Friday, 15 June 2012

Food Waste Friday - Can I have ketchup with my ketchup?

Things have gone awry this week.

We came back from holiday to find that we hadn't cleared out the fridge properly before we went.  That's fluffy white mould in there and green mould too - yuck!

In my defence, after disposing of the mouldy rice affair, we managed to get by from Saturday (the day of our return) to Wednesday without going shopping, by adopting the 'use up what's in the freezer and cupboards' approach.

Most of the time I menu plan for anything up to 5 - 7 days ahead (Over the years I've tried various methods - a month's menu planning, planning 2 days ahead, but 5-7 days is what works for me) :

You all know the frugal benefits of menu planning, but for me a menu (positioned in full view of all the family) means that:

  • you get to use up what you've got by basing meals around what's in the house
  • if there's nothing in the house then you plan meals before you go shopping, so you only buy what you need
  • there's none of that sinking, "What am I going to cook tonight?" feeling
  • if people under 11 don't like what they see on the menu then at least they have time to prepare themselves in advance, thus eliminating the whining, "But I hate xyz!" at the table.  (Somehow the whining isn't so bad when it's in front of a whiteboard instead of a plate of delicious food you've just slaved over for at least an hour).
  • other family members can come up with ideas for the menu (Daughter can now come up with a decent menu for a week - which is probably a good learning process for her) and get involved with cooking
  • you can make things sound so much more appetising on a menu (pasta napolitana and bruschetta sounds waaaay more exotic than boring old pasta and tomato sauce with crusty bread!)
I'm not perfect - menu-planning doesn't happen all the time, and it's not set in stone, so if a particular meal (in this case the Thai Prawn Curry) doesn't happen, it gets rolled over to the next menu plan).

Anyways, this week, post-holiday, there was no plan and a real lack of ingredients, so we've ended up with some rather odd meals, and on Tuesday, we had what my friend calls 'naughty' pasta.  We love 'Slut's Pasta' (Pasta Puttanesca, by its real name: pasta with tomatoes, basil, black olives, anchovies, capers, chilli and garlic), but 'naughty' pasta is even easier.  It's just pasta and tomato ketchup.  Yep, that's really it - that's really all!  Obviously you stir in the ketchup to disguise it!  And cover it in grated cheese.  I did an even better cover-up job by throwing in some tomato purée with the ketchup and bunging in some herbs and black pepper.  In fact it was such a good cover-up job, that one of the boys I cooked it for asked if he could have some tomato ketchup with his pasta...

Do you have any 'naughty' recipes?!

Food Waste Friday was dreamt up by, to encourage people to use up food instead of waste it.


  1. Most of my menu planning goes something like this (in the car in the morning driving my girls to school), "what should we have for dinner tonight?" Then replies of all sorts of things that I don't have ingredients for. So, I then, turn the conversation around to "what should we have for dinner that includes, lentils, greens, onions, rice?" or something of that sort.
    I only menu plan a week in advance if I know I'm going to have a busy week. Then it's a sanity saver! When my children were all small I did do a full week menu plan every week. And that was a big help. I kept the menu on the kitchen counter and I could do ahead a thing or two as I had time.
    I love coming to your site, BTW!

    1. If I asked my lot what to have for dinner every night, we'd end up with pasta and pizza all the time! I don't plan so rigorously during the hols. And I've realised the menu plan on the post, although genuine, is rather more exotic than usual (I must have been having a good week, that week!) The blog love is mutual Lili - creativesavv is great and when school's out I plan to give some of your recipes a go!

  2. A weekly meal plan works best for me too!

    1. Hi Lena, glad I'm in good company with the weekly plan!

  3. I think my biggest downfall, is meal planning. I don't like cooking,so I think that's why I put off planning. However, when I do plan, 5-7 days works best for me also.

    1. I put off planning too but I know that it makes life so much easier in the evenings so I make myself do it! I suspect 5-7 days is the most popular length of time to plan ahead for (unless you're Lili, above!)