We're still deep into our How Low Can You Go Challenge and this month the emphasis is on emptying the large chest freezer. To do this I am really emptying all the freezers of some of their stores so that all the remaining food will fit in the smaller freezer in the kitchen. Then we will be turning off and defrosting the large one ready for moving in the New Year, saving us electricity as well.
Last nights tea was a couple of yummy pies each, with some of the last homegrown carrots tossed in butter with Pine Nuts, not the pies shown above, but very similar, made with a pack of Filo pastry found lurking deep at the back of the freezer, luckily there were two packs because the pies turned out really nice and we want to repeat it. Lovely Hubby wants to sample the pies that I made for myself as he said they smelled delicious. I had Cheese and Spring Onion and he had Steak, Mushroom and Cous Cous in Gravy. Truly a meal made from leftovers.
And this is the first Thrifty Thursday tip ..... if you have any assorted leftovers put them in a pie or pasty and turn them into a feast, if they are dry leftovers make up a bit of instant gravy, onion gravy works with anything and is completely vegetarian.
My second tip is to make good use of your ice cube trays, although I am emptying the big freezer I will continue to use the smaller ones to help me save money and by using the very last of every bit of food we have I can do this. This was a rather nice bottle of wine that LH was drinking, being a good boy (!!) he decided that he didn't want every last bit so I decanted the final glassful into an ice cube tray and once frozen the cubes were popped in a re-cycled butter tub. Next time I am making a stew or casserole I can use one or two cubes to add an extra depth of flavour.
I also have cubes of Pesto still in the freezer, both Red and Green, made from our lovely Basil and Garlic grown here on the farm. I use them whenever we are having a Pasta Bake. A couple of cubes dotted straight from the freezer onto the bake before it gets popped into the oven adds a gorgeous fresh flavour. Of course I could also simply thaw a couple of cubes out and simply stir it through hot pasta, with a sprinkle of fresh Parmesan style cheese on top you would have a supper fit for a king.
My last tip for this week is so simple, but when you actually sit down and work out how much it saves you, you would be amazed. Save every useful bottle and jar you get to use for your own sauces, jams and chutneys.
At this time of year if you have pretty jars you can give them filled with your culinary or other creations as gifts. If the jar is a bit bog standard pretty it up with a fabric top or simply a pretty ribbon with a handmade tag for a label.
If you don't want the recipient to know you are using old mayo jars simply give the jar top a quick rub down with sandpaper or wirewool and give it a coat of emulsion paint. Match Pots are brilliant for this and can usually be obtained really cheaply from the bargain shelves at the DIY stores.
A few ideas that I use on a regular basis ......... I've missed Thrifty Thursdays ....... have you?