It’s Week Six of the Empty the Storecupboard Challenge, and I’m still determined to keep coming up with new recipes to use up all my food stocks that are close to their use-by dates.
Feel free to join in and start your own thrifty, zero waste challenge any time you feel like it. The simple rules are here, along with my full list of bags, boxes, cans and jars that I’m planning on cooking and eating my way through.
Last week we had meals of homemade veggie nuggets, quick paella with prawns and Quorn pieces, an aubergine and lentil curry, and pasta salad with artichoke hearts and black olives. There were two storecupboard desserts too: pears in orange and fig jam sauce, and leftover coconut sorbet with strawberries.
The veggie nuggets (see main picture above) used up two sachets of veggie chicken-style mix and half a packet of crispy breadcrumbs from the cupboard. They had a small amount of baking spray, baked potato wedges, a crunchy salad and some tomato relish added to turn them into a meal. It was surprisingly tasty, and made a good meal for a summery evening.
The quick paella (above left) was based on a sachet of paella spices and the last of the brown rice. It had an onion, peas and green beans added, plus some leftover Quorn pieces and frozen cooked prawns from another recipe, and a big squeeze of lemon. The spices weren’t too strong and they might have lost some of their flavour in storage, although the taste of the final dish wasn’t spoiled (and it was fine washed down with some Spanish beer).
The vegetable curry (above right) used up two packets of South Indian lentil sauce. This needed two onions and a chargrilled aubergine adding to it to make the curry itself, and we added homemade mint and cucumber raita, lime pickle and a couple of grilled papads to turn it into a satisfying dinner.
The last of the four main meals was a pasta salad, using up two portions of penne pasta from the storecupboard. I haven’t made one of these in a while, and had forgotten how good they can be. There were a couple of artichoke hearts and a few black olives left over from another recipe, and these were mixed in with an economy ball of mozzarella, tomatoes, lettuce from the garden, mixed herbs and an oil and vinegar dressing.
We still seem to have loads and loads of food left to use up in the stockpile. Have a look at the picture above – it takes up nearly two shelves, although at least they aren’t as overloaded as they used to be. There’s more work to do here…
This week’s four meals
While I won’t be able to do four meals every week, I’m going for it for the time being. Here’s the Storecupboard Menu for the next few days:
1. Mushroom pasta bake with smoked salmon. This will use up another box of pasta in mushroom sauce on the list, and I’ll add some salmon scraps, a tiny amount of milk and cheese, extra mushrooms, and any other veggies to hand.
2. Risotto with saffron, borlotti beans and spring vegetables. This will use up some of the arborio rice and another sachet of paella spices from the cupboard, plus home grown borlotti beans, courgettes and so on.
3. Cous cous salad with grilled halloumi. This should help us to get through some more of the ordinary cous cous, and I’ll add halloumi, orange, beetroot and anything that’s lurking in the salad box.
4. BBQ veggie skewers. This will use up some of the barbecue marinade in the storecupboard. I’ll add mushrooms, courgettes, onions, red peppers and leftover halloumi, and maybe serve it with salsa and flatbread.
For desserts, I’m going to have to come up with a way to use up some more of that chocolate pudding mix. There’s loads of that left at the moment.
And now it’s your turn
Have you been looking in your storecupboard this week and finding things to use up? What’s the strangest item you’ve found so far?
How are YOU planning on using up your surplus food stocks this week? Please let me know – I’m always on the lookout for some new inspiration. Don’t forget to use the #EmptyTheSC hashtag on social media.