At first glance on Friday our cupboards and fridge seemed a bit bare…panic…
My menu planning had become a bit out of sync with having mum to stay recently and we only did a part shop last Monday in Sainsbury’s to cover a few days, expecting to have to go again at the end of the week to top up. But I didn’t really want to go down to town to Sainsbury’s again just for the weekend and I am watching the pennies so I decided to make what we had stretch over to next Monday when I would usually shop. We had run out of milk completely but we can get this from the local village Co-op and once I had assessed the meagre offerings laying in the fridge and devised a menu plan to get us through the weekend I asked DH to bring back a carrot too. The sum total of the veggies leftover from last Monday’s shopping trip were a few large old potatoes and a handful of small new potatoes, a number of tiny tomatoes, a little gem lettuce, 2 leeks, 2 onions, 2 courgettes, a few bits of celery, most of a swede and 3 pointed red peppers plus 2 very small avocados.
We also had a block of mild cheddar, a piece of Jarlsberg, 5 eggs; and in the freezer I keep peas, broadbeans and nutloaf. In the store cupboard I had a packet of chickpeas and plenty of brown rice.
So I worked out a menu plan to incorporate all these bits and bobs and tide us over
- Friday evening meal – *chickpea and rice with 1 onion, 1 courgette, the leftover mushrooms (not at their best but salvageable), and the 2 small stalks of some celery,
- Saturday lunch – a ploughman’s lunch of bread, cheese, tomatoes, pickle and the avocado
- Saturday evening meal – omelette with tomato, red pepper, courgette and herbs, small roasted potatoes and peas. Also a small cherry crumble each from the freezer.
- Sunday lunchtime – Leek and potato soup (I can add a carrot to this and the remaining lettuce), bread with avocado and cheese.
- Sunday evening meal – Nutloaf, mashed potatoes with swede, carrot and broad beans and we have a pack of small Yorkshire puddings in the freezer if we want to turn it into more of a Sunday dinner. I also serve the Nutloaf with apple sauce (also in the freezer).
- Monday lunchtime – rest of the Leek and potato soup and bread
* The chickpea and rice concoction – I kind of invented it myself one day and it has been a winner here ever since. Quick and easy and you can throw most things in it.
Cook a chopped onion and celery in a little oil to soften, then add chopped courgettes and finally add a packet of pre cooked Chickpeas and some chopped mushrooms. It works with most vegetables so a good way to use up those little bits and pieces. Once the mushrooms are softened I add some stock – about 200ml and leave to simmer so the flavours infuse. I add some parsley at this point too. Meanwhile cook some brown rice about 3-4oz (usually takes 30mins). Once cooked add to the chickpea mix and combine. Cook for another 3-5 minutes and serve.
It is always amazing how far you can stretch the leftover veg when you need to and it is a good way of saving a few pounds. We have a few standby things in the freezer like Nut cutlets, Pizza and some dried pasta in the cupboard but it was the veg I was interested to use up completely so there is no waste. The frozen Pizza will save for another day or another emergency.
With the 2 remaining eggs I might just be able to make some chocolate buns or brownies.
A day of purposeful prudence and penny-pinching…with a positively perfect outcome for the cost of a carrot.
Spend £0.45p (DH actually bought a bag of carrots rather than just one…but hey you can’t win them all!)