I'm ashamed to say we are a house of food wasters. Like I can't even go into detail because it's embarrassing. So as well a few other things I want to accomplish in 2017, less waste is one of them. Less is more.
Too much choice I find can limit your choices because there's just too much!
I was browsing over on Instagram on the lovely Life On Hushabye Farm Instagram account the other week and saw the hashtag #ClearOutandEat and realised that this was something we really needed to do.
I'm mad for an offer and browsing at the end shelves in the supermarkets where they have all the special offers advertised, I always feel like I'm getting a great deal! What actually happens is I end up buying stuff I don't need or too much of something that might go off or out of date before I get a chance to use it and it ends up in the bin. I feel so guilty every time I have to throw out food that we left go to waste and not only food waste but wasting money too.
There's only the 3 of us so really our shopping bill should be quite low and with the way work / college shifts go there's rarely 3 of us at home at once to eat a meal. Some days I only have to cook for myself.
So I've decided we are going to just clear out the kitchen and eat what's there. Make the best meals we can with what we have and keep our shopping bill down. I cleared out the freezer last night and found 10+ chicken breasts, like what are we doing? And we'd buy fresh ones then each week shopping and just use them rather than taking them out of the freezer. Ridiculous carry on. We are still inundated with Christmas goodies too so there'll be no need to buy any treats for a long while.
I've set a weekly limit for groceries €40 per week and I've meal planned for the week ahead (Friday - Thursday, I'll be shopping in Aldi on my lunch breaks on Thursdays as it stops me from browsing because I don't have the time which in turn will stop me from picking up random items...I hope!).
All the meals will be based on what's in the cupboard / fridge / freezer and only buying essentials like bread, milk, yoghurts etc. or accompaniments like a garlic bread baguette for the pasta dish that we already have all the ingredients for at home.
I feel like it will also force us to be a bit more creative in the kitchen. I love cooking but I'll be the first to admit I always veer towards the "easy" recipes and it's ends up with us eating the same dishes all the time.
Also my freezer needs to be defrosted so we need to empty it and soon!
So here is the meal plan for the week ahead:
Any day there's fish on the menu generally means I'm dining solo!
Monday and Wednesday the boy child will be fed at his Nanny's and the OH will be working the late shift.
Tuesday and Thursday the OH will be cooking so I've put things on the menu that I know he'll like and he makes a much better Chilli than I do too.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday are my days off so I like to try and prepare a nice dinner where I'm not rushing or reheating.
The main ingredients for all of these meals are already in the kitchen, actually the only things I had to buy for the dinners above was the garlic bread and buns for the burgers. Luke will more than likely eat everything on there, I'm not sure about the Chicken Supreme but I'll try him with it anyway.
First week of shopping and trying to keep under my budget and strictly stick to my list was a success! I spent €32 on groceries and an additional €12 on washing powder and kindling for the fire but they aren't every week buys so I'm quite pleased with myself.
I'll update next week on how the meals above went and if we needed to get any extras during the week.
Please feel free to share your meal plans or shopping tips, I'm always looking for inspiration.