Love Food Hate Waste: Week 1

If you’re interested in the planner, you can get it here: Easy Choice Meal Planner

Here’s my shopping bill for five meals with six portions in each.  This list excludes breakfast and fruit/veg snacks, toiletries, and cleaning supplies.

Item Price (NZ$)
Chicken (fresh, 1.9kg) 12.99
Edam Cheese (1kg) 8.99
Cabbage (half) 2.09
Carrots (5) 2.40
Leek (1) 1.49
Lemon (1) 0.33
Onions (5) 2.12
Potatoes (1.6kg) 4.64
Pumpkin (half) 2.66
Frozen Mixed Vegetable (1kg) 2.19
Cannellini Beans (2 x 400g cans) 1.98
Eggs (12) 6.99
Burger Bun (6) 2.90
Gluten-Free Burger Buns (5) 6.99
Lentils (2 x 400g cans) 3.18
Tuna (1 x 415g can) 4.89
Spaghetti (500g) 0.94
Gluten-Free Spaghetti (350g) 4.19
Tomatoes, chopped (2 x 400g cans) 1.98
Total 64.05  (approx. US$42,£32, €36)

NOTE: I’ve had to pay extra for Mr Mint’s gluten-free ingredients and I prefer to buy free range/cage free products.  We’re not living on the breadline, so I don’t feel bad about that; we just want to stop wasting money on food that we throw away or are greedy with.

I also left my credit card at home today.  We never carry a balance, but I felt that it’s easier to overspend on a credit card compared to using the cash in my pocket.

Meal 1: Roast Chicken and Vegetables

The first meal was a big hit with Mr Mint, so I only managed to get a picture of the food before it went into the oven!

While cooking this, I remembered how much I hated chopping up pumpkin.  I even partially heated it in the microwave to soften it.  Next time I might “chicken out” and buy pre-diced if it isn’t stupidly priced.

  • 1.9kg/4lbs whole chicken
  • 2 tbsp oil (divided)
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  • 8 large potatoes (diced into 3cm/1″ pieces)
  • 1/2 pumpkin  (diced into 3cm/1″ pieces)
  • 2 onions (quartered)
  • 3 cups frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  1. Preheat oven to 180c/350f/Gas Mark 4
  2. Pat chicken dry with a paper towel then place the chicken in a baking dish.
  3. Mix paprika with 1 tbsp oil and spread over the chicken.
  4. Season chicken. Cook chicken for approximately 2 hours (check instructions on the label).
  5. Place potatoes, pumpkins and onions in a baking tray. Drizzle with remaining oil and cook for 40-50 minutes.
  6. When chicken is ready, cook frozen vegetables in the microwave (about five minutes).
  7. Place chicken on a plate to rest, retaining juices, for ten minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, to make the gravy, add 1 tbsp chicken juices and 1 tbsp flour to a pan; mix to a paste.
  9. Heat the pan and slowly add chicken stock to preferred consistency.
  10. Serve up the chicken, vegetables and gravy.

FOR MEAL 2: Retain about 3 cups of chicken and place chicken bones in a pan to make the stock

FOR MEAL 3: Retain 3 cups of roasted vegetables.

Meal 2: Chicken Noodle Soup

It may not look pretty, but this was delicious and full of noodles (even with little mint repeatedly asking for more).

I boiled up the chicken carcass straight after dinner the night before and prepped the vegetables.  The next day I had planned to pop this into our slow cooker (on high) for at least two hours for lazy plan B.  That didn’t happen, so I went back to plan A to simmer the soup for 15 minutes.  This was a family favourite and our toddler is always asking for noodles.

  • Chicken carcass/bones, from Meal 1
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 leek, chopped
  • 1/4 cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 250g/9oz spaghetti
  • 3 cups chicken from Meal 1
  • 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 400g can of cannellini beans, drained
  • leftover gravy, from Meal 1 (optional)
  • 2 chicken stock cubes
  • 2 tsp mixed dried herbs
  1. Place chicken carcass/bones in a pan with salt, pepper, garlic and water.
  2. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Sieve the broth to remove the bones, retaining the liquid (broth).
  4. Return the broth to the pan.  Add the vegetables, beans, chicken and spaghetti.
  5. Stir in stock cubes, leftover gravy and dried herbs.
  6. Simmer the soup for 15 minutes, until the spaghetti softens.


Step 1: Cook on high for at least 2 hours

Steps 4-6: Cook on high for at least 2 hours

Meal 3: Roast Vegetable Frittata

This wasn’t as much of a hit in the mint household.  We both needed to add a lot more salt and both agreed that it needed a strong cheese (the edam flavour was lost).

Next time, I’d prefer to use the leftover vegetables for a pie (with pastry, some leftover chicken, and gravy).

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
  • 3 cups of roasted vegetables from Meal 1
  • 1 can (400g/14oz) cannellini beans
  • 10 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup/60g/2oz grated cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350f/gas mark 4
  2. Heat the oil in an ovenproof frying pan.
  3. Add onions and garlic. Cook for about 3 minutes to soften.
  4. Add frozen vegetables and cook for about 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the leftover roasted vegetables and cannellini beans.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, herbs, salt, and pepper.
  7. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables in the frying pan.
  8. Sprinkle cheese on the top of the mixture and cook in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
  9. Serve in wedges.

Eat leftovers for breakfast or lunch


Meal 4: Lentil Bolognese

Mr Mint normally believes that a meal without meat isn’t a meal, but he was quite happy to eat this.  He said it was filling (I couldn’t finish my plate) and would be ok to eat it again if we’re low on our grocery budget.  I think I’d consider swapping one can of lentils for 225g/0.5lb of beef to increase the flavour.

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 leek, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 cans (400g/14oz) chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 cans (400g/140oz) lentils, drained
  • 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1/2 packet (250g/9oz) spaghetti (I used gluten-free for Mr Mint)
  • 1 cup/60g/2oz grated cheese
  1. Start cooking the spaghetti
  2. Heat the oil in a pan.  Add onion and leek.  Cook until soft.
  3. Add carrots, garlic, chopped tomatoes, sugar, lentils and herbs. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the frozen vegetables and simmer the mixture for about 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti.
  6. Serve bolognese with spaghetti and sprinkle over grated cheese.


Meal 5: Tuna Burgers

The original recipe uses canned salmon, but I knew that wouldn’t work for our family and used tuna.  I also swapped out the breadcrumbs for leftover cooked rice, to avoid gluten for Mr Mint.

This was tasty and packed full of vegetables, but I needed to strain the tuna  A LOT MORE!  The eggs didn’t bind the burger properly, because I hadn’t strained it well enough.

  • 1 can (415g/14oz) of tuna (or salmon), flaked
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 1 cup frozen vegetables (defrosted), chopped if required
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2tbsp sweet chilli sauce (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice (if gluten is ok, use breadcrumbs)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 6 hamburger buns
  • 1/2 head cabbage, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 180c/350f/gas mark 4
  2. Line an oven tray with baking paper
  3. Mix together the fish, onion, garlic, frozen vegetables, sweet chilli sauce, eggs, rice (or breadcrumbs), and zest of half a lemon.  Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Shape the mixture into six balls and place on the lined oven tray. Flatten the burgers.
  5. Place the oven tray in the oven for 20 minutes (turning over the burger after 10 minutes).
  6. While the burgers are cooking, make the slaw.  Mix the cabbage, carrot, mayonnaise and juice from the lemon.  Season with salt and pepper.
  7. When the burgers have cooked, place the sliced buns in the oven for a minute or to toast.
  8. Serve the burgers in the bun with the slaw.



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