Tuesday 13 July 2021

Clean your fridge weekly for free meals! (Thrifty Kitchen Tips)


Mondays are my day each week to clean out the fridge and "root cellar, (a hanging basket of onions and potatoes in the kitchen, and box in the unheated room off the kitchen for squash, gourds, and similar), so that is also when I tend to do a lot of meal planning for the week. Basically, the idea is to unearth and rescue anything that is on its last legs or soon will be, and make sure it gets used up before it goes bad. And, of course, to throw out anything that has already gone bad, but when you keep up with the task, almost nothing ever goes bad or to waste!

This is also a great way to ease into cooking ahead, which is a pretty popular thing right now, and a really good way to save time and money in the long run.

I have fallen down on the job the last couple weeks, only sort of half-assing it, but thankfully, nothing had to be tossed! That said, there was a LOT of stuff needing to be used fairly promptly. 

So, what did I pull out of the fridge and other places on the Monday in question?
A couple of sad, lonely, little onions and one rotten one, most of a good onion from the fridge, a bunch of soft potatoes, almost a pound of decidedly flaccid carrots, two partial bunches of flat out floppy celery, three pounds of beets that I kept meaning to roast and kept forgetting for like two weeks, Some old garlic, about 1/3 of a head of cauliflower - not enough to really use on its own...

... a somewhat hardened wheel of Brie, what was left of a big bag of walnuts, most of a bottle of injectable marinade stuff - well past the pull date, but still smelled good, the dregs of an ancient bottle of Italian salad dressing, and a 2 lb package of bacon that was forgotten (I usually vac seal them into 1/4 - 1/2 lb packs and freeze them).

Time to start planning and prepping. 

Added to  a couple eggs, a pack of frozen chicken thighs, some harvested herbs from pruning my plants, and some contributions from my spice shelf, this will be breakfast for one day, and lunches and dinners for two or three days, depending on how hungry folks are.

The rotten onion bulb had almost nothing salvageable, but the newly grown scallions would make a nice addition to a breakfast, veggie scramble!

 Who would think those lovely, sliced scallions came from something rotten?


 That Brie is definitely old and a lot more dry than Brie is typically enjoyed, but it still tastes great, and will be even better incorporated into a couple of dishes.

Time to get cooking!

Sautéing onion, celery, carrots, and garlic for the scramble
Almost time to add in the eggs.

 Once the veggies are tender and slightly browned, a couple eggs are scrambled in. Meanwhile, most of the bacon was chopped up to cook, and will be added to other things, but I saved some slices out just for breakfast.


  The pieces are irregular cause I always get the big packs of bacon ends and pieces. It's a fraction of the price per lb, almost always thick sliced, with more meat to fat than the regular packages, and an awesome deal! Ask your local grocer where to find the ends and pieces. They are often not with the rest of the packaged bacon.  


 And that HUGE serving there is mostly veggies, with just over one egg and a little bit of Brie in the entire bowl (plus the bacon, of course), so can be enjoyed knowing it's a balanced meal.  
Now, with a good breakfast served and eaten, the rest of the future meals can be planned, assembled, and any cooking ahead done.

  Next up, a delicious roasted root veggie dish using the potatoes, beets, cauliflower, walnuts, the rest of the Brie, onion, carrots and celery, some of the garlic and harvested herbs, olive oil, and a few spices.

It could be a side dish or a main dish. We used portions of it for both over several days. 
Then, the salad dressing and injectable marinade, with the rest of the garlic and herbs made a delicious marinade for chicken, and then an equally delicious pan sauce to drizzle over said chicken after grilling.

I served that up with freshly harvested green salads from my indoor lettuce garden for one meal, and with the roasted veggie thing on the side for the next meal. Decadent! 
And almost all with stuff that was in danger of getting thrown out!

What can your weekly fridge and pantry cleaning haul yield for your next scrumptious meals?

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