One of the fundamental factors of reducing food waste is to plan meals in advance before heading out to the shop. I’ve written about how to do this before in my blog post Fail to plan, plan to fail (the basics of meal planning).
This is probably the one thing that I do consistently every week. Even if I haven’t written the whole meal plan down, the ideas and ingredients are in my head before I go off on my weekly shop. The meal plan makes sure that I avoid the purchase of any unplanned items which later become items of food waste.
Now I’m not a chef, so I generally rely on other people’s recipes to help me use up the ingredients which I have in stock. This method of meal planning normally means that I need to buy additional items to create a finished dish. However, as it’s a new year, I’ve decided to be a bit more adventurous and create my own recipes where ingredients enable me to. An unexpected bonus of this is that I didn’t have to step foot in a supermarket for a whole week.
By using frozen items, leftover veg and store cupboard essentials I managed to create enough dishes to feed my partner and I all week.
The ingredients I had were as follows:
Leftover Caerphilly cheese scones
Store cupboard essentials
And the Dishes created are as below: (Now linked to the recipes)
Pork and Potato Broth
Sweet chilli salmon with Asian Vegetables
Caerphilly cheese scones with poached egg & tomatoes
Cheese & tomato omelette
I know there’s only 4 nights recipes here but I was lucky enough to be treated to a meal out one night, hence only 4 week night meals to plan.
I found that knowing how to cook the base of a number of dishes such as casseroles and Asian dishes enabled me to be creative. Keeping in stock cupboard items such as chicken stock, soy sauce and so on, you should be able to come up with a few creations to use up the perishable ingredients in your fridge. Heck, it’s not always going to work out perfect, but taste as you go and over time your confidence will increase and become a chef if your own right.