen your thread after tea.

DD and I had between us:

1 potato waffle
1 crispy pancake
3 gluten free mini sausages
2 chicken nuggets
2 slices bacon
1 fried egg
tin of beans
about 20 chips

A very strange combination, but we both quite enjoyed it smile and it has cleared a massive space in the freezer!

I have found 4 packets of noodles in the cupboard so we may be having a few stir frys.

HettiePetal Sun 27-Oct-13 23:46:41

Brilliant idea.

I have quite a few packets of things like pastry, crumble & cake mixes that I forgot to use, and they are all a month or so out of date. Does anyone know if this matters much?

Xiaoxiong Mon 28-Oct-13 11:45:25

Hettie I assume you mean a dry mix that you would add eggs/milk/fat to mix up? As long as they smell ok, I'd definitely use them.

We ended up having an odds and ends spicy soup last night - made stock from the roast chicken from lunch and any sad looking veg lurking in the basket, then threw in the roast chicken scraps, all the assorted broken noodles and bits of pasta from the pasta drawer, a lonely leek and carrot and the dregs of some random asian bottles from the cupboard (sesame oil, soy sauce, fish sauce, chili oil) which I then merrily pitched into the recycling smile

Dilidali Mon 28-Oct-13 12:12:30

Tamarind paste. I seem to have a little jar of it. I can't remember tue recipe I used it for.
Any suggestions?

Xiaoxiong Mon 28-Oct-13 12:28:36

Dili I use it for south indian style curries and pad thai, but I was curious and found this:

Now I want to dig out my little jar of tamarind paste too!

Parsnipcake Mon 28-Oct-13 12:31:02

I like tamarind in spicy stews and curries or chilli. It's nice mixed in with shepherd's pie too!

I am looking for any ideas for Ras-al hanout. I have 3 tins as I kept buying it for a recipe and then losing it and having to buy more!

I would use the crumble mix smile

Dilidali Mon 28-Oct-13 13:03:23

Thank you!
I love the idea of chickpeas and potatoes curry from the link you kindly posted.
Never thought to add it to curries, we have one every week for goodness'sake!
That's dinner sorted.
Thank you so much.

Dilidali Mon 28-Oct-13 13:06:34

I didn't know ras el hanout can be bought, I mix from individual jars to condiment my tagine!
I do mine with parsnip, potatoes, leeks, tomatoes and a good dollop of harissa.

cate16 Mon 28-Oct-13 13:12:11

And I thought I was the only food hoarder smile

I'm in.

TheSlug Mon 28-Oct-13 13:40:11

I'm so in! I'm going to hopefully only buy milk, break and a little bit of fruit/ veg for the next few weeks. Can't believe it's nearly November already! I made a lovely lentil soup the other day with odds and ends that were in the bottom of the fridge, plus a mugful of lentils. made 5 portions so very happy with that! I have just done a list of all the things in my fridge, freezer and cupboards and feeling slightly over whelmed!

BreastmilkDoesAFabLatte Mon 28-Oct-13 20:53:27

What a great idea for a thread, and like others have said, I'd always assumed myself to be the only one hoarding like this. I'm in for the challenge! Between now and Christmas, I want to try and keep our food bills below £40 a week

Where I get stuck is: what do I do about the sub-portion dregs at the bottom of packets? I have a few tablespoons full each of arborio rice, millet, quinoa, polenta, pearl barley and something in a yellow bag which seems to have lost its label. Does anyone have a good recipe for multi-grain (or perhaps anonymous grain) risotto or similar?

Parsnipcake Tue 29-Oct-13 09:23:49

Breast milk, I would add a handful to minestrone soup or similar to make it more substantial. Or maybe use it as a base for stuffed peppers smile

Littleredsquirrel Tue 29-Oct-13 09:29:47

Parsnipcake I thought you meant you were going to add breast milk to those things. I believe in using things up but that's taking it a bit far! grin

BreastmilkDoesAFabLatte Tue 29-Oct-13 10:07:29

grin I once had a PM (I suspect from a journalist or someone with interesting fantasies) asking whether I actually make lattes out of my breast milk.

But yes, good ideas: thanks. There's a three-pack of stuffable peppers in the veg drawer which DH found reduced in Aldi yesterday. Will experiment. And I'd not thought of soup, either <wanders off to google minestrone recipes>

trainersandcake Tue 29-Oct-13 10:49:10

This is a great idea! I have about five tins of sardines in tomato sauce among many, many other things knocking around my cupboard! I will be so on for doing some exciting things with it all!

HuevosRancheros Tue 29-Oct-13 13:45:29

Well, that didn't go quite to plan....

I have just made Delia's Baked Spinach with Brown Rice and Cheese, in an effort to use up the brown rice that has been in my cupboard for ages, and the spinach that's been lurking in my freezer.

Except it was absolutely lovely, so I will have to make it again, so buy the ingredients again!

Parsnipcake Tue 29-Oct-13 15:11:36

Huevos, I know that will happen to me too but I am not allowing myself to buy new ingredients until December, when I will have hopefully used up the crud!

oscarwilde Tue 29-Oct-13 15:41:23

Any suggestions for 3 boxes of puy lentils and 5 jars of apricot jam (bought for bbq glazes apparently)

Littleredsquirrel Tue 29-Oct-13 16:32:13

jam tarts, cheap as chips (in fact cheaper than actual chips!!), easy and yummy.

oscarwilde Tue 29-Oct-13 17:08:38

Horribly sweet though and as it was bought for bbq'ing, it's not v naice jam. There must be some sort of glazed ribs/chinese duck kind of recipe that will use up a huge glut of the stuf.

schmalex Tue 29-Oct-13 17:46:18

Mmm, tamarind in shepherd's pie!

I am also clearing freezer and cupboards as we're moving in a couple of weeks.

Any ideas for some leftover stem ginger?

KenDoddsDadsDog Tue 29-Oct-13 17:48:05

Fab idea. Split pea soup recipe anyone ? Have a random bag in the cupboard!

Littleredsquirrel Tue 29-Oct-13 17:50:26

cup of apricot jam, mustard and balsamic vinegar is apparently a good glaze for pork or chicken.

moomoo1967 Tue 29-Oct-13 17:59:27

I would like to be in but I would still need to buy milk, eggs, fruit and veg each week. I have bread mixes I can use up, and plenty of meat in the freezer, along with noodles, rice, pasta. I could probably do it on just under £20 per week maybe less. smile I'm presuming we can include the freezers in this challenge, as I have copious amounts of meat, breadcrumbs, bread
If anyone wants meal planners the link is here :
Freezer inventory :
Pantry inventory : hope they work

Parsnipcake Tue 29-Oct-13 19:45:47

I haven't used anything up today, but am very proud that I went to the Chinese supermarket on the insistence of my korean foster child, and only bought his stuff and 1 bottle of vegetarian oyster sauce. Normally I would come back with masses of stuff I don't have a clue about. He however bought the biggest bag of star anise I have ever seen. So any recipes appreciated!

Put lentil are good cooked in stock and served with nice sausages and apples smile

HuevosRancheros Tue 29-Oct-13 19:52:56

schmalex I used stem ginger (the type in syrup) recently in a ginger cake when I realised halfway through making it that I didn't have any dried ginger in the house, d'oh blush
I chopped it finely, but blended to a paste would have been better imo. Guess it would work in ginger biscuits too smile

Dilidali Tue 29-Oct-13 20:32:36

Ginger and garlic paste is an excellent base for curries smile

Dilidali Tue 29-Oct-13 20:35:29

Oh, forgot to tell you about my tamarind:I shrugged to the fact it's been in the fridge since ?2012, diluted it in some hot water ready to add to the curry last night and then the smell hit me! I had to pour if down the sink. It smelled of rotten leaves.

Snowlike Tue 29-Oct-13 21:17:38

Inspired by you guys, I made chicken stock from frozen carcasses and then made Thai chicken curry. Delicious.

devonsmummy Tue 29-Oct-13 21:30:06

Ive 2 huge bags of red split lentils,
Any suggestions for recipes - I've never used them in cooking before , only stuck them on kids pictures!

NotAnotherPackedLunch Tue 29-Oct-13 22:04:27

I've just finished a big pot of split pea soup...
I fried some chopped onion and celery and dried chilli flakes and when they were soft added the split peas and and stock. The stock was lurking in the bottom of the freezer left over from cooking a Nigella ham in cider. I also added a halved tomato to help soften the peas and boiled until the peas were soft.

The soup went down very well, so I'm now hoping that getting everyone to eat their way through the red lentil mountain will be just as easy.

Snowlike Tue 29-Oct-13 22:05:48
Xiaoxiong Tue 29-Oct-13 22:56:49

I'm in danger of shifting ingredients around now instead of using up! a bag of dried black turtle beans has been sitting in the back of a drawer for months (possibly years...) so slow cooked them with chorizo. However there's far too much but instead of half going into the freezer as usual and taking up space, it's beans for lunch and dinner till they're gone!

Also jointed two chickens (on special offer, two 1.6kg chickens for £9) froze 4 breasts, thighs and drums, and made stock with the carcasses - so that will take up yet more space in the freezer.

TheBitchesOfWeestick Tue 29-Oct-13 23:18:36

devonsmummy very easy dhal recipe:

- boil your lentils till easily crushable (this usually takes about 20 minutes)
- fry some chopped onion, garlic and ginger till soft
- when soft, add spices: 1 tsp paprika, half tsp of cumin/coriander/garam masala/turmeric/chilli powder. fry with the onion mixture for a minute or so
- add lentils to onion stuff, mix well, heat through
- turn off the heat, add salt and vinegar and some chopped green chilli if you like it hot

Really surprisingly delicious. The vinegar sounds bizarre but is the making of the dish. My fussy 5yo loves this with plain rice (I leave out the chilli for his portion) and it's quite healthy too.

HettiePetal Tue 29-Oct-13 23:50:05

Bitches Would you boil the lentils in plain water or stock? Also, would dried ginger work?

Sounds delicious.

TheBitchesOfWeestick Wed 30-Oct-13 06:53:33

I do water but either would work. Not sure re dried ginger, but it can't hurt to find out!

Xiaoxiong Wed 30-Oct-13 09:44:08

devonsmummy and bitches - I do lentil soup that's quite similar to your recipe but sort of backwards:

- fry 2 medium onions, 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- add spices - I add 1tsp each ground coriander, cumin, chili powder and garam masala, and 1/2 tsp turmeric
- add 1 tin tomatoes, 4 tins of water/stock, 1 tin red lentils (ie. measure the water and the red lentils using the empty tomato tin)
- bring to the boil and simmer 45 minutes.
- stir in 1tsp salt, or to taste

The best part is then: in a little frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil - fry 1 tsp each mustard seeds and cumin seeds until they pop. Then when you serve the soup, put some toasted seeds and a little oil on top. I like putting fresh coriander on as well and serving with a dollop of yoghurt.

Also, if you're not vegetarian this is the best ever one-pot lentil soup/stew for the autumn and winter - I guarantee you will love it. I have never found sweet Italian sausage here so I use nice pork sausages with as much % pork as I can find (you only need 2 or 3) then add lots of fennel seeds, dried oregano, basil, thyme and paprika to the sausage meat as it browns.

moomoo1967 Thu 31-Oct-13 10:13:50

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