How often have you looked in the freezer and the cupboards and been overwhelmed by how much is in there? The little bits left over in pots, the frozen leftovers that have never been defrosted and used, the ready meals that were shoved to the bottom waiting for that emergency you know you’re going to have. I’ve certainly done this, so for this year’s Zero Waste Week, I decided to go for a week without buying any new food for our meals.
The last supermarket delivery, and fresh fruit and veg shop, had been a week ago so what we had left in the veg rack and fridge was a bit sad.
As I said in last weeks’ post that the only thing I would allow myself to buy, was fresh food for Beany. I needed to make her more veg and cheese sauce, so I bought unsalted butter, a pint of milk and 200g of broccoli, but nothing else.
I am a terrible hoarder of food so I knew this was going to be a good exercise for me and I set about looking through the cupboards and drawing up a list of the meals to make. Here’s what I came up with:
- Haddock with crumble topping (Waitrose Easy Cook Meal), baked potatoes and field mushrooms
- Sosmix Pie and frozen vegetables (enough for two meals)
- Vegi Burgers in Pitta breads with homemade baked beans
- Chicken wrapped in bacon (Waitrose Easy Cook Meal) and mushroom pasta
- Sweetcorn fritters and cous cous.
- Pasta with gammon and sweetcorn
As you can see we were hardly going to starve.
By the end of the week I really felt like I’d achieved something. I’d had to think about our meals, work out how to make the ingredients go further, use up odds and ends in the store cupboards and freezer and finally eat those boxes of food being saved for emergencies, that were getting very close to their best before dates.
The main problem I found was trying to create balanced meals that contained vegetables despite a severe lack of fresh veg in the house. I had to get a bit inventive with the side dishes.
We weren’t short on food, in fact there’s still some left in the freezer that we need to use up, but I can at least see the bottom of the freezer now! It does bring it home how lucky we are to have a freezer full of food and the luxury of being able to ‘forget’ food we do have in there. Carry out an exercise like this can really teach you to respect the food you have and look more closely at where you might be wasting it.
As promised, I’m going to share with you, two accompaniments to the meals I made last week: Homemade Baked Beans and Mushroom Pasta.
Homemade Baked Beans
- 400g chopped tomatoes
- Onion Stock Cube
- 2 x cloves of garlic
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp Worcester sauce
- 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 tbsp Muscavado Sugar
- Olive oil
- 400 g Cannelli Beans
- Fry the garlic, lightly in the olive oil for about 1 minute
- Add the can of chopped tomatoes
- Add the stock cube and stir until dissolved
- Add the paprika, worcester sauce, red wine vinegar, tomato puree and sugar and simmer for about 10 minutes
- Add salt and pepper to taste
- Remove from heat and allow to cool
- Blend the mixture to get a smooth sauce
- Remove half the sauce and store for another dish (you could use this as a pasta sauce)
- Add the cannellini beans, heat through and serve
I served this with vegi burgers in pitta breads. I used up some fresh coriander that was in the fridge in the vegi burger mix and finished the vegi burgers with some toasted halloumi.
- 150g pasta
- 25g dried mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic
- dried basil
- 1/2 pot of creme fraiche
- I x field mushroom
- Cook pasta according to instructions and drain
- Rehydrate the dried mushrooms as instructed on the packet.
- Fry the rehydrated mushrooms and the field mushroom with the garlic.
- Add to the cooked pasta.
- Add the creme fraiche and the dried basil (to taste) and stir through.
I served this with the Waitrose Easy Cook, chicken wrapped in bacon, that had been lurking in the freezer.
I’d love to know how you got on in zero waste week and if you have tried either of the above recipes. Don’t forget to let me know in the comments below.