Sunday Black Box Challenge: Wasting Less

Last week I shared an example of my Sunday cooking ritual, which is essentially my way of using up the week’s leftover produce and other bits and bobs that won’t last much longer.
I made chicken soup, parsley walnut pesto, stone fruit chutney, and broccoli squash biscuits as well as a stock pack for later. Jumping off from here, our week went a little like this:

We ate the chicken soup for dinner.

I had a chicken sandwich with leftover poached chicken from the soup for lunch. We had leftover soup and broccoli biscuits for dinner.

MORE chicken (it stretches far!) for lunch, in a salad this time. For dinner I cooked a pork tenderloin stuffed with the pesto and served with the fruit chutney. I also steamed broccoli and cooked some buckwheat. I toasted the kernels in a pan and cooked them lovingly in homemade stock like some kind of earth angel. Except then I got distracted by my Instagram feed and let the pot boil too much and by the time I was drawn back into the kitchen by a singed aroma the buckwheat wasn’t looking too good. I managed to salvage most of it (the rest had to be soaked and scoured off the bottom of the pot) but it was a bit of a gloopy mess. My husband wasn’t interested at all.


Homemade Tortillas

What a surprise, I had a lot of buckwheat and broccoli leftover, so I made them into patties for lunch (recipe below). I also had leftover pork roast so I decided to cook it down into something resembling carnitas (recipe below). I was fully intending to serve this as a rice bowl but then I remembered that I had bought some PAN corn flour at the store the other day and thought that tacos would be delightful, so I made tortillas from the PAN website. I roasted up a bunch of red pepper, zucchini and sweet potato and served everything with guacamole and fresh salsa (recipe below).

For breakfast I had scrambled eggs served with the leftover guacamole and salsa and a couple of corn tortillas crisped up in a spritz of oil. More broccoli and buckwheat patties for lunch. For dinner we had pasta with parsley pesto, roast tomatoes and spinach.

My husband had the day off so for brunch I made a pasta omelette using the leftover pasta, a couple of eggs and some cheese.

I used some of the leftover roast veggies to make these muffins, we ate a couple each and froze the rest for snacks.

So starting this morning I had the following in my Black Box:

  • 1/2 bag spinach leaves
  • More leftover roast veggies
  • A fennel bulb
  • 4 spears of raw asparagus
  • 1 zucchini
  • 5 strawberries no longer in their prime
  • 2 punnets of wrinkled blueberries (for shame! these got lost in the fridge behind a Tupperware container and were forgotten about)
  • 2 wrinkled nectarines
  • Pesto from last Sunday
  • The tail end of a packet of goat’s cheese
  • 1/2 a red onion

I fried the roast veggies up and served them with some pesto scrambled eggs for brunch.

img_0763For dinner I opted for a roast chicken with roast zucchini, asparagus, fennel (and sweet potato not leftover). I also made creamed spinach by frying the 1/2 onion with some garlic, wilting the spinach in with it and adding a splash of sherry, cream and nutmeg. For dessert I made a no sugar added blueberry, strawberry and nectarine crumble (recipe below) which will end up being dessert again for the next day or two.



Buckwheat and Broccoli Patties

These are actually pretty tasty and super filling. I ended up with way too much for one lunch, they fed us for a couple of days.

Makes 8 patties

Buckwheat Broccoli Patties

1 1/2 cups buckwheat, slightly overcooked
1 cup steamed broccoli, finely chopped
1/4 red onion grated
2 eggs
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp grated parmesan
1 Tbsp pesto
1 Tbsp whole wheat flour (for binding)
Olive oil to cook

  1. Put all of the ingredients into a large bowl and mix well.
  2. Heat oil over medium heat.
  3. Form the mixture into golfball sized balls with your hands and tamp them down into the hot pan.
  4. Fry about 3 minutes per side.
  5. Serve with a green salad.

Pork Carnitas

Leftover pork, shredded
1/2 red onion finely diced
3 cloves garlic minced
1 red chile or jalapeño minced
1 tsp cumin
Tbsp olive oil
Juice of three limes
2 cups water
Salt to taste

  1. Sweat the onion and chill in the olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add in the cumin and stir til fragrant.
  3. Add in the pork and garlic and cook for a few minutes more.
  4. Deglaze pan with water making sure to get all the brown bits.
  5. Add lime juice and salt.
  6. Simmer for about one hour or until the liquid is evaporated, checking that the pan hasn’t dried out.

Fresh Salsa and Guacamole

I typically use my food processor which is a little lazy. I think both of these condiments are better when made by hand, but sometimes I just want to be quick!
I make the salsa first – a couple chopped and deseeded tomatoes, a deseeded jalapeño or two, 4 garlic cloves, salt, lime juice and a handful of cilantro, pulsed a few times and poured into a bowl.
I make the guac in the same bowl no need to rinse. Pop and avocado or two, some more cilantro, a chopped red onion, the juice of a lime and a pinch or two of salt. Whizz until blended.

Leftover Fruit Crumble (no added sugar)

If you’re not avoiding sugar, you can sweeten the topping with a couple tablespoons of brown sugar, maple syrup or rice malt syrup.

Fruit Crumble

3 cups wilting fruit, peeled and chopped as necessary(I used nectarines, blueberries and a few strawberries)

2/3 cup oats
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup nuts (I used walnuts and pecans)
60 g butter
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F/ 175 C.
  2. Put fruit in a baking dish
  3. Whizz all other ingredients together in a food processor until crumbly.
  4. Top fruit with topping and bake for 30 minutes until golden and bubbling.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Sheryl says:

    You are so organized! I enjoyed reading about how you used the left-overs from one meal as the starting point for another meal later in the week.


    1. Nicole says:

      Thank you! I find the more I turn it into a game the more I stay interested.


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