Having described several ways to use up leftover ingredients and cut back on waste in Waste Not, Want Not – Part One, we look at more ideas to keep the contents of your fridge out of the garbage and save you money.
According to food standard regulations, all food with a shelf life of less than two years bears a “use by” or “best before” date stamp on the packaging. Knowing the difference between these is a must if you want to cut down on waste. Use by dates appear on perishable products such a chilled convenience meals and yoghurt. These foods may carry a risk of food poisoning if eaten after the specified date.
Best before dates are used on tinned, dried and frozen foods and indicate that after this date the food may lose quality but is still safe to eat. If in doubt, throw it out – never eat something that has changed in consistency, colour or odour. However, you will discover that most goods with best before dates are still edible after the best before – so do check before throwing food away.
Leftover fish becomes an inspiring light supper when you turn it into tasty fish cakes. Any kind of cooked fish will do – whether it’s tinned tuna or salmon, or a white fish such as cod or haddock. This recipe uses mashed potato, so it’s a good one to have on hand if you have both ingredients leftover in the fridge.
Ingredients for Snappy Fish-cakes
Serves 4, with 4 fish cakes to freeze for later
500 g cooked fish, flaked and any bones or skin removed
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely diced
150g mashed potato
1 egg beaten
50g butter, melted
Seasonings : salt, pepper, lemon juice, parsley
Time in Kitchen : 30 mins, plus chilling time.
Skill Level – Easy
Step 1 : Gently fry onion and garlic until they are soft and transparent and add to a large bowl containing the potato, fish and seasonings. Mix thoroughly until the ingredients are combined evenly.
Step 2: Now comes the fun (and possibly messy!) part : shape the fish-cakes into eight individual portions and dip each one into the flour, then the egg and finally breadcrumbs. The easiest way to do this is to set the flour, egg and breadcrumbs onto separate plates and make a “production line”.
Step 3: After coating the fish-cakes, place them on an oven-proof tray and place in the fridge to chill for a minimum of 15 minutes. If you are keeping 4 fish-cakes to use another day, freeze them at this stage.
Step 4: Brush the melted butter all over the fish-cakes and bake in a hot oven until golden brown all over. Serve with a fresh, green salad and crusty bread, with a choice of sauces for dipping.
If you ever buy more milk than you need and realise that it is close to the use-by date, treat the family to a rice pudding for dessert. Rice pudding is a comfortingly simple dish, which you can add extra flavours to for a bit of extra zing – chopped fruit and nuts, jam, rosewater and cinnamon – the options are endless.
Recipe for Yummy Rice Pudding
1 litre of milk
120g of uncooked white rice – short grain is best, but long grain will work
75g white sugar
Skill Level : Easy
Time in Kitchen : 20 minutes
Step 1: Start by wiping around the inside of a heavy-bottomed pan with a scrap of butter, which will help to prevent the rice from sticking. Add the milk and rice to the pan, and bring to the boil quickly, using a high heat.
Step 2: Reduce the heat, add the sugar and allow the mixture to simmer, cooking until the rice is tender. This should take around 15 minutes, depending on the type of rice used. Serve the rice pudding hot or allow it to cool, according to your preference.
Baguette style bread can become dry and unappetising if you don’t get through it in the first day. Another option is to save money by purchasing day old bread items. Please the pizza fans in your family, and attack your fridge full of leftovers by making baguette pizzas. Simply slice the baguette into sections and spread each one with tomato purée, along with any other ingredients from your fridge – tuna, chopped ham and cheese for example. Then simply bake in a hot oven for 5 minutes or so – delicious!
Bones, Meat and Vegetable Scraps
Get into the habit of reserving odds and ends of vegetables such as carrot peel and onion trimmings, as well as bones from any meat that you prepare – chicken carcasses are excellent for this and some butchers will give them to you for free. These can be made into stock, which is a basis for soups, sauces and stews. Simply pop the ingredients into a large pan, cover with water and cook over a low heat for 2 hours. If you don’t want to use stock immediately, freeze it in ice-cube trays as handy home-made “stock cubes”.
These easy to do tips and recipes should help to change the way you look at your leftovers. Where once you may have opened the fridge door and seen food to be disposed of, hopefully, you’ll now see opportunities for a fantastic frugal meal.
Category: Saving Money
About the Author (Author Profile)
Beck Middleton is a freelance writer who enjoys finding new ways to save money, while still getting the most out of life. Having bought a 110 year old property in 2010, Beck and her husband are stepping up to the challenges of renovating and updating their home whilst keeping to a budget. In her free time, Beck also spends time reading, gardening and picnics in the countryside.