I am taking part in a decluttering challenge and there is one area I especially wanted to tackle – my store cupboard and freezer. Looking at all the food I had it seemed as if I was a bit of a food hoarder and it was time to use up what I already had to avoid wasting food.
My store cupboard was full of well-intentioned healthy foods that I never got around to eating. Things like tins of mixed beans, chick peas and a gazillion tins of tuna! The freezer was packed with frozen veg, fruit, fish, burgers and sausages and yet I always forgot about these items and shopped for fresh products instead. So I decided that during October and November I would only cook meals from my store cupboard and freezer. The only things I’ve allowed myself to buy were staples such as fresh fruit and veg and a few ingredients to help me make nice meals from what I’d got.
It was easy at first, cooking some beautiful lamb burgers or making spaghetti bolognaise. As I worked my way through my supplies things became more challenging. So many tins of mixed beans and chick peas, tons of tinned tuna and salmon, all sorts of frozen fish…what was I thinking?
I realised a shift in mind-set was needed. I wanted to not just use up these items but I wanted to make delicious meals and snacks from them. I wanted to have fun, not spend hours in the kitchen, with nothing but beans and wind to look forward to!
Google came to the rescue as usual. I discovered a wealth of great recipes by searching ‘ways to use up…cans of tuna, chickpeas, frozen fish’ etc. For example a scrumptious tuna pate can be made by blending tinned tuna, cream cheese and fresh lemon juice, and a tuna pasta can go from drab to delicious by adding a few capers. I learnt to make my own hummus and experimented with different flavours such as red pepper or super spicy by adding harissa paste. I made a fish pie with neglected, unremarkable pieces of fish lurking at the bottom of the freezer. With a cheese sauce, and topped with mash potato and peas, this turned out to be a feast which we happily demolished between us.
As well as discovering a lot of great new recipes, I have cut my shopping bill by about 50% these past two months. This means I’ve been able to start buying Christmas food and drink without it blasting a massive hole in my wallet.
I have loved every minute of this challenge and will do it again at the same time next year.
If you find your store cupboard and freezer are loaded with food, you may find the printable below will help you to plan some quick, tasty meals.
If you’d like to see more of my printables, you can find me on Etsy. My shop is called ‘my year by design’ typed without any spaces.