Next week is Zero Waste Week and I have a blog post coming along all about it! I try really hard not to waste things, especially food, but I am not perfect and sometimes something slips through. However, my meal plan for Zero Waste Week needs to be better. If I make a bit effort it will make me more conscious day to day.
I won’t achieve zero waste. There isn’t enough time in my life to grow all our food from scratch. Neither is there a specialist zero waste store nearby for me to buy all of our ingredients with no packaging. However, by using much of what we already have, especially those items tucked at the back of the cupboard that I am cheerfully ignoring, I won’t be wasting them. The ingredients I do buy must be minimally packaged, so I will be taking my reusable bags and containers to the shops to avoid plastic bags as much as possible.
What is lurking?
Here are some of the items lurking in the back of the cupboard. I want to use at least some of these as part of my Zero Waste Week meal plan.
Tins of potatoes, chickpeas, green lentils, aduki beans, tomatoes and sweetcorn. I also have a tin of coconut milk and a can of mushroom soup that has been there for, possibly, years! (Why is it there? None of us like it!). There is a large jar of green olives too, which we forgot about. Usually olives get eaten really quickly as we love them. A pack of poppadoms too.
I have a jar of korma sauce, a green Thai curry kit and a small pot of tikka masala paste.
Lots of tuna! About 6 cans. Plus a small tin of anchovies. A jar of mango chutney and another of apple sauce.
I also have a massive bag of pudding rice. Rice pudding is a favourite for me but it requires forward planning. There is also a bag of organic coconut flour that I bought on a whim in Aldi. Buying an unfamiliar ingredient with no plan for using it is not a good idea.
In the freezer there is a lot of frozen fruit: blackberries, redcurrants and blackcurrants. We also have a bag of apples someone gave us in the fridge and our tree is full of ripening plums. There are also quite a few cans of fruit – prunes, peaches and pears. I am not in a hurry to use these as we have fresh and frozen to eat first.
There are some frozen chicken breasts and 4 small lamb chops that were yellow stickered.
There are two portions each of chick pea curry and chilli con carne that I batch cooked last week. I also have some veggie burgers that I don’t like and some meat sausages that were bought on offer that Mr S isn’t keen on. I need to find a way to sneak these into the zero wast meal plan!
The Zero Waste Meal Plan
Lunch is courgette soup from the freezer. I use old butter pots to store this.
Dinner will be lamb chops for Mr S and veggie burgers for me (I will smother them in onion gravy). We will have these with new potatoes and frozen corn on the cob. Leftover plum cake and custard.
If we are in we will have cheese on toast or a sandwich for lunch.
Dinner will be lamb chops again for Mr S and a piece of haddock for me, this time with roast potatoes and broccoli. Fruit crumble and custard.
We have quite a few eggs. I will make Spanish omelette and use the tinned potatoes if we don’t have enough fresh. We will have this with tinned corn or whatever needs eating.
Chick pea curry for me and chilli for Mr S from the freezer, both with boiled rice. We will eat the poppadoms with this and some mango chutney.
Just me for dinner tonight. I will probably have something on toast whilst I write some more blog posts!
Chicken and vegetable curry with rice. The girls will all be home, so I will make a large pan full using the chicken breasts, some peppers, courgettes and carrots. I will do a smaller pan without any meat and perhaps add the green lentils.
All my lunches at work will be either leftovers or home made soups and sandwiches. I don’t buy a pre-prepared lunch anyway, so no unnecessary packaging here. Also, I never buy coffee out and make mine in the office. I will take some home made cookies (see below) for snacks.
Snacks and sweets
I will make a slow cooker rice pudding tomorrow and at the same time some stewed fruit, using up the apples and some of the frozen berries. This will be good to take to work next week instead of buying more fresh fruit.
I did an internet search for recipes using coconut flour and found these gluten free chocolate chip cookies. We have half a bar of dark chocolate in the fridge, so I can use that up rather than buying choc chips. I planned to make biscuits this week anyway as home made means less packaging, so this works well. Another super easy biscuit recipe is this peanut butter cookie recipe. My friend bought these into work yesterday and they were delicious. Gluten free and super easy. I have a huge jar of peanut butter so can bake some of these if I have time.
Progress not perfection
In the end, any effort towards reducing our waste is one worth making. We are aiming for progress, not perfection. One step towards zero waste is far better than standing still like a rabbit in the headlights watching an environmental disaster unfolding!
So, this is my zero waste week meal plan. I am still at a loss as to what to do with the tin of mushroom soup, so your suggestions would be gratefully received! What’s on your menu this week?