Making convenience food without the waste
Inspired by the lovely Alea, over at Premeditated Leftovers, who shared a post called “Teriyaki chicken; three ways”, I was reminded of some of the things I do here at Chez Green to make zero waste cooking quick and convenient.
One of our secrets to minimising food waste is to view our leftovers as ingredients. I also take the line that if the oven is on, it’s best to maximise the energy.
On a Sunday I do the following, which means we can eat ‘fast food’ during the week without any plastic packaging!
When the oven is on for a roast dinner I cook extra chicken portions. I usually cook 4 in all – 2 for Sunday lunch and dinner and a couple for meals throughout the week.
I’ve also recently discovered that you can ‘fry’ onions in the oven – duh! So instead of putting a frying pan on the hob and using more energy, I cut up the onions, put them in an oven proof dish with oil and butter and put them in the bottom of the oven while it is warming up. Twenty minutes later I have all the onions I will need for the coming week’s meals. They can be safely stored in the fridge (sealed container please, otherwise your house smells like a take away shop!) for up to a week.
Sunday night I spend no more than 10-15 minutes putting together the following meals:
Mix cooked onions, cooked chopped chicken and a jar of curry sauce – usually makes 3 portions.
Mix all the leftover veggies from lunch, some of the chicken and leftover gravy (I deliberately make too much) ready to be made into ‘Sunday lunch soup’. Makes three to four portions when served with bread. I tend to make soup which is more like puréed baby food, it’s more warming and satisfying.
Mix a bit of diced chicken, some of the onions, left over diced, roast potatoes and carrots with some gravy or stock. Add herbs and whatever seasoning and flavourings you like (tomato ketchup is fab!) and that makes a chicken casserole. Makes two portions if not three.
If there are any small bits of chicken left over, I mix it with curry spices and mayonnaise to make Coronation chicken which can be used as a quick sandwich filler.
Any of these main meals can be frozen in portions until you are ready to eat them.
None of this is rocket science, and I’m sure many of you do these kinds of things already. But it’s helpful to share ideas so we can all learn and be inspired. What do you do to enjoy convenient food without the waste?