Category Archives: Avoiding Food waste

The Box of Burgers: Burger Soup

I’ve posted before about the box of burgers that we acquired which were leftover from the church barb-e-que last summer and all the different thing I have used them for…meatballs, sausage rolls, “Toad” in the hole, as well as roasting them with some gravy, but I still have a lot in the freezer (it was a big box)

The other day I was contemplating what to do with some celery and carrots that were sitting in my fridge needing to be used when I started to develop the idea of making some soup.  What else could I put in it? I still have quite a lot of these burgers in my freezer (the drawer is quite heavy to pull out) so I started thinking along the lines of breaking up a couple of these into the soup along with some leftover passata that I had frozen.

Saturday morning arrived and I had promised myself a lazy slow start to the day following a hectic couple of weeks and fighting off a “sniffle” so I switched on the TV and found that one of my favorite food programs was on – Pioneer Woman.

Imagine my surprise when she proceeded to make Beefburger soup!!! just what I had been thinking of making.  I have not seen this episode before as we are about a year behind in the UK and she was using pretty much the same ingredients that I had (plus she had a few more and she used fresh mince rather than burgers)

So here’s what I did:

I defrosted two burgers (they are quite big – quarter pounders I think) and began to gently fry them and break them up in my casserole pot (no need to add any oil as enough fat would come out of the burgers)

I then chopped up one red onion, two sticks of celery, three small carrots (don’t bother peeling, just scrub them clean) I chopped these quite finely so that they were a similar size to the mince.

I also had a bunch of VERY sad looking spring onions, so rather that waste these, I took the outer layer off and found that they were still quite fresh and green underneath so I chopped these up and added them in.

I had some passatta which was left over in a carton in the freezer so I added some boiling water to dissolve and poured it into the casserole dish.

I added some salt and pepper and a stock cube (although I would now probably leave the salt out as the stock cube is quite salty,  A teaspoon of mustard and a splash of Worcestershire sauce and let this cook for a while.

Now I did not want this until later, so I transferred it all into a slow cooker and left it to simmer away for a couple of hours.

When it came to time to dish up, I added some gravy thickening granules to thicken it up a little and served with a slice of bread and butter.  YUM!!!

This provided a generous portion for hubby and a nice portion for me, with the leftovers going into a freezer container for another day.


I shall definitely be making this again


Offcuts Pie

Yesterday I was planning on making a Cottage Pie for our dinner with some mince from the freezer but with a cauliflower mash topping for a change (using frozen cauliflower)

I wandered into my local supermarket and there were some nice looking small fresh cauliflowers on the reduced shelf for 55p so I decided to get one and use it for the topping for our dinner later.

I was hungry as I had not yet had any lunch and decided to buy a single roll and go to the Deli counter and buy a slice of chicken/ham or cheese, or whatever was a good price,

As I got to the counter, the assistant was marking down some packs of offcuts to 49p, so  I asked her what they were and she explained that they were just a random mix of all the little bits that were left after slicing  so it was “pot luck” what was in there.

As it was only 49p for 260g of meat I decided to risk it and have some in my roll and then hubby could have some in his wraps for his lunch the next day.

On opening the pack there was a good selection of Ham, bacon, Chicken, Turkey, peppered beef.

During my walk home I wondered if I could use this to make the “Pie” instead and so the “Offcuts Pie” was created.


So here’s what I did;

I had about 200g of meat left after my sandwich so I chopped this up into smaller pieces and popped them into a frying pan – no need to add any oil or fat as there was a little on some of the ham and heated this up.

I added some water and made a gravy using my usual gravy granules.  I add a little bit of hoisin sauce left in a bottle so I put this into the gravy for some extra flavour and poured all this into my baking dish.

To make the topping I chopped up the cauliflower and boiled in some seasoned water for a few minutes until it started to soften.

I then drained the water off (realising that I should have done this first and used the water for the gravy to keep all the nutrients in the dish).

I then mashed the cauliflower up with a little mustard, butter and a small amount of cheese (I had some cheddar but you can use whatever you have – a cream cheese would be nice) and then spread the mix on the top of the meat & gravy.

This went into the oven at 180degrees for about 30 minutes until the cauliflower had browned an the gravy was bubbling.


I served this with some carrots.

We really enjoyed this and it was also fun to eat as you were never sure what the next mouthful would contain.

You can of course vary this in many ways by making a more traditional base using onions and tomatoes to make a rich gravy and add extra vegetables.

The topping of course can be made with potatoes, swede, any vegetable you choose really.  On of the advantages of using the cauliflower is that the calorie content is greatly reduced (as long as you only use a tiny amount of butter and cheese – just enough to help give a bit of colour and hold it together) and also good if you want to watch your carbohydrates.

Try it – its fun and very tasty and cheap!!

Beetroot, Feta and Pesto Pizza

On my last visit to my parents, my Mum and I were discussing how we had both “gone off” pizza – particularly those from one of the “fast pizza” chains.  I told her how a couple of years ago when I was following a strict low fat diet that I had some pizza along with some friends and thoroughly enjoyed it, however an hour later when I was walking home I was feeling sick and really regretting eating it and she had had a similar experience.  Our bodies were protesting at the heavy processed white starch and the greasy oily cheese on top.  She then said that she had relented recently to eating one from one of the restaurant chains and loved it – it was a Goats cheese and Beetroot one – so I made a mental note to try something like it some day.

I have my own recipe now that I use for pizza which is a little bit healthier and very quick and easy that came originally from “A Girl Called Jack”

On Friday I had decided I was going to make pizza for tea and had half a block of economy “Salad” cheese and half an economy jar of Beetroot so decided that I would do Beetroot and “Feta” (the Salad cheese was a feta style cheese and only 75p for a 200g pack)

In the morning I had decided to make some Pesto as my Basil and Parsley plants on the kitchen windowsill needed trimming back so again “Jack” came up trumps with a recipe in her book for “Best-o Pesto.

I modified it slightly to fit in with what I had in the cupboard to;

  • a fistful of fresh basil
  • a fistful of fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 40g parmesan (or any hard cheese)
  • 100ml olive oil (recipe says sunflower or vegetable oil).

I put all these ingredients in my mini blender and blitzed it all together adding a little salt and pepper and popped this in a jam jar into the fridge ready for the evening.

The Pizza

When I came to make the pizza later I thought it would be nice to have a bit of flavour in the base so I weighed out 125g wholemeal self raising flour, about 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder and then mixed in about 1/3 of the pesto I had made earlier.  I then added milk (probably about 100ml) until I had a dough consistency (but not too wet)

I spread the dough out into a lightly oiled baking tray (no need to bother with rolling – just spread the mix gently to about 1cm thick)

Then I squeezed some tomato puree over the base and spread this out.

I then carefully arranged the half jar of beetroot slices over the base (forgot to say that I drained the beetroot first)

Then I crumbled the half pack of Salad Cheese over the top and drizzled some more pesto over this.

This went into a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees for about 15 minutes  (may need longer depending on the thickness of your base and the consistency)

I’m afraid it was eaten too quickly to get a photograph but the interesting thing was that by using the pesto in the base as well, not only did it add a good flavour but the base had a slight pastry/biscuit texture to it which we really liked – so hubby will be asking for this again.

Heres the list of ingredients again (serves 2)

125g wholemeal self raising flour (you can of course use white)

1/2 teaspoon of baking power

50ml (approx) pesto (1/2 recipe above but probably most of a small shop bought jar)

1/2 small jar sliced beetroot (drained – or fresh cooked if you have it)

1/2 pack (100g) Salad Cheese or Feta, or Goats (any similar cheese really)


most of my “recipe” quantities give a small portion for me and a “MANsize” portion for hungry outdoor working hubby so feel free to adjust quantities to suit your appetites.




Yesterday I was trying to decided what to cook for dinner in the evening.  I had re-sorted the freezer and listed the contents and yet I was still lacking inspiration.  I only knew that it was about time we had something with rice so it was probably going to be some form of risotto.

Later on during a text conversation with hubby I asked him if he had any “requests” for dinner, to which the reply was “something with rice” “curry?”.  Curry was fine by me as I did have some Chicken curry in the freezer, but I didn’t really want to use this as we have already had chicken this week.  He then suggested something like a Kedgeree, “Yes” I said, we have a tin of tuna.

At that point I was in the food section of a well know High Street store getting some bits for Mother-in-Law so I decided to have a look at their fish section to see if they had any reductions.  Well there were no reductions but I did spot a 200g pack of Kippers for £1.35 which also had the freezable logo on it.  “Great” I thought, ” I only need half of that and I can freeze the rest for another time and the total meal will only cost around £1″.  This was greeted with an enthusiastic response from hubby who always enjoys my “creations”

So, here’s what I did;

I already had about 2/3 of a red onion partially chopped in the fridge, so I chopped up half of it some more and popped the rest in the freezer for another day.

In my casserole dish (that can be used on the hob) i put about a tablespoon of oil and started to fry the onion lightly.

I added half a teaspoon each of ground cumin, dried coriander leaf, and ground ginger along with 1/4 teaspoon each of paprika, chilli powder and turmeric and let all this fry together for a couple of minutes.

I then added 1/2 cup of rice (about 100g) and 1 cup of water plus a bit more water and let this all simmer for a couple of minutes.

I then laid about 100g of the kippers on the top (I removed the skin first) and placed the casserole dish in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees.  (You can continue this on the hob if you prefer)

When the rice had swollen to absorb most of the water, I broke up the kipper with a fork and mixed it in – it needed a little more water added too.  I also added about 1/2 cup of frozen peas and mixed them in.

I broke 2 eggs on top and placed the dish back in the oven.  After about 5 minutes the eggs had cooked enough so that the whites were set but the yolk were still runny.

I sprinkled some fresh chopped parsley over the top and served up.

Yum Yum (and I’m not a fish lover and had never had kippers before!!!)

This made a fairly generous portion for hubby and a small portion for me.

Hubby approved and will probably be requesting this again in not too distant future.

Here’s the list of ingredients (makes 2 “light” portions)

  • 1 tbls Oil
  • 1/2 Red onion
  • 1/2 tsp Ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Coriander leaf (dried)
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1/4 tsp Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 Cup Rice (approx 100g)
  • 1  Cup water (plus a bit more as required)
  • 100g Kippers
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 2 eggs
  • Chopped Parsley to garnish.


Creamy Coconut and Apricot Porridge


Having made Coronation Chicken last night I had some Coconut milk and apricots left over so I decided to incorporate them into my porridge.

I used;

1/3 cup Porridge oats (use 1/2 cup for hubby)

1/3 cup juice from the tinned apricots

1/3 cup coconut milk

1/3 cup water

3-4 apricot halves chopped

Mix together well and cook in the microwave for 2 minutes.

Remove and stir well and return for another 30 seconds

Repeat once or twice more depending on your microwave power (mines a 700watt) until creamy and steaming hot.

Stir well and enjoy.

I usually let mine sit for a few minutes to continue cooking and thicken up

You can adjust the quantities of liquid easily to taste by swapping the water for more coconut milk.  I did find that the juice makes it quite sweet (although very nice) so you may prefer to substitute that and just drizzle a little over the top before serving.

I have enough left for some tomorrow as well 😉

The Chicken – Part 5 (Chicken and Pineapple Curry – Seriously nice)


The latest dish from a single chicken.

I had some tinned pineapple leftover so created this

Serves 2

130g chicken (from

130 g drained tinned pineapple (approx half small tin)

1/2 tin (200ml) Coconut Milk

1 Garlic Clove

1tsp ground or fresh ginger

1tsp Curry powder (adjust to taste by adding more if preferred)

Pinch Paprika

1tbsp Tomato Puree

2 tbsp Mango Chutney

Salt & Pepper

1tbsp vegetable oil (or other)


Finely chop chicken and fry gently in the oil until browned

Add pineapple, crushed garlic, tomato puree and spices and continue to cook on a low heat

Add Coconut milk, mix well and bring heat up to boil.

Simmer for about 10 minutes

Add Mango Chutney

Serve with rice and enjoy.

Hubby deemed this as seriously nice and immediately put in a request to have this again xx

The leftover coconut milk is going into some porridge at the weekend (

The Chicken – Part 4 – (Chicken Soup)

Normally when I make Chicken soup, I will use up the leftovers from a Sunday Roast.  I will deliberately prepare and roast too many vegetables and pick all the meat off the bones and boil them to make a stock.

However, this I used a different method.

After cutting up my chicken in Part 1 ( I put the remaining carcass which still had a fair amount of meat on it into my roasting tin (which has a lid).

I then added a couple of whole carrots, parsnips, a couple of sticks of celery, one red onion, 2 cloves garlic and a bayleaf along with about 1 litre of boiling water.

This then went in the oven at 200 degrees for about an hour.

After allowing to cool a little I removed the chicken carcass and took off all the remaining meat an placed the bones into a pan of water and boiled for about 15 minutes with the bayleaf.

While the bones were boiling I chopped up all the cooked vegetables and added a bit of sage and onion stuffing mix to which i then added the water that had been used to boil the bones.

As I had more than I wanted for the evenings supper, I took out the amount I needed then separated out the rest into containers for the freezer.  In this instance I had enough to give the 2 of us four meals (with some bread)

I will usually add some gravy thickening powder to thicken up the liquid to the preferred consistency.  (You can of course use some flour).

To vary this you can then add other veg such as sweetcorn, or for some carbohydrate try adding some rice or pearl barley (although this takes a while to cook

Great for warming up after a day out in the cold.