Who doesn’t love a bargain, because I do!
And if you are like me, you probably are feeling like you’re loosing out by settling for small packs when food sold in bulk have such tempting price tags. It’s hard to argue against doubling your purchase for a few extra pence. Jumping from a medium to a large milk bottle means saving almost 50% off the price per liter! Very tempting.
However, after conceding parts of my prized possessions to the kitchen bin I’ve been asking myself if we’re really making good deals or if we are just buying more than we can chew? Could this be the big food-stores master plan?
With their lifestyles requiring flexibility, these questions are especially relevant for the solo cooks. Most food is branded and packaged with families in mind, making manageable size for one difficult to find. Knowing how to deal with bulk purchases is a key ingredient for a healthy wallet and an eco-friendly kitchen.
In this feature, I will give you creative and useful ideas on how to use and consume tortillas to avoid food wastage as well as a few tricks that can be applied to other types of food.
vegetable and good seeds. Find recipe below.
Following a trip to Mexico, I wanted to relive my holiday by eating fajitas, as I had done on the beach. But with my busy city-dweller lifestyle, I quickly discovered that a standard pack of corn tortillas was quite a lot for one person. With the pack instructing to consume within 3 days of opening, I knew I had to act fast.
Tips 1: Always take the package recommendations with a grain of salt and a bit of common sense. Companies stay clear of law suits by using conservative consumption dates. I took 6 days to eat all my tortillas, and although the last two were rather dry, they tasted were absolutely fine. Use your nose and your eyes: if it looks and smells good and you’re not too far off the consumption date, you should be in the clear.
This classic combo is a proper cheesy conform meal. Easy to reheat,
it makes an ideal lunch. Find recipe below.
Now that you can’t ignore its lifespan, not feeling like eating the same thing everyday might be your next problem.
Tip 2: This is when you need to let inner Martha out and think outside the box. It doesn’t all have to be about Mexican flavors. What are tortillas if not another type of flat bread, like pitas. And what are these great for? Dips and sandwiches.
Tortilla and hummus? Yes. Tortilla chicken wrap? Yes.
Seeing them from a different angle helped me eat my way through 8 of these in 6 days. Although they started the week as the main star of my meal, they finished as supporting actors to other great flavors.
– First, I made fajitas (find the recipe here), my craving for these started this whole thing after all.
– I then twisted things up by making crunchy tacos shells* to finish my meat leftovers.
– One night, I quickly made a classic tomato soup with tortilla grilled cheese* (or quesadillas) for my office lunches. It’s really easy to reheat in the microwave and the tortilla doesn’t go soggy like bread would.
– Finally, as the last 2 were starting to dry a bit, I made tortilla crisps* with a toasted pumpkin seed dip, which was perfect for my snacking needs. And bonus: They are healthier than any potato crisps you could by I’m sure.
*Find recipes below.
Brush tortilla with oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper and cook for 5 minutes in oven at 180C/350F. Options: Cut before baking for clean triangles or break into pieces once cooked for a rustic look.
Turn oven on to 180C/350F. Carefully drape each tortilla over 1 or 2 bars of the oven rack, leaving the sides hanging. Bake until crispy, for about 5-7 minutes, and stuff with your favorite toppings.
The following these four steps should help you deal with any big amounts of food you might purchase. You already know 1 and 2, but 3 and 4 might come in handy.
1. Know your deadline – what is the lifespan of your food.
Don’t stick your head in a hole, being aware of the life expectancy of your ingredient makes you less likely to forget about it.
2. Be creative -We all have a little Martha inside us.
Don’t think the ingredient has to be the leading role. Can it be used for breakfast, lunch or as a snack? How can you transform it? Think outside the box.
3. Find alternative storage -Divide and store.
Would storing it in the fridge extent is life? Could you freeze it? How about canning, bottling or pickling? (find a few freezing tips here)
4. Last resort – invite some friends over.
There’s nothing better than being treated to a nice meal. Instead of throwing your food away, have an impromptu dinner with some friends. It’s a fun way of getting rid of leftovers and your friends will be grateful for the nice meal.
- 1 Tomato
- 1/2 Red pepper
- 1 small Bay leaf
- 1 small Garlic clove, squashed
- 1 tsp Vegetable oil
- Salt and Pepper
- 40g Pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 2 Corn Tortillas
- Olive oil (or vegetable)
- 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
- Salt flakes
- Turn the oven on to 200C/400F.
- Cut the tomato and pepper in rough chunks. Spread on a baking tray with the squashed garlic and the bay leaf. Coat in oil, season and roast in the oven for 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, toast the pumpkin seeds, in a dry pan over a medium heat, for 3 to 5 minutes. The seeds will start to pop like popcorn and their skin will crack. Take off the heat and keep aside.
- Prepare the crisps by brushing the tortillas with oil, sprinkle with salt and smoked paprika. Leave the tortillas whole if you prefer a rustic look or cut them into triangles for equal bits. Keep aside.
- Take the vegetables out of the oven and transfer to the blender. (If you don’t have one, use a deep bowl or jar and a hand mixer)
- Carefully wipe the tray with kitchen towels, pop the tortillas on, turn the oven down to 180C/350F and bake for 5 minutes. Keep an eye on them as they can burn quickly.
- Add the pumpkin seed to the blender and blitz until smooth. Check the seasoning and a bit of water if too thick.
- Serve with the crisps as a side or snack.
- 1/2 Onion
- 1 Garlic clove
- 1 tsp Olive oil
- 1 400g can Chopped Tomato
- 1 Chicken stock cube and 1 can of water (or 450ml Chicken stock)
- 1 1/2 tbsp Sugar
- 1 tsp Balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp Cream (optional)
- 1 tbsp Basil
- Black pepper
- 2 Corn Tortilla
- 2 handfuls Grated Cheese (Mozzarella, Cheddar, Feta… Have fun with what you have.)
- Roughly chop the onion and garlic and cook in a saucepan over medium-low heat with the olive oil until soft and slightly golden.
- Turn up the heat and add the tomatoes. Filled the empty can with water and add to the pan with the stock cube, sugar and balsamic vinegar. Mix and bring to a boil. Cook for 15 minutes uncovered on a low simmer.
- In the meantime, prepare the quesadillas. Warm a dry pan over a medium heat, put a handful of grated cheese in the center of the tortilla and fold in half. Cook for a few minutes on each side until golden and crispy and the cheese has melted. Keep warm on a low heat until ready to serve.
- Take the soup off the heat and blend with a hand mixer until smooth.
- Add the cream, the chopped basil and a few cracks of black pepper. Check the seasoning and serve with the cheesy quesadillas.