A Waste-Less Journey – Tips for battling food waste!

After seeing AO.com’s exciting campaign a Waste-Less Journey, a mission to alert people to the shocking value of food waste we are creating in Great Britain’s homes; we’ve decided to share some of our favourite waste proof recipes and tips! Check out below for what we do and be sure to share your ideas too!

More than 15 million tonnes of food is wasted in UK homes every year, most of which is still perfectly edible.

Finish the Jar 

When the mayonnaise jar has reached it’s time but there’s still some left in the crooks and crannies of the jar. Throw in a little oil, herbs, vinegar and seasoning. Shake it up to loosen up the left over mayonnaise and keep shaking till mixed and you have a lovely salad dressing.

The same can be said for the last of the Nutella jar. So add some warm milk, shake up inside the jar and it will create a lovely nutty hot chocolate or if it’s summer – throw some ice cream in and eat straight from the jar for a yummy sauce topping.

Fruit to Freezer

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 23.45.01I don’t know about your home but my kids are mad for starting an apple, banana, kiwi etc and changing their mind half way through. Throwing half a perfectly good piece of fruit away, makes me scream inside. So instead we have a smoothie bag, a large resealable freezer bag that all the half finished or on the edge of use fruit lives in, frozen and ready to use for blitzing in to a delicious smoothie or ice cream when the mood takes us!

Freezer Bags

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 23.45.56In fact, it’s not just fruit but we have freezer bags for everything. Some bread on the turn and no time to get up and feed the ducks? Whizz to a light breadcrumb and freeze for a later date (home made chicken nuggets/fish fingers are super easy to make and fun for the kids). Cheese that’s not been wrapped properly and gone hard in the fridge? Grate and again stick in a ‘cheese bag’ in the freezer, perfect for grabbing handfuls for cheese sauces and if you’ve collected a variety of cheese in the bag then even better for a deep mixed flavour for that macaroni cheese!

The UK wastes 15 million1 tonnes of food every year. This is the equivalent of throwing away one fridge load of food each and every month.

Plan Ahead Cooking

Most know that weekly food shops and meal plans can keep your shopping budget and food wastage down to a minimum. However there are many blogs and websites out there, that can help you take it a step further. The theory of ‘Once a Month’ cooking, seems full on but can in fact be a much easier and stress free process than you think. Take one day of the month and pre-bag and prepare a month’s worth of meals. These can be things along the lines of easy to freeze lasagnas, shepards pies, stews etc.

Even easier are ‘dump bags’ – way more delicious than the name implies, a load of ingredients dumped in to a freezer bag and frozen until ready to defrost and pop in the slow cooker (for 4 hours on high) or oven for 45mins. Just make sure the meat you pop in the bags is raw and never frozen prior or is already and still frozen meat. Our favourite recipe is this one below that Eldest refers to as Yummo Chicken, we typically serve this with quick cook noodles, some tender stem broccoli and a sprinkle of seasame seeds:

Yummo Chicken Freezer Dump Bag

Serves 4

4 x chicken breasts or a pack of chicken breast mini fillets
1/2 cup of tomato ketchup
1/4 cup of melted honey
1/4 cup of soy sauce
2 Tbsp of lemon juice

Mix together in the bag and freeze until ready to use. Defrost overnight and place out in a suitable dish in an oven for 45minutes until cooked through or you can decant in to a slow cooker for 4 (high) or 8 (low) hours.

Half a portion of cereal

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 23.50.12So often in our home a measly half portion of cereal finds it’s way back in to the cupboard. Too small for a bowl, it never seems to get eaten again. Asides from adding this in to the new bag, you can also use these little scraps of cereal for cooking. A handful of Special K or Bran Flakes can taste great crushed up and sprinkled over some berries and ice cream. Cornflakes make an excellent crisp crumb for a home made chicken goujon rather than a breadcrumb or try this twist for a yummy alternative to a standard chicken goujon.

Honey Mustard Cornflake Goujons

Cornflakes crushed, with a light sprinkle of slat and pepper mixed through

Honey Mustard dressing

Chicken breasts chopped down to nugget or goujon size

Cooking spray/oil spray.

Simply dip your chicken in to the honey mustard, ensuring all is covered before dipping the chicken in the crushed cornflake crumbs and again sprinkling over if needed to make sure all is covered. Pop on to a foil lined baking tray and once all are prepared, give a spritz of cooking oil and pop in to a preheated oven for 25-30mins until cooked through.

Head to ao.com now for a wealth of tips, free meal planners, freezer guidelines and recipe ideas!

Cut your cake and eat it too

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 23.51.37Once this tip was passed on to me it was like a revelation. Cake, is a favourite in our house, however no one is a huge fan when it gets a smidgen stale so this tip worked wonders. Instead of cutting a cake in to wedges to serve out, cut your cake directly across the middle in a neat half. Then work your way out from the centre of the cake evenly and pushing back together when storing. This keeps the middle beautifully fresh and moist and the life of the cake stretching much further than the usual style of serving.

Ice Cube Tray Versatility

Your ice tray is far more than a tool for hosting boring old ice.

  • Fresh herbs, great for a special dish but can often wilt before you get the chance to use them again. Well chop and freeze them with either some olive oil or melted butter for some on the go cooking portions.
  • If there’s any left over wine, pop them in the tray to freeze for a small portion to use on hand when cooking rather than opening a fresh bottle or for a really refreshing snack.
  • Pop a grape in each one to separately freeze for a wine cooler that won’t distort the taste of your drink.

Yogurt dates a go-go

If there is a few kids yogurts left with time running out to eat them in, once again the freezer is your friend. Stick lolly sticks through and freeze in the pots for mini kids ice lollies in the summer. Or if it’s the tube style packets, freeze and then pop in lunchbags to defrost by lunchtime and act as a cooler keep food cold through the morning.


A term passed down to our family from my in laws. Iffitt, is a dinner that basically translates to “If it is in the fridge, it’s being cooked” This is a meal often cooked the night before the weekly food shop and sees me throwing together anything that may be left in there. It’s created some wonderful concoctions, but often it’s cooked up and served in a fun buffet style. The kids love being able to pick and choose what they fancy and I love that the food doesn’t go to waste just because it doesn’t necessarily make a traditional meal.

The Waste-less Journey has been created by AO.com.


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