Meals: Making the most out of what you have
|January 22, 2010||Posted by thefrugalvegan under Food Recipes, General Content & Rants, Groceries|
I had stocked up weekly on loss leaders for a number of weeks. Last week I noticed that my freezer was full, the pantry was packed as well as another pantry I have in the mud room. There are only two of us living in the house! The freezer downstairs is also jammed packed with bread and prepared meals I had made. The fridge is relatively empty apart from some condiments.
Last night, as tempting as it was to avoid digging through everything I have, we decided to make meals out of what needed to be used up. There were some discounted perogies we had purchased as well as some frozen fries (regular and sweet potato) that have been there awhile since we don’t eat them often.
The past week, I have made meals from what I have. Sometimes my partner and I have different meals because there isn’t enough of one thing left to feed us both. I must say that this is challenging. Sometimes you have good food around but you don’t feel like eating it.
Look through your fridge and freezer and look at what’s been sitting around for a while. Make sure it hasn’t expired or grown scary green moss on it. Take everything out that you think could be used up. Have a look and see what you can make. Toss the really sketchy stuff in the compost.
Stirfrys are always easy! You can use leftover noodles or rice and a combination of any protein and vegetables. You can just use soy sauce and a little fresh ginger, hot sauce or garlic to season it all. As a last resort, ramen noodles are great for this if you just have some leftover veggies on hand.
Casseroles are great! Throw everything in a pot (potatoes, veggies, proteins…), season with simple spices like oregano, salt, pepper, thyme…Top the casserole with a combo of bread crumbs & nutritional yeast or shredded vegan cheese and bake for about 20-30 minutes at 350F until everything is heated.
Soups can be a bit trickier as we don’t always have items that will mix well together. If you just have some leftover chickpeas and roasted veggies, make a broth (out of veggie scraps – i keep these in the freezer) and spice it up with curry . If you have black beans and some cooked carrots, put in a broth, then blend all together, perhaps add a bit of cumin. I love creamy blended soups! Add some ramen noodles or leftover macaroni to it to make it more filling.
Mix and match plate: Say you have a few tbsps of hummus left, some chopped red pepper, some fried tofu, leftover potatoes or rice..anything! Just put everything on a plate and eat it. It’s like you’ll have tons of appetizers on your plate. Sometimes leftovers are less than a portion’s worth. I tend to freeze these over time then make a plate of something with everything.
Food waste is a huge problem in households. If we never threw out food, we’d be spending a lot less on groceries! Challenge yourself, invent something out of your scraps, you’d be surprised how good some of it tastes!