How to make your own frozen greens

How to make your own frozen greens

How to: make your own frozen greens

So you bought a bag of greens, because it’s much better if everyone eats their greens, right?
Meh.
If I don’t cook up a bag of spinach as soon as it hits my house, I just look at it, and think about it, and think about it some more. And then it goes a little yellow, it goes a little sad and now I really don’t fancy it.
But. If I prep the whole bag at once, then I can just add in a handful here and handful there.

And if I don’t think I’m going to get it all eaten up, then I freeze them. It’s super easy, and it takes a little time – not in hands on cooking time, just cooking the greens and leaving them to cool before popping in the freezer.

Once you have the greens cooked and ready, you can warm them up and stir through some cream for creamed spinach. You can stir through some scrambled eggs for a quick meal, or into your egg fried rice. Through pasta with a little meat. Into a quiche. A pilaf.

 

Make your own frozen greens

Bought a bag of greens and they're threatening to go yellow? Don't waste them, use this technique for making your own, zero waste, frozen greens
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Keyword: eating on a budget, empty the fridge
Author: Ann Storr

Equipment

  • Colander/sieve
  • Saucepan
  • Clean tea towel/cooking muslin
  • Greaseproof paper
  • Baking tray
  • Sharp knife & chopping board
  • Freezer bag/tub and permanent marker

Ingredients

  • 1 bag greens spinach, kale, watercress, salad packs

Instructions

Cook the greens

  • Wash the greens; discard any yellow leaves
  • Place the leaves into a heavy bottomed pan and put the heat onto medium. Put the lid on the pan.
  • After a couple of minutes, check on the greens and stir. The water from washing should be enough to cook the leaves, but you might need to add a little more.
  • Baby spinach/watercress/salad packs will be ready in about 5 minutes.
  • Kale/true spinach will take longer, around 10 minutes

Cooling the greens

  • Take the cooked greens and turn out into the colander/sieve. If you're a smoothie or stock maker, collect the water in the bowl
  • Once any liquid has run off, take your tongs (if you have them) or fork and pick up the leaves and place on the tea towel to cool. More liquid will evaporate, which is what we want.

When the leaves are cool

  • Take the leaves and chop them up
  • If you're going to use them within a few days, place in a lidded container in the fridge to add to egg fried rice, pasta, quiche or other meals.

To freeze portions of greens

  • Check that your baking tray fits into your freezer draw. Once you're happy, line the tray with greaseproof paper.
  • Take a small handful of greens and mould them into a small ball. Place the balls onto the tray until you have used all the greens.
  • Cover the tray with an old bag or more paper and place in the freezer.
  • Once frozen solid, peel the greens off the paper and place into a bag or tub. Label the greens with what they are and the date frozen.
  • They will keep for up to 6 months.

Leftover Celery Salad

Leftover Celery Salad

Leftover celery salad

Love it, hate it; celery is a backbone of many recipes because of its strong flavour. But if you’ve bought a head of celery for your Bolognese or Jambalaya, what to do with all the leftovers?

If you really hate celery, you can slice and freeze it; this means one head will last you months, saving you money and food waste.

For the celery lovers out there, this salad will make you v happy. A simple blue cheese dressing + green stuff + walnuts (toasted if you can be bothered) will plough through two sticks of celery per person. If you’d like to make a nod to a classic Waldorf salad, chuck in an eating apple, diced. Got some avocado that wants eating up? It would be perfect in this. It’s a nod to American chop salads and, really what got me into eating salads for lunch because I found that I was full and had energy for the afternoon ahead.

Punchy and strong, this is what my 80s childhood iceburg, cucumber and tomato salads weren’t, and I hope you enjoy this.

Leftover celery salad

Chop up that peppery celery and mix it with other strong flavours to make the perfect, waste busting, light lunch
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time15 mins
Servings: 1
Author: Ann Storr

Ingredients

  • 2 stalks leftover celery ideally not too soft yet - if it is, you'll want to cook it up
  • 2 handfuls lettuce or salad leaves, washed and dried
  • 100 grams or so other stuff- I used cucumber, but chuck in any greens, avocado...
  • 50 grams walnut pieces you can use walnut halves but pieces are much cheaper

Blue cheese dressing

  • 2 heaped tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 50 grams blue cheese

Tools

  • Baking tray
  • Scales (or you can eyeball, it is a salad)
  • Colander & salad spinner/clean tea towel
  • Chopping board
  • Knife
  • Mixing bowl
  • Whisk

Instructions

  • Optional: Turn the oven to 180C and place the walnuts on a baking tray. Place in the warmed oven and toast for about 8 minutes, keeping a close eye on the time. Once toasted, remove from the oven place to one side.
  • If preferred/you're pushed for time, don't toast your nuts
  • Whisk the blue cheese and mayo together in a bowl. I like to leave some lumps as I like texture in a salad, you may prefer it smooth, up to you
  • Cut the celery up and mix with the veg. Mix the dressing into the veg and taste for seasoning, adding salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Add the walnuts and eat!

Sad salad pack chicken stew

Sad salad pack chicken stew

This stew is just yum.  Just. Yum.  It was inspired by the wonderful Victoria Glass, from her amazing ‘Too Good to Waste’ book.  Her stew uses sweet flavours – sweet potatoes and red peppers.  Lovely, but I wanted super super simple.  The leek is great and don’t miss it out if possible as it adds a gentleness that is just delicious.

Using chicken thighs is really cheap, and much better for a stew than breast meat.  On my insta stories I showed how to render the fat from the skins; you just leave them cooking verrrrrrrrry slowly and the fat will leach out.  And then you, dear cook, get to eat it all.  Yum.

Then the leaves – just stir them in and watch them wilt down.  Supper in one pot – what’s not to love?

Leftover salad pack Chicken Stew

Inspired by Victoria Glass, Too Good to Waste, p25

Serves 4

Ingredients

800 grams chicken thighs (4 chunky ones or a packet of 8)
1 onion (around 80 grams)
1 leek (around 100 grams)
1 carrot
1 stalk of celery
3 potatoes (around 500 grams)
1 sprig of rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 litre chicken stock
Any leftover salad pack leaves that you need to eat up!

Tools

Heavy saucepan
Tongs, if you have them
Knife
Chopping board
Jug

Time

About half an hour;  active time and 45 minutes simmering – so about an hour and a half all told

Prep

Pull the skins off the chicken thighs
Finely dice the onion
Wash the leek and slice in half lengthways
Cut the leek into half moons
Dice the carrot and the celery
Peel and crush the garlic

Method

Place the skins in a cold frying pan and turn the heat to medium; sprinkle over a little salt . Turn them every couple of minutes and press the skins into the pan

When they are crispy and crunchy, remove and either scoff them or use them to add crunch to a salad another day

Turn the heat up and brown the chicken all around; you may have to do this in batches

As the chicken pieces are ready, place them on a plate and leave them to one side.  Keep cooking until you have them all finished up

Place the onion and leek into the hot fat and sweat for about 10 minutes, until soft

When they are soft, add in the carrots and celery and sweat until soft

When the veggies are soft, scrape them out and leave to one side

Add in a little more fat and turn the heat up

Pop your potatoes into the hot fat and brown on all sides

When the potatoes are brown, turn the heat down and add in the crushed garlic and stir around the hot fat for one minute

Once the garlic is cooked, return all the veggies and chicken pieces to the pan

Pour over the chicken stock, bring to the boil.  Turn the heat down and leave to simmer.  You may need to rotate the pieces from time to time

When the chicken is cooked through, stir in the leaves.  They should only take a minute or two to wilt

Storage

Leave to cool to room temperature; if the leaves were on the wonk, freeze any leftovers.  If you were just bored of them, you should have up for 5 days to eat the stew.  Only reheat what you want at each meal.

Got a question? Ingredient you need help with? Get in touch:

ann@storrcupboard.com

(Slightly Soft) Roasted Leftover Pear, Stilton & Walnut salad

(Slightly Soft) Roasted Leftover Pear, Stilton & Walnut salad

Pears are a tricky beast. Buy a bag of 6, and how many do you really eat, every time?  3?  4?  All?!  GTAF.  I make like Nigel Slater and put four in a bowl to ripen, give those round little bottoms a little squeeze a couple of times a day, until they are perfectly ripe and giving and juicy etc etc.  But then it’s 3 days later, the washing mountain is building, the kids homework is beyond late and I remember that the kids don’t really like pears.  My once perfectly sweet bowl of pears are threatening to turn themselves into Lambrini Perry, scrumpy edition.

So, how to avoid the pitfalls of the mushy pear?  Once they’re fermenting in the bowl, they are, well, fermenting and there’s fuck all you can do about it.  (I am, right now, imagining my GCSE English teacher, Mr Lanaway, admonishing me for an over-reliance on swearing in my work.  I feel expressing the frustration of wasting £2.50 and a contribution to our food waste mountain is judicious, sir. Ahem).

Anyway.  Back to pears.  Once they are ripe PUT THEM IN THE FRIDGE.  THE FRIDGE.  Right at the front SO YOU DON’T FORGET TO EAT THEM OKAY?

If your pears are a teeny bit mushy without being the whole hoopla rank, then just cook them.  Yes!  Cook them!

I am not a blue cheese fan.  Indeed, I used to sit on the cold – real October cold – pavement outside my dad’s favourite cheese shop, holding my nose and bawking.  I once asked a cheesemonger for a cheese “that isn’t really festy”.  I then told *these* little lines to The Cheese Buyer of Neal’s Yard. FFS.

Anyway.  If you’re looking to use up your roasted pears AND start sampling the delights of blue cheese, may I recommend this warm salad?  The cheese melts onto the nuts and pears, which does the job of making pears in salad less odd AND the cheese less intense.  If you think pears in salad is weird – remember StorrCupboard lovers! – tomatoes are fruits, so, you know, get over it and try it.  Or wait until my 2 other recipes come out 🙂

Warm, roasted leftover pears with toasty walnuts and melty cheese?  You are so welcome.

(Slightly Soft) Pear, Stilton & Walnut Salad

Serves 1-2

Ingredients

NOTE – this is more of a method than a *recipe* – so if you have 35 grams or 75 grams of nuts or cheese, get ’em used up x

2 pears – anything from *will NEVER ripen & I’m going on holiday tomorrow” to “oh god I’d better eat them even though they’re the wrong side of soft”
1/2 tablespoon of fat; I used pork fat for umami/keeping it cheap, but ground nut or vegetable oil would be great.  Avoid olive, too strong
around 50 grams of walnuts or pecans
around 50 grams of Stilton or other blue cheese
Few handfuls of salad leaves

Tools

Colander/sieve
Baking tray
Teaspoon
Scales
Chopping board
Knife
Mixing bowl
Tea towel/kitchen paper

Time

10 minutes prep
30 minutes to roast pears
5 more minutes to mix

Prep

Preheat the oven to 180C
Cut your pears in half and remove the core; chop into about 3 pieces, for even cooking
*I don’t peel the pears as I think that the skin provides a nice texture, but it’s up to you*
Place on the baking sheet and drizzle the oil all over
Roughly chop the blue cheese

Method

Place the oiled pears in the oven
Wash the salad leaves and leave to drain; either spin or pat dry with a clean tea towel
Place the salad leaves in a mixing bowl
After 20 minutes, add the nuts to the tray and coat in the oil
TIMER ON; check after 5 minutes
The nuts are done when they smell all toasty; take them out a little too soon rather than burnt
When the nuts are golden brown and the pears a little caramelised, remove from the oven
Stir the cheese into the pears and nuts on the tray
Mix the warm pear-cheese-nut goo into the salad leaves
Eat!

Storage
You can store the roasted pears for between 1 and 5 days, depending on how ripe they were when you roasted them.  You can roast alongside the nuts but do not store together, because the nuts will go soggy (insert joke here).
To serve from cold, bring to room temperature for a couple of hours before serving, if possible.  Warm through in the oven or in a microwave, if you like.

Got a question? Ingredient you need help with? Get in touch:

ann@storrcupboard.com

Bought-too-many-herbs salad

Bought-too-many-herbs salad

Hello!  Hi!  StorrCupboard is back!  With the help of the amazing Elizabeth Barrett and others, StorrCupboard is now fully searchable and *much* easier to use.
Not all of the recipes are back online yet; this is my passion project and my love, but there are 2 kids that need tending and a career that needs growing. This isn’t perfect but it’s here to help you.  Please email me at ann @ storrcupboard.com with any questions and I’d love to help you.
So … herbs.  We buy them because a recipe says that we need just a handful, and that fresh tastes better (usually, the recipe is right).  But wasting fistfuls of delicate green leaves is plain nuts.
The simplest way to use up herbs is to finely chop them and store in ice-cube trays.  Easy.
But how about something that is going to be a cheap, filling and healthy lunch?  Take inspo from the amazing, the wonderous, Ottolenghi & Honey & Co.  Both Ottolenghi, and the Honies (as they are often called) were born and raised in the Middle East, where herbs are used a lot more in cooking.  Handfuls of herbs are used in salads along with lettuce, spinach and rocket which adds another layer of fresh flavour.  If you’re my age or more, you’ll remember *how* exciting it was when rocket! replaced! iceberg! lettuce!  (Unless you are my parents so a salad is iceberg lettuce, sliced cucumber and quartered tomatoes).
This simple salad was a couple of handfuls of bagged salad, loads of parsley and coriander, along with said tomatoes and cucumber.  It doesn’t have to be rocket science (sorry).  Enjoy the tweak of the added handful of herbs to your salad and make sure there’s never a leftover, leftover.

Got a question? Ingredient you need help with? Get in touch:

ann@storrcupboard.com

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