Saturday, 27 June 2015

Not Wasting A Scrap

My freezer is just about empty of raw meat at the moment. In fact right now, apart from some veg, fruit, bread and milk, it only contains 3 packs (each containing 16 rashers) of smoked back bacon that's on offer at £2 a pack in Morrisons, and a pack of 20 beef meatballs I bought yellow stickered in Asda. I have deliberatly run it down with the intention of stocking up at Farm Foods and using one of their discount vouchers that come through the door about once a month. The vouchers are usually for £2.50 off a £25 shop, £5 off £50 and £10 off £100. I usually only spend about £25 but think I might need to stretch it to £50 this time to really fill my meat bag in the freezer. 

I might not have much actual meat in the freezer but I do have several pre-prepared meals that I made while using up the contents. 

There are 2 small and 1 large meatloaves that I made using 2 x 450g packs of minced beef and 2 x 525g packs of minced pork all mixed together with 2 packs of prepared sage and onion stuffing mix, a couple of chopped onions, seasoning and 2 beaten eggs. The small meatloaves will serve myself, DH and my 2 grown sons for 2 meals, and the large one will be saved for when we have the other kids over for dinner.

I also made a huge pot of Hoppin' John in the slow cooker (blackeye peas that I had already cooked and frozen, tinned tomatoes, smoked sausage from the fridge and rice). We had some for dinner the night I made it and the remainder has been frozen to make 2 more dinners. As an accompaniement I made 2 big trays of chilli cheese cornbread, and again froze enough for at least 2 more meals.  

At the same time I also made 2 cheese and lentil bakes, one eaten, the other frozen, and in my second slow cooker a huge pot of tomato pasta sauce (enough to make at least 3 meals for 4 people).

This week there was cream galore yellow-stickered in Morrisons. I resisted temptation until it was reduced right down to 9p a pot then bought 2 pots. I also bought a pack of grated Low Low Cheese (reduced fat cheese that actually melts properly) for 75p. Pastry making is not one of my strengths so using a pack of Aldi chilled shortcrust pastry (99p), 4 rashers from a bacon pack (50p), a couple of chopped onions (20p), and 4 Aldi large Free range eggs (89p for 6, so about 60p for 4) plus salt and black pepper, I made one large and one smaller quiches. We've had the large one tonight between 4, there's a slice left for someone's lunch tomorrow, and the smaller quiche is frozen for another time. 

And this is where the Not Wasting A Scrap comes in, because there was a tiny ball of pastry trimmings left over after making the quiches. I thought of making a jam turnover with it but then remembered there was a small bowl containing leftover lamb mince and lentils in the fridge. Tipped into an individual pie dish, topped with the thinly rolled out pastry and baked at the same time as the quiches it made a lovely little pie. DS1 had the pie for dinner when he got in from work last night and said it was delicious.There was also a little of the cream/eggs/cheese mix left from filling the pastry cases so I baked it in a muffin tin and ate the crustless mini quiches with salad for my lunch.

With the weather lovely and sunny at the moment we're getting out more, sometimes taking an evening walk too, and with the ready made dishes in the freezer it means I don't have to stress about what to have for dinner or cook during the hot afternoons. 

In fact, after a heavy spending month with the wedding, several birthdays and other expenses, I'm considering trying to eke out what I do have for as long as possible. We're going for a week's holiday with Shearing Coaches to Whitby at the end of July (last minute deal £259 each for 8 days/7 nights half board including all coach travel from Dover and several outings), and I would like to spend as little as possible until then. I think we'll be eating a lot of that bacon in things like macaroni cheese, bacon roly poly etc. And I also have some packets of lentil curry (courtesy of Approved Foods), dried vegetarian sausage mix, tinned beans, tuna etc. It will be interesting to see just how far I can make all that stretch. 

The exception to this frugality is lunch out at Wetherspoons tomorrow to celebrate DS1's birthday which is on Monday. This is the card I've made him.

The figure of Batman is layered to make it stand out which you can see better in the second picture. I hope he likes it.

I think that's it for now. Anyone else using up what they have in and/or cooking for the freezer. I'd be interested to hear ideas for freezer meals. Enjoy your weekend everyone. Love, Helen xx



  1. Have a lovely time in Whitby. Best place on the planet for fish and chips. Loads of takeaways but at the bottom of 'The Steps' is a pub callled The Board' a small cod and chips will set you back £5.99. Served with salad, peas and coleslaw......... not small at all. Lovely crisp batter too

    1. Thanks for the recommendation, Cherie. We've been to Whitby once before but only for a day trip whilst staying at Scarborough. It was February and snowing so we're hoping for much better weather this time. We discovered a pie and mash shop that served the meals on enamel plates and tea in tin mugs with 1940s music playing in the background. They had wonderful pies eg black pudding, haggis, mutton etc. DH definitely wants to return there if possible.

  2. Morning Helen,
    I read this post at 3am as I was awake! Couldn't function enough to write a comment, so I'm here, at 7.45am with a cup of tea!
    We also get those farmfoods vouchers. Well worth it for stocking up the freezer.
    I love quiche but hadn't thought of baking the leftover innards pastry less ......UNTIL NOW! What a genius idea! Good for the waistline too!
    The birthday card is fabulous. I hope he doesn't read your blog else the surprise will be gone! As for freezer meals. I always double up in cottage pies, but make a few individual ones too. I always always keep a bag of cook from frozen minced steak in stock, those steam fresh vegetables ( bought on offer ) are always in my freezer and fish fingers!

    1. Good morning, Rachel. I was up until well after midnight as next door were having a party. Bless them! At least they warned us and the music did go off about midnight. I also make double of some meals either to freeze the extra or to keep in the fridge so the boys can help themselves for lunches. Every now and then, though, I get the urge to have a cooking day and then make several meals at one go. It can save on money by using the oven and slow cookers for more than one meal, and it means I have meals all ready in the freezer for the days I can't get off my backside to cook. I always have various frozen veg to go with, and have even started buying frozen mash and roast potatoes for convenience. Aldi and Iceland frozen potato products can work out cheaper than buying fresh potatoes and wasting time peeling, chopping and cooking. I cook the roasties in my halogen oven and the mash is done in the microwave. I would recommend Aldi roasties at 69p and Iceland mash at 89p. I found Iceland roasties were too greasy for my liking but their mash is delicious.