Monday 31 July 2017

The freezer challenge: day 20

Yesterday was a triumph as far as using up freezer stuff was concerned as well as being frugal.  A shame I've needed to freeze some of the veg curry but I've only had to do that because my daughter wasn't going straight back home so I'm storing it for her temporarily.

This morning I played lucky dip in the freezer and this is what the meals will be:
B: bacon sarnie (it was delicious)
L:  chicken salad, apple
D:  mince and rice with extra gravy left over from yesterday (to avoid freezing it) and runner beans, maybe courgettes too.

From the freezer
mince and rice
gravy (from yesterday)

Into freezer
vegetable curry

It's just so slow . . . but the bank account is enjoying the experience.

Sunday 30 July 2017

The freezer challenge: day 19

I'm well pleased with today.  Yesterday I learned that I will be having four guests for lunch today with varying diet requirements so . . .

B:  yogurt and fruit
L:  sausages, new potatoes, green beans, onion gravy, mixed veg curry and then plum custard and ice cream
D:  probably leftovers

From the freezer:
white wine
butter beans
ice cream (but I bought that specially so it doesn't really count in the challenge - in fact it's the only think I had to buy apart from drinks)

Not bad, eh?  Lots of annoying small packs of this and that, things that tend to fell to the bottom and get lost!

There will be leftovers but I am hoping that my guests (family) will take most of the leftovers with them so I probably won't have to put stuff into the freezer!
Fingers crossed.

Saturday 29 July 2017

The freezer challenge: day 18

Now that the garden/allotment are both producing, it's getting harden and harden to make dents in the freezer but I'll give it a good go.

B:  muesli and fruit
L:  bacon and tomatoes on toast, apple
D:  vegetable curry, yogurt

From the freezer:
some pulses for the vegetable curry

However - into the freezer:
green beans
portions of vegetable curry
(can't win 'em all, can you?)

It's also frugal today, very frugal.  I'm doing my best to be loyal to the frugality commitment that started this blog off.
So . . .
the muesli was a gift
the fruit will be nectarines that are going off and in the past I'd have thrown them - just the good bits, of course!
the tomatoes are from the garden (yum)
the vegetables for the curry are mostly from the garden/allotment
the pulses were dried, soaked, cooked and then frozen, so much better value than tinned.

Thursday 27 July 2017

The freezer challenge: day 17

Back to it for several days so I should be able to make some inroads into the surplus!

B:  toast and jam, fruit
L:  I'll probably be out with my daughter
D:  I found some fillet tails in the freezer which I remember I got in a 'posh meat' pack ages ago.  Hardly frugal but even less so if I don't use them so some is now out and defrosting.  I've looked up recipes and I gather you cook them just the same as plain fillet (oooh-er) so that's what I will do and have it with new potatoes and green beans from the allotment and tomatoes from the garden as the tomato plants have started producing.

I have cream left over from when I had a guest this week so I'll probably make a naughty little sauce for the steak with it.  Bad as it all sounds, apart from lunch, it's no spend today.  Lunch is also probably going to be no spend as I have a voucher given as a birthday present!

Monday 24 July 2017

Freezer challenge: day 16

I was off challenge again, this time because I was away!  Back now!

Today's food.
B:  muesli and fruit
L:  toast and jam, probably )I have so much jam to use), yogurt
D:  chicken drumsticks, new potatoes, runner beans, courgettes, natural yogurt and fruit

From the freezer:

The veg is all from garden and allotment and the muesli is gifted so it pretty frugal too, all round.  I'm really trying not to abandon my frugal principles too much, even if what's in the freezer doesn't match.  I just try to make sure everything else is sensibly priced.

There's still loads of stuff in the freezer but gaps are appearing now so it's working.

Thursday 20 July 2017

Freezer challenge: day 15

After a gap of several days, it's back!  I've had a friend over and, what with one thing and another, this took a back seat for a few days.

To my shame, today I will be adding something to the freezer.  It's not really my fault though.  Yesterday a friend gave me a plastic pot filled with rice and a casserole/curry (not sure which yet) and there's enough for two good portions so one portion will get frozen.

So - today . . .
B:  toast and fruit
L:  banana pancakes, bacon and maple syrup.  More a breakfast really but it does mean I use freezer things.
D:  the gifted meal, natural yogurt and fruit

From the freezer:
banana pancakes

And definitely a no spend day!

Monday 17 July 2017

The freezer challenge: day 14

I didn't post the lest few days.  Saturday I was out all day and Sunday I hadn't got my planning hat on in time.  I did use freezer stuff (three veggie burgers, three brioche rolls and a sausage roll - not just for me) but generally it wasn't healthy, it was grab, cook and eat!

Today's plans:
B:  muesli and fruit
L:  not sure - something quick
D:  sausages, new potatoes, courgettes, mange tout, yogurt

From the freezer:
Just the sausages today.  The veg is all from the allotment though.

Friday 14 July 2017

The freezer challenge: day 13

I've just been out for today's lucky dip and there's definitely spaces in the front opening freezer now.  The plan is to get it as empty as possible, do a proper defrost and then move stuff from the chest freezer so I can see what's in there all the better.  That's the idea, anyway!

Today's plan is . . .
B:  muesli with fruit
L:  quiche with salad and coleslaw
D:  turkey curry with added veg, rice.

From the freezer:
turkey curry

Thursday 13 July 2017

The freezer challenge: day 12

I had to do a bit of shopping yesterday after realising that the yogurt I was saving for the next batch had gone off.  Annoying!  So I got another carton of milk too.  I'm getting through milk a lot more while I have a decorator to ply with coffee.  Ditto for sugar!

Today's plans
B:  I still have two eggs that are close to floating but not quite so I will have scrambled egg on toast
L:  I have a bit of pepperami to use up plus some gifted veg so I'll get some of last year's home made passata out of the freezer plus a bit of frozen veg and make a sauce to have with 50g pasta
D:  while playing lucky dip yesterday, I dug up some frozen Chinese leftovers - a bit of curry, a bit of sweet and sour and two little veg spring rolls.  I'll have them but not do any rice as I'm having pasta for lunch

From the freezer:
bread for toast
bit of frozen veg
frozen Chinese leftovers

Yesterday I dug out a bag of value mixed berries that have been in my freezer for years.  I simmered them, pushed them through a sieve, added sugar and lemon juice and now I have a nice pot of home made mixed berry jam - it was mostly blackberries, to be honest, but the jam tastes good.

Wednesday 12 July 2017

The freezer challenge: day 11


Today's plans look like this:
B:  toast and jam, apple
L:  leftovers from yesterday which are NOT going in the freezer!  Courgette, mince and potato bake (and very delicious it was too!).  Then a mini orange
D:  Has to be freezer based so I think it will be a nice, unhealthy sausage roll with a side salad and some coleslaw.  Or, if it's raining and chilly, maybe baked beans instead of the salad.

No spending today (and the bank balance is looking very healthy a third of the way into the month).

From the freezer:
bread for the toast
sausage roll
also I think I will use some frozen fruit to make some jam for my lovely Mum and Dad who are nearly out of things to out on their morning toast.

The veg for the bake came from the allotment, the salad is mostly either home grown or gifted and, if I have baked beans, they will be frugal ones with a shot of brown sauce to give them spice.
So although I'm not costing things out in great detail right, I am being faithful to the frugal roots of this blog.

Tuesday 11 July 2017

The freezer challenge: day 10

The trouble with this challenge is that it's slow: so, so slow.  The good thing is that I'm saving an absolute fortune so no complaints here.

The pulled pork pot pie was scrummy so I have posted what I did as a separate entry.

Today's plans:
B:  muesli, fruit
L:  cheese and onion toastie, salad, apple
D:  mince, courgette and potato bake, peas, yogurt and fruit
S:  carrot batons

From the freezer:
mince (pre-cooked)

The rest is from fridge and cupboard, no spending needed.

Monday 10 July 2017

Recipe: pulled pork pie

This isn't really a recipe, to be honest, just a way of using the pot of pulled pork I had in the freezer, leftovers from a Sunday dinner last year.  It had some lovely stock in it so I didn't need to add any gravy.  You can use any leftover bits for this.  Just add a bit of gravy if necessary

I make a small amount of pastry using Pat Parker's idea of weighing out your flour (50gs worth), adding a pinch of salt, mashing in 25g of oil and then adding up to 25g of water to make a soft pastry dough.  Wrap it and chill it for a while.

I'm a bit useless with pastry but this works for me for pies, producing a crisp top and a fluffy underneath.  I only ever make pot pies so don't have to worry about soggy bottoms!

So, into a small, ovenproof dish or pot goes the defrosted pork and a few chopped veg - a bit of onion and a mushroom, maybe.  Then I pop over the pastry and bake it for around 25 mins at 180C (fan oven).

That's it!  Dead easy, really frugal, tasty and a good way of using up your scraps of Sunday joint or bits that you froze rather than throw away.

The freezer challenge: day 9

Here I am, back again after a weekend away and raring to go again.
First of all, I have a confession to make.  I did a quick shop for a few essentials  when I got home yesterday and they had YS sliced bread - Hovis wheatgerm so what I would call 'nice' bread - so I got three loaves at 9p each.  I couldn't turn that down, now could I?  So they're in the freezer now!

My meal plans for today:
B:  muesli and fruit
L:  egg salad - I have eggs that do need using up, banana
D:  pulled pork pie, new potatoes, peas.
S:  apple, nectarine

I came back with gifted food but nothing for the freezer!

From the freezer today
pulled pork

Friday 7 July 2017

The freezer challenge: day 8

Not such a good day, freezer wise.
B:  egg on toast, apple
L:  a picnic down the allotment
D:  eating out.

From the freezer: just bread today.
I won't be on challenge over the weekend.

Thursday 6 July 2017

The freezer challenge: day 7

I've been for a lucky dip in the freezer and this is the meals I have come up with for today.

B:  bacon sandwich (probably with brown sauce, yum)
L:  cheese salad wrap
D:  duck breast with new potatoes and veg, probably peas and sweetcorn
plus assorted bits of fruit/veg

From the freezer:
duck breast

I won't need to buy anything today, all the other things are in the fridge or cupboard, although yesterday I got a pint of milk, a block of butter and I treated myself to a bottle of sparkly water as a treat.  It was only 18p so won't break the bank and I did enjoy it yesterday evening in a champagne flute to make it feel posh!

Now I'm off around Google to find out how to cook the duck.  I've never cooked that before so fingers crossed I don't mess it up!

Last of all - suddenly there are a few spaces in the freezer.  Cheers!

Wednesday 5 July 2017

The freezer challenge: day 6

The only think I had from the freezer yesterday was two slices of bread as I was out for most of the day.

Today, these are the plans
B:  banana pancakes with natural yogurt and a drizzle of maple syrup
L:  soft cheese, ham and salad bagel with coleslaw and potato salad
D:  at a friend's house - I think it is chicken curry!
S/S  Probably nothing, seeing as I'm out for dinner

From the freezer
banana pancakes

. . . and I will need to buy some milk today but that's the first thing since I started the challenge.

Breakfast (found some strawberries in the garden).

Lunch which I had started, forgetting to photo.  The leaves are from the garden.

And dinner because the eating out didn't happen due to illness.

Monday 3 July 2017

The freezer challenge: day 5

It's going well.  It's coordinating with the start of some summer veg from the allotment which not only makes the overall spend more frugal, it's also extremely delicious!

B:  Scrambled egg with smoked salmon on toast, apple
L:  smoked salmon pate, toast, banana
D:  peppercorn kiev, courgettes or mixed salad, either new potatoes or sweet potato fries (depending on if we life any potatoes today), natural yogurt and jam
S/S:  peach, plum (maybe as a fruit salad with natural yogurt)

From the freezer:
smoked salmon
peppercorn kiev (very old and was YS to start with)

Dinner was delicious.  I ended up with a few mange tout and sugar snaps as well as the courgette and a small red pepper and I stir fried that with yesterday's leftover potato in a little toasted sesame oil.  Oh, it was scrummy!

Sunday 2 July 2017

Smoked salmon five ways

The more you can get out of a pack, the more frugal it becomes - not very frugal, just less costly (per meal).

1.  In a sandwich.  Nice brown bread, butter, smoked salmon, lemon juice and maybe some salad leaves or cucumber

2.  As a pate.  Smoked salmon, soft cheese, bit of cream (if you have some - optional), chives, lemon juice, plenty of pepper but beware salt as smoked salmon is already salty.  Pop in a mini blended and zizz to the consistency you want.  Use as a dip, on crispbread, bagel or toast or in a pile of lettuce leaves.

3.  Make some toast.  Scramble some eggs.  Add some chopped smoked salmon to the scrambled eggs at the last minute.  Enjoy!

4.  Make a fish pie and add smoked salmon bits to the sauce.  Delicious.  Just beware of adding any more salt!

5.  Fry onion and peppers in a pan.  Add soft cheese to make a sauce and pop in some bits of smoked salmon.  Add lemon juice and seasonings and serve with pasta.  Or use instead of bacon in a carbonara.

Recipe: chicken and pasta

I used:
a bit of butter because the bacon was very lean
some bacon pieces (cooking bacon)
some chopped chicken (about half a boneless breast, I think and I didn't buy it chopped, heaven forbid: I bought the chicken, chopped it and froze it in portions)
a little bit of courgette, sliced and each slice halved
the tomato sauce from yesterday (thick passata, omiom, orange pepper, mushroom, seasonings, garlic granules and dried herbs)

What I did:
I fried the bacon and chicken bits in the butter until almost cooked.
I added the courgettes and fried until the were just changing colour by which time the meat was cooked.
Then I tipped in the sauce from yesterday and let it simmer for a few minutes.

I did all that in the morning, let it cool and stored it in the fridge to let the flavours develop.

At dinner time I cooked the pasta.
I reheated the chicken and sauce in the microwave.
I added the sauce to the pasta and mixed it together well before serving it piping hot.

And it was delicious!

Not Great British Menu but scrummy, all the same!

The freezer challenge: day 4

Just for now, the 30-30/5-2 budget challenges have changed -  to free up as much space in my freezers as possible by just eating out of it (plus fridge and cupboard), only buying the basic essentials such as milk, fresh fruit and veg, etc, when needed.
It won't be as frugal but it will mean I don't spend very much money on food in July and, possibly, August.
AND I can then defrost my freezers!

Today's plans:
B:  bacon sandwich, apple
L:  smoked salmon sandwich, side salad (or maybe salad in the sandwich)
D:  Mediterranean vegetable quiche, new potatoes, yellow courgette, yogurt and pineapple

From the freezer:
small back smoked salmon
quiche (YS and rather old, bad me)

From the garden/allotment:
new potatoes

No spending today.  I'm out of butter but I have plenty of 'Beautifully Butterly which is . . . well, OK.

Later . . .
. . . dinner was delicious, even the old frozen YS quiche (which I over cooked - ooops).  In the end I roasted the courgette with some red pepper for about 30 mins.

Saturday 1 July 2017

Recipe: pork, courgette and potato bake

Just look what I came home with from the allotment!

First fruits - well, my first fruits anyway - Beth (daughter) has already had a couple of courgettes and some chard.

Of course, my dinner plans changed and this is what I did.

I used:
a bit of butter
the leftover pork cut into mouth-sized bits
a small onion, sliced 
a small orange pepper, de-seeded and sliced
two mushrooms, sliced
some garlic granules
some tomato sauce (passata that I had reduced down) made with garden tomatoes last year (freezer),
salt, pepper and dried mixed herbs
some of the potatoes, boiled and sliced
yellow courgette, sliced thinly
finely grated cheese (it goes much further if you finely grate it)

What I did:
I boiled the potatoes, set them aside to cool and then sliced them

I fried the onion, pepper and mushrooms in butter, adding garlic granules towards the end.  Then I added the tomato sauce, mixed herbs, salt and pepper and let it bubble briefly.  I spooned half off for another day, then added the pork.

I buttered the base of a small lasagne dish and spread over half of the courgette, then added a tiny bit of salt, some pepper and a bit of grated cheese.  On top of that went the pork and tomato sauce, then more of the courgette slices, more seasoning, the sliced potato and finally the rest of the grated cheese.

I baked it in the oven at about 170C for around half an hour until the top was brown and the sauce all bubbly.
I ate just over half last night and the rest is for lunch today so that little belly pork joint has done four good meals.

The sauce can contain anything - different meat, no meat, different veg, all to your own taste or what's available, so it's a nice, flexible recipe.

The freezer challenge: day 3

The 30-30 challenge and the 5-2 budget challenge have morphed into the freezer challenge.  The aim is to use up the stuff in my freezer that I've not been able to use for the first two challenges because either they are too expensive (like the pack of smoked salmon) or I have no idea what they cost me when I bought them.  There's some awfully old stuff in there which really does need using up.

Today's menu
B:  toast and marmalade, fruit
L:  the rest of the pork, courgette and potato bake (got to call it something) from yesterday dinner
D:  chicken pasta.  I shall get some chopped chicken out of the freezer and also maybe some bacon pieces, fry it, add the tomato sauce from yesterday with some oregano from the garden and serve it on pasta of some kind.  I also want to see if I can treat the allotment chard like kale and have 'crispy chard' to sprinkle over the top.  It's worth a try anyway.

I won't need to buy anything in for today's food.

Freezer food used
the bread
bacon pieces

and the pork, courgette and potato bake won't be going into the freezer as it usually would for 'another time'

(note to self: change the title of the blog)