Thursday, 27 November 2014

No Spend November - The Home Stretch

As you may have previously read here, I'm trying to stretch my weekly supermarket shop by an extra day each week, thus saving myself equilivent of one week's grocery money every 7 weeks. I have found it a fun challenge and not a hard one to achieve. I think we all over-buy every week at the grocery store and I've found I've always got extra ingredients I can use to stretch us out that extra day.

Here is a snap of my fridge-pantry at the end of week 3 and 2 of "No Spend November" and as you can see, they're hardly bare:

End of week 2 of No Spend November
End of week 3 of No Spend November
For my 8th day last week, I used the last of the vegetables in the fridge to make a good quality stock. I had a chicken carcuss in the freezer from my rooster culling a few months back so I made chicken stock but if you don't have the meat, there is nothing wrong with simply making a veggie stock (veggie stock is still yummy). There are heaps of recipes for stocks if you Google "stock" but what it comes down to for me is, what have I got in my fridge that needs using? This is what I used in this stock: carrots, broccoli, onions, garlic, parsley, rosemary and sage. Peppercorns, mushrooms and a chicken carcuss. Add approx 6 litres of water and a dash of vinegar. I cooked it on a low heat for about 4 hours but it's up to you. The longer you do it, the more developed the flavour. By the end you should have at least 3 ish litres of stock.

Once I'd cooled and sieved the stock I had a stack of recipe options. I decided on risotto with mushrooms, roasted pumpkin and feta. Vegetable and chicken soup (but if I didn't have the chicken, it would have been just as good as plain old vegetable soup) and creamy cauliflower soup. All done with the stock.

I also whipped up a roasted pumpkin dip. We've been eating it with carrot sticks, on rice cakes and even stirred through pasta. Here's the recipe:

200g pumpkin roasted in the oven.
1 clove garlic, also rosted in the oven (wrapped in al foil)
120g unsalted cashew nuts
60g parmesan cheese
50g feta cheese
40g olive oil
20g white vinegar
1/2 - 1 Tsp paprika spice

1 - Roast pumpkin and garlic in the oven
2 - Once pumpkin is cooked, removed from the oven and cooled, place all ingredients into a blender/food processor and mix together until the nuts are all small chunks.
3 - Eat with carrot sticks, crackers or stirred through pasta. Yummo!

So even though I'm aiming to do a 8 day shopping cycle rather than a 7 day, in reality I could probably go for longer than 8 days with the remaining ingredients I have left in my fridge-pantry at the end of each week. I find Google is great for ideas on what to make with my odd remaining ingredients or sometimes I simply modify a regular recipe that I know based around the left over bits and pieces I have. Getting creative, that's pretty much all it takes!

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