Convenience food during our WRAP’s Recycle week

Filed in Blog by on June 26, 2009 8 Comments
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Fresh strawberries from the local orchard; you can't get better zero waste convenience food than that!

Fresh strawberries from the local orchard; you can't get better zero waste convenience food than that!

I mentioned that we would be looking for zero waste convenience food, using up freezer stores and keeping our Food Waste to a minimum whilst declutteirng our garage during WRAP Recycle week.

It’s been easier than anticipated and we’ve eaten well. I knew my limitations. I didn’t want to be spending hours in the kitchen after a day of sorting out the grime in the garage, so I was going to be relying on ‘fast food’ whilst keeping an eye on nutrition in order to keep our energy levels up.

Here’s a rough idea of what we’ve been eating:

Monday

Lunch On Monday I put soup in the slow cooker first thing in the morning. In the fridge I found half a head of broccoli, 3 limp sticks of celery and about 1/4 jar of pasta sauce. With the addition of a potato and some stock we had soup by lunchtime served with bread.

Breakfast Breakfast was one of our favourite ‘fast food’ meals. I simply stir porrage oats into yogurt and leave them to soak for half an hour. In that time they swell into a delicious, creamy and filling breakfast. We had this with bananas, apples and honey. It provides a great lining for worker’s stomachs!

Dinner We had some tinned curry to use up, so Little Miss Green had that on toast for dinner, while Mr Green had curry and rice. I used up some lentils, rice and cooked vegetables from the weekend.

Snacks throughout the day were fresh fruit and sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

Apart from minimal lunchtime preparation, the food was very straight forward to deal with. We ate well, used up food going past its best and I didn’t have to spent much time in the kitchen.

Tuesday

Breakfast On Tuesday I discovered that not only is it WRAP’s Recycle week, but it appears to be growth spurt week for Little Miss Green. I have a ‘rule’ that breakfast must include two portions of fruit, so she wolfed down a banana and small pack of dried blackcurrants and promptly followed that by using up the last two slices of bread and half a tin of beans for a hearty beans on toast breakfast.

Lunch In my travels around the freezer, I found some beef hotpots and some old yogurt pots full of broccoli soup. I used up the hotpot for lunch, served with a large mixed salad.

Dinner The soup was defrosted in time for dinner. Little Miss Green had been asking to try some tinned prunes for weeks, so she had them for pudding (and loved them – ewwww; rather her than me)

Another simple day on the food front, with the minimum of fuss and minimal waste.

Wednesday

Breakfast Little Miss Green ramped up a banana craving, so breakfast was two bananas and an apple with some evaporated milk

Lunch Lunch bought on a chips craving (are you seeing a pattern?!), so she had chips, sweetcorn, carrots and salmon

Dinner on a Wednesday is usually a bit fraught and sometimes eaten in the car because little Miss Green has two clubs she goes to back-to-back. I took her a chicken sandwich with some cucumber and pepper to eat in the car and when she got home claiming starvation and I couldn’t be arsed to do anything I’m afraid she was given three pieces of toast and butter! Not exactly nutritious, but there you go; she did go out into the garden and grab and large plate of lettuce leaves to eat with it so her tummy was happy and I didn’t have to stand in the kitchen when all I could think about was bed.

Thursday

Breakfast Thursday was a yummy breakfast because we had been to the local orchard on Wednesday night and bought the first of the soft summer fruits. We had yogurt and oats with raspberries, strawberries and blackcurrants.

Lunch For lunch we went out into the garden and found new potatoes, beetroot and broad beans, which were delicious. These were served with either tinned fish or lentils.

Dinner Dinner for Little Miss Green was leftover tinned fish, slices of cucumber and red peppers, cubes of cheese and a couple of ryvita and butter. Aka ‘A plate of stuff’

All in all, it’s been a very simple week for food. Using up leftovers is definitely becoming easier and my immediate thought when asked ‘what’s for lunch’ is to check what is sitting on the top shelf of my fridge and build the meals around that.

This morning I can see half a tin of evaporated milk, half a tin of baked beans, half a tin of prunes, some cooked new potatoes and half a red pepper. I’m figuring something like frittata (to use up the potatoes and peppers) with salad and beans for lunch followed by prunes and evaporated milk for pudding.

What about you? I’d love to hear about the foods you grab for convenience when you’re in a rush, but you don’t want to end up with loads of packaging in the landfill.

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About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (8)

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  1. An easy meal for us is jacket potatoes cooked in the micro, served with cheese and baked beans.

    If we have any leftover (laugh in this house at the mo as DS1 is also having a marathon eating session, never seems full) meat that could be chopped into the beans rather than using cheese.

  2. Poppy says:

    Yesterday’s main meal was superb and a great success. Left over cold pasta, with chopped left over sausages, boiled egg, handful of lettuce and a grating of cheese. Easy, nutritious, and most importantly … all gone!

  3. Charity says:

    My 4 year old practically lives on bread and butter because she is so fussy, and seems to be be very healthy on it, so don’t feel guilty about it! Baked beans, potato waffles and canned sweetcorn goes down very well with both children, and the packaging is all recyclable.

  4. Layla says:

    Interesting to read about your food!

    Is there a particular reason why you use evaporated milk? (Is that milk in powder or in a tube like toothpaste? I only tried dustpowder milk in a fridge-less few months in the Uni dorm, & didn’t like it lol!! it’s survivable & okay for occasional use I guess..)

    Okay I googled it – hmm.. still think whole fresh milk is probably better! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Mrs Green says:

    @maisie dalziel: Fab suggestion Maisie – you can’t beat a jacket potato, no matter what time of year! How long do they take to do in a microwave?

    @Poppy: Oh yum, Poppy. I used up some cooked sausages in a casserole today with new potatoes from the garden – clean plates and full tummies!

    @Charity: Canned sweetcorn is a hit here too, Charity. LMG will eat it on it’s own as a snack!

    @Layla: LMG loves evaporated milk and I buy it occasional for her as a ‘treat’ – that’s how she sees it. It’s not dried, as you’ll have gathered by now, but 60% of the water is driven off and it’s then canned. So it’s thick and more like cream. It’s a good store cupboard standby as it doesn’t go off like fresh milk.

    I’m with you on the powdered milk; I’d have to have a mouth like the Sahara to drink that stuff ๐Ÿ˜€

  6. Poppy says:

    @Layla:

    I think the milk in a tube that you refer to, is probably condensed milk, which I believe is basically the same as evaporated, but thicker and sweetened (very sweetened!!)

  7. Mrs Green says:

    @Poppy: Oh yeah; condensed milk is a whole ‘nother ball game! If you boil it, you get toffee ๐Ÿ˜€ Dreadful stuff; Sooooo sweet. We don’t ever buy that.

    Evaporated means just that – most of the water has been evaporated off, leaving nothing but thick, nutrient-dense milk.

  8. @Mrs Green: I did these last night to go with a salad we were having.

    Cooked 4 large potatoes in just under 20 minutes. 1 takes approx 6 mins depending on size. and power of microwave.

    Only thing is you don’t get the crispy skin as you would in an oven.

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