Living frugally is getting the most out of your shopping dollars and the most from the food you need to eat. It also helps to make them as tasty and delicious as you can so you don't feel deprived. The easiest way I know to save on meals is by making the most of your leftovers. Australians reportedly waste over $1,000 per household per year on food. That's 8 BILLION DOLLARS (gulp) worth of food that gets thrown out each year.....I know.....ok now I've taken a big breath and swallowed that bitter pill, I'm here to tell you that it's easy and actually time saving to use up this waste. You can watch a fab little doco that I saw first on Jo's blog Down to earth Mother here, it's only 20 minutes, please for our planet's sake, take the time to watch it. It's about waste in general and certainly got my attention.
Why do many of us live so unconsciously?
Back to the issue at hand, lushious leftfovers. Take them to work for lunch the next day instead of spending $15 on a brought lunch. That's $780 you could save just by taking leftovers for your lunch one day a week, only one! It's alarmingly (are you ready....) a saving of $3,900 if you bothered to take your lunch everyday to forgo your need for buying lunch/coffee/water/soft drink from the cafe down the road. How good are those leftovers tasting now? Imagine that money payed down on some of your debt or it's the holiday you don't think you can afford.
Freeze portions of the leftovers for dinner another night when you know you might reach for the phone to order take away.
Or Compost it
(as long as it's not meat or anything else you shouldn't be composting!).
Give it to your dog to bulk out his dog food, we all know the cat's way to much of a princess to eat it though.
I love leftovers as it means its either dinner sorted the following night, or for the freezer, if it's like bolognaise sauce or cold roast meat or pasta or salad or rice, I can make another meal out of it.
For this recipe of lamb pie, it does need some love and time but nothing too
stressful ~ 15 minutes max. It can make 2 dinners for you too, eat one serve and freeze another. If you really think you are too busy, the night you make the roast, peel the extra vegies required for this then and leave them in the fridge ready for when you need them.
All up this $13 piece of roast leg of lamb fed our family of 3 (with 1 very hungry man) for 3 nights for less than $6 a night when you also factor in the vegetables from the garden and gravy, so less than $2 a head, bloody bargain!
I've been abound with gorgeous produce from our garden. Bright orange carrots, pearly white parsnips, onions, and herbs a plenty.
We have roast lamb at least once a fortnight, we love it. From a leftovers perspective, there is so many things you can do with those delicious cuts closer to the bone, and for that matter the bone and this pie from my coveted Christmas pressie Save with Jamie are a perfect family fodder.
*A bouquet garni of sorts...celeriac leaves, thyme, rosemary are all tied together to be taken out of the pie at the end.
Lovely Lamb pie Serves 8 taken from straight from Save with Jamie. My additions are in brackets
2 red onions (I used brown onions)
1 small celeriac (I used parsnip)
250g lamb kidneys (I didn't use)
optional: 1 tablespoon leftover lamb dripping (to make this, drain any juices off your roast dish, I cook my lamb over a wire rack with water in the bottom to make gravy, put drain delicious juices into a jug and pop in the freezer. The fat will rise to the top and once it has solidified it can be spooned off and used like oil ~ heaven)
1 bunch of fresh thyme (I used the bouquet garni listed above *)
optional: I fresh bay leaf (I used dried)
1 heaped tablespoon of plain flour
2 teaspoons English mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
optional: leftover lamb gravy and bones
250g leftover cooked lamb
1 x 400g tin of lentils (I have a child so no chance of adding)
300g of puff pastry (1 sheet of pre-made of the frozen variety)
1 large egg
- Peel the onions, carrots and celeriac and trim the kidneys, then chop everything into 1cm dice and put into ta large casserole pan on a medium-low heat with the lamb dripping if you have it, or a lug of oil, a pinch of salt and plenty of pepper. Strip in the thyme leaves (or add your bouquet garni) and bay leaf if you've got one, then cook for 30 minutes, stirring regularly. Cooking it slowly like this will create the most amazing depth of flavour for the pie filling.
- Stir the flour and mustard into the pan then add the Worcestershire sauce, 1.5 litres of boiling water and any leftover gravy and lamb bones from the mothership lamb recipe (also in Jamies book), if you have them. Reduce to a low heat, cover and cook gently for 1 hour, or until thickened and reduced, stirring occasionally. Remove any bones, season to perfection, then remover from the heat and leave to cool. Preheat the oven to 180c/350F/gas 4.
- Once the pie filling is cool, shred the lamb into the ban then drain and add the lentils and mix well. Tip into a pie dish (roughly 25cm x 30cm) (I used 2 smaller dishes to freeze one for another day as it was only feeding 3 of us.) On a flour-dusted surface, roll out the pastry so its slightly bigger than your dish and the thickness of a pound coin, (or use frozen ready rolled puff). then score very lightly in a criss-cross fashion. Beat the egg and brush around the rim of the dish. Roll the pastry around your rolling pin and unroll over the dish. Press to stick, then brush the pastry with more eggwash and bake for 30-40 minutes as the bottom of the oven, or until the filling is piping hot and the pastry is golden brown. Delicious served with seasonal greens and an extra dollop of mustard.
this dodgy looking leftover roast lamb will be transformed from the dog bone, to lushious lamb pie!
I mixed the mustard together with the flour to form a paste
leftover carrot and parsnip mash from a previous night will help thicken this pie sauce.
One I did with a criss cross pattern, then other with some cut out stars.
We had the pie with a rocket and parmesan salad.
Do you make the most of your leftovers or do you bin food even when it's good or leave it in the back of the fridge to grow legs? I hope I can inspire just one person to make a change and save some of your hard earned cash.
Oh, I almost forgot, it's week 14 of the 52 week money challenge, and if you ditch your lunches for the weeks until the end of the year that will be over $5,000 saved!!!!!