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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!

starsandunicorns Tue 22-Jan-13 12:20:15

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.

wheredidiputit Tue 22-Jan-13 14:31:58

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.

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