Wednesday, 6 July 2016

One Ingredient Challenge

Broccoli, potato and kale soup.

This week, I was determined to stretch out my grocery shopping and put it off for a few days. We still had a little bit of vegetables and fruit, but were almost out of eggs and cheese, which are a staple in our *almost* vegetarian household.

I decided I would try to do some batch cooking and make some meals for the next few nights by using what we had, despite the fridge looking pretty bare. Normally I am on top of using up ingredients but I had started to fall behind a bit. For each recipe I would choose one ingredient that was close to being thrown away or needed to be used up.

First up meal number 1 involved using a really sad looking broccoli I had forgotten about sitting in the crisper. It was in a plastic bag, so was still kind of fresh, although its colour was more a shade of yellow than green it was to good to compost so I set about making a soup.  I chopped up and onion and a 2 cloves of garlic, and fried them in a splash of oil. Then diced the entire broccoli- including stems and leaves and added this to the pot, then covered it with water. I realised at this point one broccoli was going to make a pretty meager soup, so chopped up 5 whole small potatoes and some salt. Again making sure the vegies were covered with water. Once they were cooked, I added about a quarter cup of milk powder, some pepper and a couple of handfuls of kale and silverbeet from the garden. Voila- broccoli, potato and kale soup. We ate this for dinner with hot buttered toast and it was delicious! I will definitely make this again.

Meal 2 was based around a soft zucchini. One of our quick and easy meals here is zucchini slice, however I changed my regular recipe to accommodate for less egg and cheese and more vegies. I used 3 beaten eggs, 1 c plain flour, the grated zucchini,  a splash of water, 1/2 a c of oil and mixed this well. Then added some chopped silverbeet- thank goodness for our winter garden! I pored this into a non stick slice tray and used the last of our cheese grated on top which was under 1/4 of a cup. I then baked it in the oven for 20 minutes, until the top was brown and served it with some frozen corn cobs and  par cooked pumpkin. This was a busy evening, and I was so grateful to be able to just put it all in the oven for reheating.

For meal number 3 was 3/4 of a Dolmio tuna pasta bake sauce jar. This was given to me by a friend and I had opened the jar and added a couple of tablespoons to another recipe, which was fine but we decided by itself it tasted strange. I don't buy any prepared sauce jars so think we are just to used to my homemade white sauce! But now wasn't the time to fussy so I found 2 quarter filled bags of different shaped pasta-spiral and penne and added these to a pot of boiling water. Then when cooked stirred in the jar of sauce, half a tin of tuna, along with some salt, pepper and more chopped kale. I topped it all with some breadcrumbs and baked in the oven. Most of us didn't mind it, Mr 10 ate it but was not impressed and would not eat any of the leftovers lol. I think you could make a similar meal just using a tomato based jar or tinned tomatoes if you had them in the pantry.

I really enjoyed my little self imposed challenge and am happy these ingredients didn't end up in the bin. Have you ever made a "fridge soup" or any other super frugal meals?

Zucchini slice with extra greens


  1. Wow! What a challenge. You are so creative. :) Love it.

    1. Hi Chrissy,

      I hope you are feeling better after the heatstroke? Thanks so much xx

  2. Hi Mel,

    You have done so well and made some delicious food from what others might bin. Yes, we have "creative" meals from bits and bobs all the time here. :-) It saves so much being inventive, even one last tablespoon of sour cream will get added to mash or something. I freeze tiny bits of tomato paste, gravy, anything really leftover that can be frozen in snack sized ziplocs, then recycle these back into meals over the next month. I like that slogan "love food, hate waste!" ;-)

    1. Hi Kaye,
      Thanks so much. Exactly, its just all those little bits that add up, I do the same thing here. Once I made the best chicken and veg pie, the secret ingredients were 1/2 a tin of asparagus I'd frozen and random portions of frozen gravy! xx

  3. Dear Mel, I love it! Yes I make a few fridge things... one is fridge pizza. Its amazing what you can put on a pizza. If I have left over pesto I use that as pizza topping.
    Another is fried rice. Again so many things can go into fried rice. And of course stock or soup. A good stock can be made entirely of stuff that normally gets thrown out. I freeze random bits and pieces until I have stock on then it all goes in. Free food, kind of! We can do a lot. It really stretches the budget! xxx

    1. Hi Annabel,
      Fridge pizza? I love that idea! Oh I make fried rice here often too, even just with onion, rice, eggs and frozen peas. I make my own stock too, never thought of freezing all the little leftovers though. That idea I'll be storing in the vault for later ;) xx

  4. Good Morning Mel! Followed over from Annabel's site :~) Am I missing a subscribe button? I'd love to have you in my email box when you publish a new post...
    I've been reading back over the last year or so while sipping my coffee, and I'm enjoying my visit!
    Have a blessed day

    1. Hi Kathryn,
      Thanks so much for reading my blog, it is much appreciated. Hopefully you've found some ideas here :) Sorry, I don't have a subscribe button, I'll look into that though! x

  5. Hi Mel,
    Popped over from bluebirds:) You are so creative.I love making things with a little of this and that.You had a great saving week. Some times I make pizza dough and then add the
    little bits inside like pizza pockets. Some times no cheese, Sometimes a bit of fruit and sugar. So many options. Do you have directions for your healing balm. It looks amazing and sounds like it would help with sore this and that's.We were in a bit of an accident and this sounds
    like it would help.
    Have a very blessed week.

    1. Hi Patti,
      Thanks for stopping by! Pizza pockets sound yummy, and you could make them with whatever you have in the fridge too. I'll have to try that :)
      Sorry to hear you were in an accident. I hope you are ok? The dandelion balm is something I've only just started to make but it works wonderfully. I also added about 10 drops of lavender oil in mine. Heres the link for the recipe: