It is well known amongst my friends and family that I am a tight arse, although I prefer the phrase fiscally prudent.
Perhaps it was my upbringing, or my grandmother’s influence (she could make a chicken last a week), maybe it’s just my nature.
But without such highly developed skills I would never have survived seven years in New York living and working as a musical theatre performer.
Ketchup soup anyone?
It ain’t so bad when your other option is tuna surprise…tuna mixed with whatever else I found in the cupboard.
And now I’ve found a way to carry my ‘waste not want not’ attitude into my daughter’s meals as well.
Behold. The ever changing, ever delicious, not-a-thing-goes-unused menu for the divine Miss Q…
· Vegetable muffins - Wholemeal flour (yes, yes, I seriously am that healthy) and leftover vegies from dinner the night before. Sometimes I really shake things up by mashing the sweet potato so the muffins are a delightful orange colour instead of the grey of the healthy wholemeal flour.
· Frittata – made in the microwave. Do the microwaves cancel out the goodness of the dish I wonder? Again, use any leftover vegies, rice, a few eggs, a bit of milk and toss in some sour cream or cottage cheese. Truly, I hit upon this by accident because I was just trying to use up what was in the fridge, but it adds a certain richness to the dish and honestly, I think MasterChef may want to speak to me soon.
· Bran Muffins – these are actually a recipe, but I’ll have to post it later as it’s at my mum’s house. Suffice to say they include sultanas, buttermilk, all-bran and healthy flour. Keeping you healthy on the inside folks.
· Leftover cold fish – got to admit, not something even I could choke down. But Miss Q’s uncle likes a spot of spear fishing, and what could possibly be better than freshly caught, freshly barbequed filets of fish prepared just for you. No tartare sauce required.
· Meatballs – I use chicken, mince, pork, whatever. Mix with some breadcrumbs, an egg if need be and some seriously finely chopped vegies. Roll into balls and bake. Big hit people. Big hit.
· Savoury pikelets – there’s a recurring theme here of using last night’s vegies, but Q has become the perfect replacement to our no-longer-alive dog. Just to really shake things up, you could grate the vegies instead of chop them.
· Crockpot surprise – there is always a lot of jus (that’s sauce for you non-chefs out there) left over with a Crockpot meal, and I see no reason to let such a delicious thing go unused. What’s wrong with steaming a bit of chicken or pork and mixing it in with the jus? Or adding rice. Or pasta, couscous perhaps. The possibilities are endless.
· Marinated chicken – in yoghurt, soy, whatever else is close to expiration. Leave them for a while, then wack ‘em in the oven and bake. Any leftovers can be re-recycled into the above muffins or frittata.
· Stewed fruits – get the bag of old apples reduced to a couple of bucks on a Friday afternoon at the supermarket. Stew and mix with yoghurt for dessert. Your child need never know how many brown spots you had to cut out.
· Porridge – do you know how cheap that stuff is?
I could go on and on, but I think I’ve given you a good enough start.
If you are a fellow fiscal prude and have suggestions of your own, please, consider it your charitable duty to keep the rest of us informed.
If you’re new to this way of life, I embrace you.
Soon you too, will be justifying your bought coffee addiction with your budget saving cooking.
Waste not on your child and you will not want for your coffee.