Our “Eat the Freezer” Week

Over the last weeks months year, our freezer has become a receptacle for quite the manner of things. A bit of this, and a bit of that, hidden within the icy depths.  And while the additions are always placed there with good intention, generally when we have leftovers or something that is about to shortly expire, I don’t tend to keep an eye on what we have placed inside. Meaning a lot inevitably gets thrown out in a year’s time.

But not this time. For I was determined to use up what we could from the freezer before adding anything new. I did have to throw some items away (apparently I am an expired puff pastry hoarder from way back??), but I was pleased to be able to pull together a weekly meal plan recently that used up some of the bigger items just nicely.

Day 1 – Leftover Calzone

We made batch of spinach and feta calzone a month or so ago, and I forgot to halve the recipe.

So I froze the (cooked) leftover pastries, and after 30 minutes or so in the oven they reheated beautifully. Topped with some passata and grated mozzarella – and baked for an extra few minutes, then served with a side salad.

Day 2 – Teriyaki Chicken Bowls

Not only did this dinner use up some leftover chicken thighs I had in the freezer, it also used up a little portion of ramen noodles that I had in the pantry.

And while I know that ramen noodles are traditionally used in soups, I went with a noodle / salad bowl instead.

Chicken, grilled with a little teriyaki marinade, served with  the pre-cooked ramen noodles, carrot, grilled zucchini, greens, coriander and sesame seeds.

Day two….done!

Day 3 – Potato and Leek Soup

Yes, this nondescript tuppaware container held a quick and easy soup dinner for one when my husband was out for the evening.

Just reheat and eat. Served with a toasted English muffin (also from the freezer!!), one half topped with cheese and tomato, the other topped with ham and avocado.

Day 4 – Veal with Marsala Sauce

I was so pleased to find a use for these veal schnitzels that I were tucked away in the freezer.

Last time we crumbed them, but this time I went with something even simpler. Just defrosted and pan-fried, and topped with a marsala sauce (made simply with a good splash of marsala and cream, seasoned). Served alongside potato mash and steamed beans / zucchini.

Day 5 – Savoury Mince with roasted sweet potatoes

I found some portions of savoury mince hiding at the back of the freezer too, that were the perfect base for dinner on day 5. For the kids I used the mince in tacos, which were a big hit, as always.

While for the adults I added some extra spinach to the mince and used it as a topping for a roasted sweet potato. Drizzled with chilli sauce and served with a side salad.

Easy dinners all round!

Day 6 – Beef Massaman Curry

Since discovering that you could freeze roast meats, and that they reheat quite wonderfully, I’ve never looked back. It’s not unusual for us to have portions of roast beef or lamb in the freezer, or even some pulled pork after I’ve made a batch. Tonight’s inspiration came courtesy of one such portion – a portion of frozen roast beef.

I  defrosted the beef overnight, then reheated it gently in a frypan, before adding some store bought massaman curry sauce, zucchini and beans. Simmered until cooked through and the meat was back to its tender self. Served with brown rice, spinach and fresh coriander – and you’d never have guessed that the beef had been in the freezer only the day before!!.   

Day 7 – Chorizo Pizzas

We love these pizza bases, but they come in a packet of 4 (and we don’t always get around to finishing them all). They do, however, freeze wonderfully – and offer a quick and easy dinner at a later time. So day 7 saw us cooking up a couple pizzas – with the added bonus that we could also use  some chorizo that was tucked away in the freezer also.

 These pizzas ended up being a great way to finish off leftover veggies we had in the fridge too – zucchini, spinach, tomatoes and pineapple. All topped and ready to bake!

Day 8 – Souvlaki Bowls

I couldn’t resist adding an extra freezer-inspired meal to our meal plan, when I discovered half a packet of Lebanese bread in the freezer.

 On the menu? Souvlaki bowls! Filled with grilled lamb (that I had marinated in lemon, garlic and oregano), pearl couscous and roasted vegetable salad and greens.  Topped with some natural yoghurt and hummus and, of course, the Lebanese bread – which was perfect for dipping!

And so – our “Eat the Freezer” week came to a close – with our freezer looking  emptier (but happier!) after our efforts. While I’m determined to keep a better eye on things so we don’t get quite the stockpile in the future, I suspect there is also a very real likelihood that I will be doing a Part 2 to this series in 6 months’ time….

What about you? Do you have a favourite ‘freezer’ meal?

Save with Jamie – Roast Pork & Banh Mi

For those of you who have been following this blog for a while, it will come as no surprise when I tell you that I am a big fan of Jamie Oliver. I love his home-hearty style of cooking – that is creative and delicious. And the relative ‘fuss-free’ nature of his meals. Actually, I’m pretty sure I own all of his cookbooks. Including this one, that I was gifted with at Christmas time. IMG_0733 For some reason – however – I hadn’t really given it much thought – until I caught an episode of the related TV show a few weeks ago. The ‘mothership’ meal was roast pork – and the leftover meal was Bank Mi – and….well….I was sold. So off Mr BBB went, not long thereafter, with instructions to collect a 4.5kg half shoulder of pork. IMG_0616 Yes. 4.5kg. My friends this was no wimpy pork shoulder. IMG_0622 We tested the ‘mothership’ roast pork meal – one fine Sunday, served with roasted veggies and apples, a delightful sweet / vinegar cabbage dish and an onion gravy. IMG_0623 Beautifully tender pork – that had been cooked for over 5 hours – and crispy crackling – for those of us that were so inclined. But the real winner – was the yield. For with one dinner already done, I cut up the remaining pork and had plenty left for the rest of the week (plus a whole container-full placed in the freezer for meals of the future!). IMG_0641 The next night came our second meal. Banh Mi. IMG_0643 And boy did I enjoy this one. The pork was reheated with a little of the dripping – then tossed through sweet chilli sauce at the last moment. IMG_0644 Before being piled into a crunchy baguette (spread with pate for the non-pregnant household members) and topped with pickled veg (carrot, cabbage, cucumber). IMG_0647 Topped with a good amount of fresh coriander – and I was well and truly in food heaven. IMG_0648 The sticky sweet pork + with the pickled veg = happy tummies all around! IMG_0649 And going from ‘thought’ to ‘table’ in under 15 minutes – this was one speedy meal also! IMG_0651 But stay tuned – for the other two meals we created with this roast pork throughout the week! What about you? What is your favourite way to use leftover roast pork?

Enchiladas, two ways

IMG_8607 I am hopelessly behind in posting about our recent meals. Again. But it seems that as my ‘real job’ gets busy, time for blogging disappears. The time for cooking, however, does not. And I aim to make a home- cooked dinner at least 6 days a week. This meal, or should I say meals, came about when I had too much of a spicy chicken enchilada mixture left. IMG_8601 The first night, we went the traditional route…enclosing the spicy chicken mince mixture in wholemeal tortillas… IMG_8604 Topped with some extra tomato passata and a good amount of grated cheese. IMG_8605 Baked to perfection, and enjoyed with a salad on the side. IMG_8608IMG_8616 But the second night, we went down a different path. Same spicy mince mixture, but this time it was stirred through some cooked macaroni and spinach leaves, IMG_8623 Topped with some cheese (yes this girl loves cheese)… IMG_8629 And baked until brown and bubbly. Then, in a moment of brilliance(?!) I found a use for the last tortilla we had leftover from the night before. Simply – cut into squares and placed on the pasta bake for the last 5 minutes of cooking. IMG_8634 Into a bowl – and topped with avocado, coriander and a little spoonful of sour cream – we had ourselves an enchilada pasta bowl! IMG_8636 Randomly delicious indeed! What about you? Are you a fan of enchiladas? ps. stay tuned for a few changes on the ‘blog’ in the next week or so. I’m thinking its time for a lil’ bloggy makeover…..

Lamb wraps with tabouleh

IMG_5030 Monday night’s meal on our menu plan was all about leftovers. It’s usually quite a hectic day in the BBB household, as I am in the office all day, and return home late-ish with not a lot of time to prepare meals or shop for extra ingredients. So recently I’ve been trying to cook extra on Sunday night, that can serve us for dinner on Monday too. And I must say this week’s leftover meal was rather tasty – courtesy of the lamb we cooked the day before, and the extra wraps we had leftover from the flat bread pizzas. On the menu? Lamb wraps with tabouleh. With the extra convenience of store-bought tabouleh and baba ganoush. IMG_5020 Piled high, with tomatoes and a sprinkle of grated cheese…. IMG_5022 And of course…the lamb (that I had reheated in the microwave… IMG_5024 Smothered in chilli sauce, rolled, and grilled to perfection in our sandwich grill. IMG_5032 My oh my this was And a great way to start the week. A tasty meal  – with minimal effort and fuss! What about you? How do you use up leftover lamb?


“Leftover mac n cheese”. Seems kinds strange to be typing that, for we rarely have any leftovers when mac n cheese makes an appearance in our household. But over the weekend, I went a little crazy with my portion sizes, making enough to feed an army when there were only 5 mouths to feed (one of which was Charlotte, and her ever changing appetite). So on Sunday night, I found myself with an abundance of this cheesy goodness, along with some fresh free range eggs and a couple spicy pork sausages. IMG_4725 And so this random maca-ttata (???) came to be. IMG_4727 All ingredients, thrown together in a pan, and allowed to cook on the stovetop for 5 minutes or so. Then into the oven until the top had set and become nicely golden brown. IMG_4728 Served simply with some crunch lettuce on the side, and our random Sunday night meal was complete! IMG_4730 Deliciously random indeed! What about you? Care to share a creative way to use leftover pasta?