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!)
12 Replies to “fEAsting ~ and the cupboard was bare”
That’s brilliant! I love to use up all those bits and pieces. So satisfying.
Isn’t it just – I feel quite pleased with myself at this thrifty effort. DH as usual just smiles!!
Just think of the money you saved by making use of what you had in already. It all sounds delicious too. X
The money we will have saved is welcome but I do like to think I have used all the veg up before it starts to compost! Sometimes we can’t eat it up fast enough – buying organic means it all comes packaged which I don’t like but they have to keep it separate somehow – it also means that you have to buy whatever amount it is packaged in – so I am unable to buy just one leek for instance.
I smiled at your ‘chickpea and rice concoction’ – I’d have a huge array of thrifty recipes if I could only remember which ingredients I mixed with what to make those lovely ‘spur of the moment/ use it or lose it meals I’ve come up with over the years 😊
Is there no farmers market close by where you can purchase single items from certified growers?
Sadly we are in an area where there are no farmers markets – the Pennines and surrounding farmland is mainly sheep and dairy farming – there is little agricultural farming here – only Rhubarb in Wakefield!
We are very dependant on our supermarkets. There are one or two farm shops a few miles from here but they just buy in the produce from arond the country like the supermarkets and none of their produce is organic.
I have looked at organic boxes that you get delivered but they have their drawbacks for us as you do not know what they are going to send and you end up planning menus around the box rather than the other way round.
Sounds like you’ll be digging up more of your garden when the weather changes lol
Or growing in polytunnels to stop contamination 😊
Ha ha good idea – would still have to buy carrots – they come out forked in this area as they don’t like the heavy loam soil!
That is impressive! I’ve never thought to have nut loaf with applesauce before – great idea. I like to use up bits of veg in fried rice (like this recipe only using whatever is on hand: https://www.bbc.com/food/recipes/eggfriedrice_67782 )
Thanks for that I have just copied the recipe – will keep you posted. I prefer rice to pasta so I would have a go at this. I find pasta a bit gloopy and have to eat the wholewheat kind. I much prefer lasagne to just plain pasta topped with a sauce.
That’s a very clever menu plan. I am filled with admiration!
It worked well and saved money and time – I used the time I saved to make some cards. x
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