Friday 19 October 2018

Empty the fridge dinner

Not really a "free dinner" but it certainly feels like it.

Thursday is shopping day so I like to go through the veg drawer and use as much as possible up for that nights dinner. It has to be a one pot wonder and preferably in the slow cooker, just to make it a quick meal once the shopping has been tucked away and hands washed.

Nothing wrong with these, wash the carrots and celery and chop, brush the mushrooms halve the bigger ones, halve the tomatoes, peel and chop the swede, ditto the onion. A couple of tsp of the spices and a tsp of the liquid smoke, I also added 3 tsp of powdered garlic as I had run out of fresh.

A tin of butter beans that has been shuffled round the larder for several months. I soak and cook from dried generally  this tin was a back up from the beginning of last winter. A good shake of dried Basil, it has a warmth that is missing from the fresh leaves.

These were an afterthought, a bargain find that has been in the freezer for too long, time to use it up. I just browned these off in a dry pan, I like to see a bit of colour in the finished dish.

It all went into the slow cooker, the sausages were nestled in the top layer, and then I poured on some chicken stock. Not to the top as there will be a fair bit of moisture released from the veg during cooking. I will check after 3 hours, it has gone on low and will sit there quite happily till we are ready for it. I turn it up to high for the last hour or so and stir some thickening granules through it.

No need for anything else except a bowl and a spoon, and possibly a gentle burp.

I lurvvve these dinners, cheap, cheerful and very, very tasty. Just the job to refuel the body and soothe the soul after a shopping trip.

It was just as good as anticipated and there is some in the fridge for another day.

The weather stayed fine, dry, sunny and rather warm.

Shopping was done in record time, I did not look for bargains as there is more than enough food stored away to get through. The tooth chews for Ben and Herbie were on offer in Tesco at the same price as Home Bargains so I picked 4 packs up. Not a saving but it all adds to the points and I had a double points card. 

Telly was a bit rubbish last night, we have a Firestick so have access to many programs but just could not be bothered. So many of them seem to be groups of clones, and not particularly successful. 

Some knitting, some chatting, a little more research on Air Fryers and we decided that we will do nothing while the combi oven keeps going. Once that turns its toes up we will probably buy the largest one that Phillips make. My small one is a Phillips and has done sterling work, used alongside a larger model and the slow cooker all bases will be covered.
The most significant word in that is probably, by that time there may well be a different model out or something altogether different may catch my eye.

There is always the fact that our eating habits are changing quite significantly. We eat far less bread than a year ago, even less potatoes and far more pulses, grains and pasta.
This is partly due to experimenting with more vegetarian and vegan recipes. We are using more spices and herbs than ever, and we have always used a fair amount.

Since I moved away from my huge garden I grow far more herbs than vegetables and try to use them every day. I love the smell and taste of coriander, mint and fresh basil. They are in the garden and in pots in the house.  The basil is grown from cuttings as is mint, rooted in water and then potted into a mixture of compost and perlite. Coriander is grown from seed, in the same mixture in small pots, I empty the pot, shake off the compost and then wash the roots till clean, every bit is used. I have 9 pots in various stages of growth, all on the sewing room windowsill, the scent is glorious.

In all areas I am trying not to plan ahead in too much detail, I am a bit of a control freak, it becomes too restrictive and what seems like a good idea now for 6 weeks time may be nigh on impossible when you get there.
That leads to stress and tension, both of which I would rather not have.

One of the most demanding jobs that I have done included ordering fertile eggs to be hatched to provide table chickens, in various finished weights, at fixed points x number of weeks away. It was planning to the 'nth degree and I am still partially in that mindset. I know exactly what I will be cooking over the Christmas period. As you know the sprouts are in the freezer. The parsnips will be joining them later today, parboiled and tossed in a little oil and seasoning. Ditto the potatoes, I open freeze them and then they get bagged and put into a plastic box. When needed they go straight into a preheated tin and into the oven, Boom, job done.

A little bit of a waffle going on there. I hope that you get my drift. What I would like to achieve is to curtail that sort of forward planning to the odd times, Christmas, Birthdays and so on, not have it as a permanent thing. I have moved a bit in that direction, but not nearly enough, woops, I seem to have another WIP (no needles in this one).

Now the clock tells me that it is past time for the dogs to be out and about. The lazy pair are still snoring.

                        TTFN                                      Pam


  1. I've been researching gas ovens. I never that modern ovens had fans, just like electric!

  2. I love those kind of meals Pam. Anything that just needs a bowl and a spoon is always nice.

    1. Anything that saves on time and washing up is good in my book.

  3. Researching toaster ovens here. I think it could be quite a savings if I managed to find one I like that is big enough and in my price range. Ovens and stoves take lots of power to run.

    God bless.

    1. I have looked at loads and am totally confused. The only thing that I know for sure is that I do not want those awful cooking rings on top.

  4. We've always had gas appliances, honestly, I don't know how I'd cook on an electric one now.
    We purchased an Instapot when Amazon had it's big mid year sale. Pressure cooks, sautes, bakes...the whole 9 yards. I've looked at an air fryer since the Mister has been diagnosed as a T2 diabetic. Might be healthier for him.
    I once switched out lean pork chops for portabellos in a mushroom sauce and the mushrooms were so good. I like them grilled with other vegetables.
    Enjoy your weekend. It's 31C here with very low humidity.

    1. It is a maze out there, capacity, overall size, power and so on. Lots of careful consideration needs to happen.

  5. I've enjoyed catching up with your blog, it's a luxury I don't get much time for these days!
    I used to call our clear out dinner 'fridge surprise' and it was usually a curry of some sort. My dear man has asked me never to make it for him! He's a perfectionist!!!

    1. The SO is a firm fan of those dinners, he calls them happy accidents.


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