A frugal food weekend!
So this weekend we decided that enough was enough! We had enough food in the cupboards to feed a family for a month but each Friday we happily write out the shopping list for the same 6-7 meals, trot off to the supermarket and fill up the cupboards some more.
Well, not this weekend. We took the brave decision to miss a week of shopping and only eat what we already had. And I can definitely say it's been a complete success so far.
The trick is to make it last until this coming Friday and we are allowing ourselves a trip to the corner shop for milk, and we do have the allotment (although we only have sweetcorn and beetroot there now).
So, Friday night was a freezer raid...with the result that we had a leftover curry medley. I mixed together black eyed bean and mushroom curry with some (slightly freezer burnt!) old chilli, defrosted some leftover naans in the toaster, and defrosted some yoghurt I'd chucked in a few months ago. Sounds unpromising but was truly wonderful. And even better as to me it was free AND I didn't have to spend hours cooking it.
Saturday: mix and match night. I decided to do a nut roast as I had 2 wrinkly old carrots, some onions, 2 very sad looking sticks of celery and some old bread in the freezer. Once I'd chopped and grated the veg you would never have known how sad it had looked and the breadcrumbs were as good as new. I got halfway through the recipe and realised I didn't have any hazelnuts but I did have about seven open bags with a couple of musty nuts at the bottom of each so I roasted them under the grill and whizzed them up. In they went, and then 40 minutes later we had a superb nut roast from food I know we would have thrown away a few years ago 'because it's past its best'.
Sunday: the allotment raid for mixed veg lasagne. I did a raid on the allotment and roasted up a few tomatoes, some onions, a couple of very small and unpromising courgettes, and the wrinkly old red pepper from the fridge which I thought last week, to my shame, was definitely going to head to the compost bin this week. Instead one of the best meals I've made in ages.
oo often I fall into the habit of shopping and cooking by habit which is bad for the food, bad for my food budget and bad for creativity in the kitchen. We agreed this morning that from now on we're going to miss one shop in five and see how we get on so that we make even more of the food we buy. So far this week we've saved at least £20 just by using what we already had and we'll save more as the week goes on (although the standard of meals I fear is rapidly going to deteriorate - the fridge is empty except for lots of opened jars of 'stuff').
Why not try missing your next shopping trip too? Whether you do it for the inspiration, to avoid wasting food, to get back two hours of your life by not traipsing round the shops, or just to try and save some money - try it! It might just work for you too.