We’re in the third week of the Empty the Storecupboard challenge now, and I’m still working hard at using up the older stock from the back of the cupboards. If you want to join in then feel free to start any time you like, and the simple rules are all here, along with what I got up to in Week 1 and Week 2.
Last week I made a lazy fish pie, a vegetable pasta bake, and a chickpea tagine, plus scotch pancakes. We’re using the food up at quite a rate in real terms, but it barely seems to have put a dent in the stockpile when I look at it. Still, I’m determined to use it all up before it goes too far past the use by dates.
The lazy fish pie was a quick take on a more traditional dish. I must admit that I like to take my time and do fish pies properly for a special meal with friends, which involves boiling and mashing the potatoes, poaching the fish in milk, then straining off the liquid and making it into white sauce before putting the whole thing together and baking it.
This time around, I made instant mash from the potato flakes, microwaved some leeks and frozen coley with a bay leaf, then added in defrosted cooked prawns and spooned over a couple of spoons of extra thick double cream before baking. It was surprisingly good, and also still nicer than a shop bought ready meal.
Picture above, in case you don’t believe me! It served two as a hearty main course dinner with peas on the side, plus two light lunches the next day.
The vegetable pasta bake was made with a ‘box meal’ of spinach pasta with mushroom sauce, plus a head of broccoli cut into florets and steamed over the cooking pasta, a portion of leftover sweetcorn, and some low fat cheese on the top to hold it together. It was very easy, and the vegetable content stopped it feeling stodgy.
Then it was on to making the vegetarian chickpea tagine. This used up 20g of the tagine spice, the can of chick peas, a third of a jar of fig conserve, and some more of the standard cous cous. I had a little more time to make this one, and added in finely sliced caramelised onions, two cloves of garlic, a portion of roasted pumpkin from the freezer, and some tomato puree to make the sauce.
The fig conserve is low sugar so it didn’t make the dish too sweet, and it has lots of big chunks of fig in it which gave the sauce a more interesting colour and texture. I now have 10 days to use the rest of it up, so it’s probably going to end up in a cake or tart of some sort. There was enough tagine left over to make a spicy version of beans on toast the next day as well.
We also had a few scotch pancakes made from some of the just-add-water batter, which also used up a leftover tablespoon of citrus peel that was lurking at the back of the baking cupboard, and a handful of raisins. These were served with warmed economy berries from the freezer, and we counted them as one of our five a day.
This week’s three meals
1. Pasta and veggie ‘meatballs’ with tomato sauce. This is to use up some of the penne pasta (they don’t serve meatballs on spaghetti in Italy), and another pack of veggie chicken-style roast mix. I’m probably going to add shredded or grated vegetables to the meatballs, and make a herby sauce to go with them.
2. Giant cous cous and halloumi salad. A quick and easy meal to use up some of the giant cous cous, and a packet of longlife beetroot I found lurking in the salad drawer of the fridge. I don’t want to spend hours on food prep every evening, so this speedy dish fits the bill while still being healthy.
3. Kashmiri curry with Quorn pieces and rice. This will use up some of the opened jar of curry paste from the other day, some coconut milk powder, and some of the brown rice. I’ll add Quorn pieces, an onion, and garden vegetables or frozen spinach, plus some chutney or lime pickle on the side.
Over to you once more…
Are you joining in this week? If so, please let us know how you’re preventing food waste, and putting your imagination to the test creating thrifty recipes.
I’ll be sharing pictures and recipes on social media as I cook things, so look out for the #EmptyTheSC hashtag – please use it yourself if you’re playing along.
And finally, have you found anything weird or wonderful at the back of your cupboards? The best one will win a prize, so ‘fess up!