I find the best way of saving money and running down the cupboards and freezers in a logical way is to menu plan. Thirty minutes on a Monday morning gives me time to check out what I have lurking in all the cupboards and freezers and write down a basic menu plan.
It saves time on the other days as I don't have to stop what I am doing and start rummaging for what I fancy eating or making for that nights tea. I can also defrost the main component of the meal during the day rather than worrying it might not thaw out in time or having to zap it in the microwave.
It also means that if I do have to nip to the shops I can have a shopping list of any necessary items needed to add to a recipe or meal for the week ahead. I always have a list on the side of the fridge and the minute I notice I need something I write it down (not that I always remember to take the blasted thing with me....I am only human!!). If you don't write what you need down when you think of it, you can guarantee you'll walk round the shops to try and jog your memory and buy all those tempting 'must have' bargains that you don't really need instead.
This week however, I am trying very hard not to buy anything and so our meals are coming exclusively from the cupboards and freezers. I purposely planned all the meals to make use of everything we have already in stock.
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Menu Plan for this Week.
Steak Burgers/Veggie Fingers with Buttered Cabbage and Pine Nuts, served with Onion Marmalade
Garlic Kiev/Spicy Lentil Wedge with Brown Rice and Sweetcorn and Mixed Leaves
'Linda Mc' Cheese, Leek and Red Onion Plaits with Cheese and Tomato Orzo Pasta and Mixed Leaves
Meat/Veggie Bangers and Mash with Onion Gravy
Quorn Chicken Style Pieces in Tikka Masala Sauce served with Brown Rice and Naan Breads
Meat/Veggie Shepherds Pie served with Sweetcorn, Carrots and Gravy
Salmon, Rice and Vegetable Parcels
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This should all leave a nice sized gap in the freezer as most things are from there, the veggies we have grown ourselves, both last year and this and blanched and open frozen as I talked about the other day.
All these meals are Harcombe friendly for me with the exception of the Salmon and Rice which is mixing, but I'm not being terribly strict at the moment while we are running stocks down.
One plus side of running down the freezer is that you find packets of things you had forgotten all about, so last night Lovely Hubby had a tasty little starter before his tea of Prawns. He likes them just as they are with a little dollop of mayo on the side, and I'm not telling him yet but there are two more bags lurking in the depths of the big chest freezer!
Do you menu plan on a regular basis, and what forgotten treasures have you found lurking in the depths of the freezer?