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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 Fri 20-Sep-13 09:14:44

Haha! I have pots of stuff like that - I'm convinced when I put it in there that I will remember exactly what it is three months later. Doesn't always work...hmm

SubliminalMassaging Fri 20-Sep-13 09:12:53

Ended up eating out last night, DS stayed home and ordered pizza.

Today I need to start doing something useful with all the veg I bought, before they start to deteriorate. Maybe a veg curry or the lovely aubergine and bacon gratin thing that I love. Not sure yet.

frenchfancy Thu 19-Sep-13 17:40:44

It is over 2 weeks now since we did a full food shop, and over a week since we did the quick - milk butter and fruit shop.

Last night was thai fish curry, with fish from the freezer, part of a butternut squash which has been hanging around for ages (last years harvest) and some rice. The kids turned up their noses but 2 of them liked it (DD2 is always a bit difficult anyway) i thought it was lovely and would definitely make it again.

Tonight is pot-luck. I defrosted 4 pots without labels. There is enough slow cooked lamb for the kids, so I'm cooking up some pasta to go with it (mixed shapes to use up what is in the cupboard). One of the other pots is veal marengo so me and DH with have that. Another pot is some leftover mushrooms and sauce from a chicken chasseur so I might mix that in with the veal. the last pot is still undefined - I think it is left over gravy from a stew but I'm not sure until it defrosts.

I really must label things when I put them in the freezer (that is a new thread I think)

SubliminalMassaging Wed 18-Sep-13 19:33:27

I was out last night but DH said the crab cakes were lovely. grin

Tonight I finally made the Lamb Murtaback with curry sauce. Very nice, and added some carrots and peas to the keema lamb mixture so I didn't need to do a separate veg dish. Have some left over which I imagine will be nice cold. They are a bit like an Asian Cornish pasty. grin

No idea about tomorrow yet, but I've gone from having no veg to loads so whatever it is, it needs to be veg heavy.

SubliminalMassaging Tue 17-Sep-13 12:08:23

Right, I'm going out tonight but will cook for DH and DS. I will make some crab cakes with the leftover mash and a tin of crab, spring onions, etc and some salad. I am also just about to cook the lamb mix for the lamb murtabak thing, and make the curry sauce for it. then I'll put it in the fridge and make the dough mix for the sort of paratha thing it goes in tomorrow, and just warm the other stuff up.

Just been food shopping and bought loads of stuff, but mostly fresh fruit and veg which I was very low on, and bread, crisps for packed lunches etc. I did well at resisting the urge to buy loads of tins and random dinner ingredients. grin

pregnantpause Mon 16-Sep-13 19:43:46

I forgot to defrost any of the things I intended. So we ended up with egg fried rice- but I still managed to use up a carrot, the last of a pack of long grain rice and the end of a frozen sweetcorn packet.
I am jealous of the crab cakes, I have two tons of crab, but no potatoes that can be mashed. I can sense an unnecessary shop coming on to get potatoesshock

frenchfancy Mon 16-Sep-13 19:18:42

Marzipan (stupid phone)

frenchfancy Mon 16-Sep-13 19:17:05

Left over Vegas curry for us tonight. The kids had beans on toast. Tomorrow is pasta with a sauce I've got in the freezer. No bread for toast but I've got a baguette in the freezer that will do our breakfast.

I made some little turnover yesterday evening with left over pastry, a bit of martian and some apricot jam. They were a big hit.

SubliminalMassaging Mon 16-Sep-13 18:37:57

Have had a monumentally busy and stressful day but luckily yesterday's dinner gave us enough leftovers to have it again tonight. Usually everyone moans if I give them the same thing two nights on the trot, so prefer to freeze the leftovers, but tonight I was grateful for an easy life. grin

Still some mashed potato left for crabcakes tomorrow.

greenhill Mon 16-Sep-13 12:02:32

This is such a good idea, I never use anything from the freezer apart from ice cream and green vegetables.

I shall make an inventory and return to the thread later on.

SubliminalMassaging Mon 16-Sep-13 11:45:11

Yes I think it will be crabcakes tonight!

BreakOutTheKaraoke Mon 16-Sep-13 08:47:33

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.

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.

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

in a bid, not in a bit!

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.

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.

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

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.

pregnantpause Sun 15-Sep-13 10:08:02

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?!

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.

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!

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.

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 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 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.

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