'Fridge Audit' and Menu Plan
So like all good Menu plans, mine starts with working out what food I have, what needs using up and what I feel like eating for the week.
So below is a picture of what's in my fridge and below that is a description of what needs to be eaten pronto and how I will use it as a base to plan a list of meals for the week and work out any other shopping I need to do.
This week's audit of my fridge shows lots of weird little bits and pieces of leftovers and a freezer that will soon need re-filling. There isn't too much left in the way of either 'fillers' or meals' for nights when I can't be bothered doing much. In fact about the only exciting thing in the freezer is the packet of Roast beetroot pearl barley risotto that I made as an experiment last week. I just wish I had known how much I would like it - I would have made a lot more.
The main things I need to think about in menu planning and making a shopping list are:
- The pink grapefruit has been hanging around for about 3 weeks now - and I still have noooo idea what to do with it!
- The apples, which were such a bargain at Harris Farms mis-shapen fruit stand, won't be such a bargain if I don't actually eat them as they are in grave danger of going off. I am meant to poach them to have on top of porridge - but am VERY tempted to try and make apple crumble for one.
- I MUST freeze or use the remainder of the tinned salmon. As part of my budget drive I have started buying the big tins of red salmon, as they work out much cheaper on a per kg basis than the smaller tins - but it does mean using salmon for multiple meals in a row or being disciplined enough to split it into portions and freeze it.
- The other things I really need to use or freeze or cook and freeze are the half tin of tomatoes in the glass, covered in gladwrap; the celery and spinach that are VERY close to their use by date and the punnet of baby tomoatoes that seemed such a good idea at the time.
- Along with pink grapefruit the celery and spinach are stilling hanging around from my big shop a couple of weeks ago, and need to be used ASAP.
- The tupperware container of roasted cauliflower, sweet potato and red capsicum are from when I started looking in the fridge last night and realising that these things would start going off if I didn't use them and b.) if I roasted something, my apartment might actually feel warm! However, I seem to have lost all enthusiasm for the warm salad I wanted to make. Even the roasted beetroot I so diligently roasted earlier in the week has lost it's appeal. I wanted to make a warm salad like I did earlier in the year, or as x does on one of my all time favourite food blogs, but it's going to be a battle.
- The other battle is that I have no idea how I am going to eat all that cabbage this week! All other dark green leafy vegetables have been really expensive this week. I'm hanging out for broccoli and brussel sprouts, but not at the prices they are currently. So 'Cabbage Invention Week' it is....
The results of my pre-audit was that I needed to freezer or cook some leftover pork fillet and the cauliflower and red capsicum needed 'dealing with.' So since I was home on a Saturday and just watching TV, I prepped the and meat and stuck them in the oven to do their thing.
I felt soooo virtuous!
Food saved from waste and I had done the prep, meaning Sunday night's meal would just need warming up. (The pork I put on a bed of frozen white wine and thyme and wrapped in foil to roast.)
So to planning my menu for the week.
This week is all about being frugal, making sure I use everything so it doesn't become waste and simplicity as I have a lot on. So it means I'm prepared to eat the same thing a few nights in a row. It also means I'm not adding any links to things I have been inspired by - as I don't want to tempt myself!
It's cold, wet and rainy here in Sydney so all I really want to do is cook a roast or some slow-cooked meal, or one of the 70's style meals my sister got me all excited about last week.
BUT instead my menu plan for this week is focused on:
- Using up what's in the fridge and not letting there be any waste
- Being pretty frugal
- 'The Glow' - food that will nourish
- Not spending a lot of time in the kitchen
So the plan as it stands is:
Monday: Warm salad of roasted cauliflower & beetroot with peas and pulled pork on a bed of sweet potato and chickpea mash (Uses up most of the pre-cooked food in the fridge)
Tuesday: Salmon with romesco sauce (which I will have made from the roasted capsicum in the tupperware container) with green cabbage sauted in butter. Possibly with avocado on top to make sure that gets used.
Wednesday: Tomato & butterbean soup. (In the ideal world I will have made this on Monday night while I was warming up the roast vegetables. It will use up the celery and spinach and chickpeas leftover from Monday)
Thursday: Panfried piece of steak with warm red cabbage salad, frozen peas and carrot mash
Friday: Pasta with tomato sauce (Or Napoletana if you are being fancy) (made using the punnet of baby tomatoes) (Leftover tomato sauce to be used on Sunday)
Saturday: Salmon patties (salmon from the freezer and the random potato I forgot to include in the photo) with steamed carrots and sauted green cabbage. Yep - hold the excitement!
Sunday: Enchiladas with red cabbage salad. This will be interesting! Basically I will find what meat is on special and poach or slow cook it so that I can shred / pull it to use the following week or freeze and use it as the basis for making enchiladas. I will add cumin and some other spices to the tomato sauce I made on Friday to make a topping. Not as cheesy and delicious as traditional enchiladas, but a way that is frugal (using up what I have) and whole-foods based, e.g. not using pre-made Mexican spices etc. I will however buy Mexican wraps. I'm sure they are full of 'e' numbers - but hey, if I get through this week and stick to this menu and use up everything in my fridge I will be celebrating!
So this is really interesting - even for me this has shown what spending a bit of time thinking about what you will eat for the week can save time and money. I am keen to try a food service next week, so really wanted to start with a blank slate as far as what was in the cupboard and fridge. I wouldn't say I'm that excited about the week, and for me I don't think there are really enough greens or serves of vegetables, but for a week when thrift and ease are the key ingredients I think it will work. I'll let you know!
- Piece of salmon
- Piece of steak
- Coriander (for Tomato & butterbean soup and the salmon patties)
- Wraps for enchiladas
- Lime for salmon patties