The fridge is starting to look a little bare as we get ready for a cleanup and refresh. Whether it’s because you’re going away, there’s a change of season, or your cupboards and fridge just need a good sorting, it helps cut down on waste if you take one day a week to cook just with what’s on hand.
Here’s what I saw that needed to be used:
3 homemade sourdough buckwheat buns – I keep these in the freezer because with whole grains and no preservatives they spoil easily.
Sundried tomatoes in oil – bought for a recipe; I prefer the dry-packed, as they keep longer without electricity.
Green olives – good for martinis but alas, we are out of gin.
A can of tuna in water.
Kozlik’s Tripke Crunch mustard, which I love but which has, of late, been ignored in favour of Old Smokey.
Some cheese bought “off list” on last week’s market excursion and needing to be finished off.
I chopped the tomatoes and olives, mixed with the tuna and mustard, and spread this on the buns (sliced in half). Next I grated the cheese and put it on top, popping under the broiler just until melt-y.
That’s it! Another weekend use-it-up assignment complete:
Call them what you will, one of the best ways to stretch your grocery bill is to incorporate leftovers or things that need using up into your lunch.
We’re off to run a couple of errands before the Super Bowl and we were smart enough not to eat the two extra lamb chops in the grocery store package (on sale last week and held in the freezer). We broiled the lot last night and sliced the leftovers for lunch. They’re served on a bed of local baby greens and cukes, both hothouse-grown.
For the dressing:
1/4 c / 60ml homemade wine vinegar
2T / 30ml olive oil
1oz / 30g crumbled feta
1T / 15ml Dijon
1T / 15ml dried oregano or basil
6 dry-cured olives, chopped
Sprinkle on top:
1T / 15ml chopped sundried tomatoes
Weekends are a great time for a relaxing breakfast – but this easy oatmeal recipe takes so little effort, we often have it on weekdays, too.
Put in a microwaveable glass or ceramic casserole:
1 diced Apple
3/4 c large flake or steel cut oats
A sprinkle of cinnamon
1/2 c chopped nuts or seeds (we used hazelnuts and black sesame seeds for this version)
1-1/2 c water
No need to stir!
Microwave uncovered on high for 3 minutes, and on 50% power for 5 more minutes.
Stir and serve with maple syrup and some milk or nut milk.
Healthy choices are made out by some to be complicated. They are all about giving up things we love. Instead, let’s think about how we can simplify what we eat.
We have half a leftover roast chicken in the fridge. (Learn to roast it yourself to avoid the excessive salt of the store’s rotisserie version). More on that another day. We also have some beef ragu, some chickpeas, and a selection of seasonal, local veg. This week I’ll post as we work through healthy easy ways to use it all up, and save money, too.
Although we aren’t vegetarians or vegans, I might add that a plant based diet is definitely healthier, IF WE MAKE GOOD CHOICES. So you’ll also see lots of meatless options.
Let’s start with lunch. Frozen whole wheat roti are warmed in the oven for 5 minutes, and stuffed with this mixture (for two):
1 diced tomato
1 chicken breast, diced, skin removed
1 T/15ml light mayo (not salad dressing, avoid added sugar)
1 T/15ml Dijon mustard
Serve with a glass of milk or nut milk.
It’s Sunday morning and we are rushing around to get out the door (again). No excuse not to have a delicious breakfast in our bellies!
In a blender, whirr
2T / 30ml flaxseed to grind (always keeps better if you grind as needed)
3/4 c 180ml buckwheat flour
2 t / 10ml baking powder
1T / 15 ml brown sugar
Pulse to mix
1 c / 250 ml almond milk
1 large egg or egg substitute
1 T / 15 ml butter or oil or coconut oil
Mix just to combine (you might need a spatula to help).
If needed just enough milk to make a thick but pourable batter.
Pour pancakes into a nonstick pan buttered or sprayed with cooking oil on medium high heat, about the size of your palm. They will spread and puff a little.
When bubbles appear and the edges start to look dry, time to flip. My frypan does four at a time.
They can be kept warm in a 150F oven as additional batches are made. Recipe can be doubled. Finished pancakes can be frozen with parchment in between for reheating in the toaster.
Serve with fruit and maple syrup.
Right out of the gate most mornings, we walk or go to the gym. Not a leisurely stroll, but a brisk pace, almost a run. Himself having longer legs, I have to work a little harder to keep pace. Then, back home, we have breakfast before setting to work on the day’s tasks. Once in a while our schedule means we don’t get the walk in until later in the day, and when that happens, we notice a difference. Keeping fit and eating good food, prepared from scratch gives us energy and we feel sharper and better able to cope with the day – however it turns out. We’re grateful we can afford good food, but we have also found that eliminating processed food from our diets isn’t any more expensive, especially if we plan our meals and avoid waste by using what’s on hand and buying just what we need to round out the menu.
This tasty oatmeal is made in less than ten minutes using large flake or steel cut oats.
For two, in a microwave-safe bowl:
1-1/2 c water
1 large Apple, diced
2 T chopped nuts or seeds
Sprinkle of cinnamon
Cook on the oatmeal setting, or alternately, 3 minutes on full power plus 5 minutes on 50% power. Enjoy with milk or nut milk if you prefer, and a little maple syrup.
Back in the city, (did I mention we’ve moved?) we have returned to many healthy, happy habits. The first is walking – everywhere. Although we are still eating freshly-prepared homemade food, there’s been a decided absence of baked goods. Generally I only have homemade bread, and we have been busy moving across the country. Somehow, bread making just hasn’t happened at this point, a month in.
This morning my husband commented that he hadn’t been missing the bread at all. So here’s another bread-free, use-it-up recipe, for two.
Bring to a boil:
2 c homemade salt free vwgetable stock
1/2 c sliced onion
1 sliced celery stalk
1 grated carrot
2 t cider vinegar
1 t sesame oil
1 T grated ginger
1-1/2 c cooked brown rice (leftover) into two bowls
Top each with
1/2 can water packed tuna or 1/2 c leftover cooked fish
Pour hot broth and veg mic over
Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.
English friends, full disclosure…not chips, or what you might call crisps. Fruit crisps are a summer dessert and breakfast staple. This one started with a layer of stewed rhubarb, although simply chopping with a little maple syrup would work well. Any summer fruit (or mixture) will do.
Put the fruit in a square pan. In a large bowl mix 1/4c melted butter, 1/4c maple syrup or brown sugar, 2c large flake rolled oats, and 1/3 c each of unsweetened coconut and walnuts. Change it up with nuts and seeds as you like. Add more oats until you have a consistency that’s not too wet and sprinkle over the fruit.
Bake in a 350F oven for 30 minutes for pre-cooked fruit or up to an hour for fresh fruit, until topping is nicely browned and fruit is soft and bubbling. A glass pan lets you see what’s going on underneath.
We served ours with a tasty yogurt topping but whipped cream, ice cream or nothing at all and it would still be divine. (1/2 c fat free plain yogurt mixed w 1t maple syrup and 1/2t vanilla is plenty for two).
Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a long-simmered soup. It’s not. Around our house, we are continually amazed by now many smart, talented people believe it is easier to order takeout or open a high-sodium canned or frozen food and nuke it, than to just simply cook.
Here’s what we did to make today’s lunch:
Put 2c/500ml (or so, not an exact science!) of veggie broth on to boil. We always have some in the fridge, made from the parings and leftover bits of carrots, onions, and other veg.
Chop up into 1/4″ dice, two carrots and half an onion. The onion was left from another recipe, otherwise we could have used a whole one if we wanted. Put these in the broth with a diced tomato. Simmer, covered, 10 minutes. Purée with an immersion blender.
Add a splash of milk and some leftover rice and beans (potatoes would work, or baked beans, pasta, or even cheese). Stir another minute or two, until hot.
Sprinkle with a few croutons and enjoy.
15 minutes from fridge to plate. So yes, perhaps the microwave is faster, but his is high vitamin, high fibre, and low in sodium – not to mention delicious.
Delicious! We are always inspired to find new ways to use things like a basic roasted turkey. Soups, salads, stews, chilis…it’s all good. Today’s lunch finished off the last of the bird.
1 package of romaine hearts – chop or leave whole and arrange on plates
110g diced roast turkey
1 medium apple
For the dressing, mix:
10ml/2t anchovy paste
15ml/1T each Dijon and lemon juice
30ml/2T fat free plain yogurt
Drizzle over your salad and grate on a light serving of Parmesan cheese.