So the infamous silly season is upon us and I am feeling adequately disorganised but ya know what? – bugger it! I refuse to let bold marketing messages and consumerism make me feel bad or put pressure on me to shop, shop, shop!! That’s not what it’s all about right? I just love the festive holiday vibe, family time and of course the food that comes with Christmas day.
I feel like I am in a state of complete disarray at the moment and I’d like to think I’m not alone?! We are currently battling Mr 2 at night – who seems to think anywhere from 1am to 3am is an appropriate time to wake mum and Dad! Some weeks I am on form. The menu is organised for the week, we eat great food and I feel fab for being on top of it all. Then months go by where every meal is an epic drain. It is so hard to be creative and inventive with meal ideas all the time. So I thought, let’s help each other out here and share some of our tips in the kitchen! This blog includes a few quick hacks and practical tips I have acquired to make things simple, save time and reduce waste (that always makes me feel good). Helping others gives me a real buzz and if we all just paid it forward once in a while wouldn’t life be grand? We are all in this together, so let’s do this people!
Epic tips and tricks to reduce waste, save money and bulk up your meals while providing good wholesome food – without breaking your back or the bank!
- When you buy Sun-dried tomatoes and have finished using all the tomatoes, keep the remaining oil and use it in your cooking for dressings and to glaze/coat veggies. It adds a lovely rich tomato flavour. A splash in your guacamole, or to brush over some croutes before toasting. You can add it to your spaghetti bolognaise and you won’t need to add as much tomato paste. Brush some roasted veg with the oil, Mmmmm delicious.
- Do you get annoyed with always having your leftover wraps that never get used and gets stale? Here’s a quick way to use them up. Put in the toaster one half folded over into the other side, toast, then cut into wedges and serve with guacamole or hummus dips. Or turn them into corn chips without the corn!! Cut into triangle wedges you can brush with your favourite oil or just leave as is and bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until golden and crunchy. Voila chips and dip mum styles!
- Let’s talk roast lambs. Sure they can be expensive, but if used the right way you can land two completely different meals. That is if you have leftover lamb! I cut remaining lamb into bite-size pieces and freeze in a container. That way if you are midway through the week you can whip up an epic lamb tagine. Just add Moroccan spice, tinned tomatoes, apricots, chickpeas, onion and pop into a casserole or crockpot and cook for 45 mins at 200 C. Add some couscous as a base to serve and you are away laughing. Roast lamb take two reinvented!
- Herb gardens – hate making that dash to the garden all the time. Then do it once – pick what you think you need for the week. Give it a good wash and let the water drain off and place in snap lock bags in your fridge ready to go.
- Make school lunches the night before – this is an essential in our house! Painful at the time but it pays off in the morning. If I was caught making sandwiches or any food prep in the morning that would just be an indication or challenge to my boys to try and eat what Mum is preparing! Absolute nightmare!
- A good staple for your week is cauliflower rice (see recipe below), it’s affordable and a great change from other vegetable staples. It comes up ever so light and fluffy and is great to sneak into foods for your little people too. Make cauliflower rice and place in containers and refrigerate ready to use for each meal.
- Another cheeky way to use it for a quick and easy meal for the kids, is after you have layered tomato paste on a pizza base, sprinkle cauliflower rice over it. Then cheese and bacon, our boys don’t bat an eyelid as they consume this up! You can also add it to your bacon and egg pie to bulk it out! See recipe below…
- Leftover roast? Slice it up eg: lamb, chicken or beef and put into a container, pour remaining gravy over the top and freeze. This is now an easy quick base to a good old hearty family pie.
- Excess of green leafy in the garden – Kale, spinach and the likes? Steam large batches, cool, rinse under cold water, squeeze out excess liquid and freeze into ice cubes. That way they are all good to go for smoothies, stir-fries, pies etc.
- When fruit is in abundance, buy extra while it’s nice an cheap then freeze down ready for smoothies over the winter or to add to your porridge.
- If all else fails just add wine, to the dish or the chef!
I would love to hear your tips or suggestions on how you keep it simple in the kitchen, so we can share the humble kitchen vibes xox