Tuesday, April 28, 2015

How I reduce food wastage

I plan my meals to eliminate food wastage and to use up ingredients that I have at home, in the garden or that I know are cheap and in season. Here is how my meals worked last week.

Saturday, I knew it was going to be a busy day, so I took the arborio rice that I had leftover from my Hello Fresh box, and I defrosted a frozen soup base that I had in the freezer. It's my cheats risotto - I know that my soups are made with good stock and are tasty, so I thin them down with water and use them to make a risotto. This one didn't turn out quite the way I envisaged - I thought I'd taken out a pumpkin soup but it was a red lentil curry! Never mind, an experimental curried risotto resulted... but probably not something I will repeat again. Ha!
Sunday, I tend to make something that I can feed leftovers to Ellie for lunch on Monday as that is a day she's home with me. I had some fresh eggplants and parsley from the garden, so I diced these up, with some onion, tomato and stock, and turned it into a sort of eggplant stew, which I served over rice. Simple meals are taken to next level delicious with the addition of fresh herbs I think!
Monday, I had some of the risotto leftover, so I turned it into arancini balls. Funny story, I thought I'd invented these and was feeling terribly clever with myself until I saw them on a restaurant menu once and realised I'd been pipped at the post! Oh well. These were quick and easy - I took the risotto leftovers, rolled them into balls using wet hands, added a bit of panko crumbs to the outside and then shallow fried them quickly in some olive oil. I've also baked them as an alternative, but Mondays are a bit hectic with two kids at home, so I tend to go for something easy to prepare. I served these alongside some salad greens. No pictures as quite frankly, I was too hungry and forgot!

Tuesday was pasta bake day. We love pasta bake in our house. We always bake big batches as Mr Fork takes leftovers to work for lunch, and I have them at home for lunch. Ellie loves pasta and cheese so it's an easy way to get vegetables into her diet by including them with favourite foods of hers. I took the remains of my eggplant stew, added extra tomatoes for more liquid and some mushrooms that were looking sad in the vegetable crisper, and added this to some pasta before baking. Easy peasy! Since the oven was on, I also put a loaf of garlic bread in as its a special favourite of Ellie's.
Wednesday was designated a hunt and gather day. I've spoken about these before, but basically, it's a day where we all hunt through the cupboards and refrigerator to use up things that are open or cooked. First in, best dressed in terms of portions. It's a bit strategic to have H+G days on Wednesday as well, because Thursday is our bin day so we make sure we minimise anything we would throw out.

Thursday we usually go out to one of our local restaurants for a family takeaway night. We are big fans of our local Vietnamese restaurant - they know us there and always look after us.

Friday is always a quick and easy meal. It's the end of the week so everyone is tired, but also it's well into football season at the moment, so Mr Fork likes to have dinner done and dusted and the kids in bed so that he can watch his game in peace. I don't mind - Fridays, after the kids are down, I tend to take to bed and read a novel or catch up on blogs or social media via the iPad. So, Friday was homemade pizzas. I am starting to get Ellie more involved in the meals we prepare, so she was allowed to top her own individual pizza (bases were just premade wraps as I hadn't had time to make some dough). We put out a selection of ingredients and everyone assembles their own. Here's hers - tomato paste, mushrooms, cheese and some fresh basil from the garden on top.
So that was our week of meals!

On Saturday, Mr Fork and I make a point to sit down and write up the meal plan for the next week, doing the grocery list at the same time while we're checking the fridge/freezer/pantry supplies. If it's not on the list, we don't buy it. This also helps prevent tantrums from Ellie while shopping, as we've already discussed treats and what we are buying at home as a family, so she understands.

Do you meal plan and chain meals together?

2 comments:

  1. Oh, you are impressively organised for someone with two young children! I suppose that makes organisation extra important, but this is a lovely example of how meal planning can work well :) We are far more impromptu, but I do make use of leftovers and bits and pieces for my lunches, which helps with reducing waste.

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    1. Pre children, I was definitely not this organised! Often it's not this tidy and there are multiple meal variations made to cater for various tastes, it just so happened that this week worked out rather well :) When I'm working i often take leftovers to work for lunches too. Hounds and the compost heap also help a lot.

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