Featured | Food | Health | Lifestyle | Mains | News

What I made for our family without grocery shopping for a week

Jacqueline Alwill

Brown Paper Nutrition

Last week I didn’t grocery shop. We were low on fresh ingredients – fruit and veg – in the fridge and fruit bowl, but I wanted to make a challenge and be as resourceful as possible and cook everything I had on hand and not go to the shops (exception is milk from the service station which I couldn’t cook myself!). We are a family of 5, but my son was with his dad for the week, so call it 4 mouths to feed for a week.

My starting point included:

  • 3 apples, 2 sweet potatoes and 2 oranges in the fruit bowl
  • 8 white potatoes
  • herbs, a couple of little cooked beetroot and half a bunch of celery, some spring onions in one crisper drawer
  • some carrots, 1 head broccoli and 1/4 ice berg lettuce in 2nd crisper drawer, plus 1/2 red onion needing to be used
  • in the freezer – frozen corn, peas, zucchini, bread rolls, steak, berries, bananas and pesto.
  • pantry – the usual Jacq-pantry featuring lots of dried ingredients and tinned legumes and fish

So not completely bare by any means, I’m well aware this is still food present. The fresh ingredients were definitely where I was going to have to be creative though as they were minimal, which is why it’s also so great to have a pantry of dry ingredients stocked and a freezer with fruit and vegetables too!

I began by prepping the ingredients that I could so that when I came time to pull together actual meals I wasn’t thinking “raw potatoes, great…”. Prep is important here because that’s how you can be more creative at meal times. This is how the prep unfolded.


Meal prepped items and snacks:

From there I felt so much more inspired to get colourful, flavoursome meals together, which looked like this…

  1. Lettuce butter bean salad with lots of herbs. Steamed white potato with Mingle seasoning in pantry. Kimchi from fridge. BabyBel cheese my toddler decided not to eat, pickled red onion, olives and boiled egg – lunch 1 done!


2. Dinner – smashed sweet potato with pizza toppings – tomato paste, anchovies, semi dried tomatoes, mozarella in the fridge, plus pesto from the freezer 

3. Lunch – peas with tomato passata from pantry and found some of the no-meat meatballs from the IRON RICH PLANT BASED MEAL PLAN (grab this in the shop if you have a menstrual cycle so you can understand iron rich meals and foods better)

4. Pulled steak from the freezer and teamed it with white potatoes, peas with feta pickled onion and herbs. Used some of the pickling liquid as a dressing with extra virgin olive oil in the pantry. 

5. Mega finisher by Thursday was this delicious butter bean herb and quinoa salad, sauteed (frozen and defrosted) zucchini in garlic infused extra virgin olive oil with some sesame seeds on top, and no-egg (cos I ate it earlier in week) corn fritters which are probably some of my favourite to date! The “glue” usually created with egg was with besan / chickpea flour and wholemeal self raising flour – they worked so well. Even had some left for lunch the next day – what a win! 

Again, whilst I know our fridge and pantry was not bare, there were a lot of staples that were low, so this was a week that this kind of creative challenge really helped to use up what there was before refilling and helped reinforce that wonderful philosophy of “focus on all the things you do have, rather than things you don’t”.

If you’re keen for the EGG-FREE CORN FRITTERS be sure to subscribe to the newsletter (find the link below this post) where you’ll be the first to receive it.

Love nutritious, wholesome meals but keen to stick to a budget? I’ve costed out every recipe in my e-book HEALTH ON A BUDGET so you know what you’re in for before you plan, shop and cook! Over 65+ delicious and budget friendly meals to keep your health and budget in better balance. Grab it for $13.99 AUD today via the SHOP.