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It’s wonderful what happens when the grocery budget is almost all gone and you realize that it is time to get creative with what you already have. Occasionally it happens during the month’s worth of meals, and when it does I am always surprised by just how much food I already have in our fridge, freezer and pantry. I find myself searching through bag after bag of dried beans, farro, rice, pasta, and root through the freezer just to find entire meals, as well as loads of frozen vegetables, all lying forgotten at the bottom of a full drawer.
I have been reading Money Saving Mom‘s “Eating from the Pantry” series as her family prepares to move and eat the food they have left rather than buying more and throwing stuff out. I have been inspired by this, especially as my plan for next month is to do a bigger shop and do a lot of freezer cooking for when the baby arrives and our freezer is in desperate need of a clearout in order to make enough room for this to happen!
This particular recipe was one that came together on one of those “budget’s-stretched-what-can-I-eat?” days. I was convinced I had “nothing” in the fridge for lunch, but when I came across some onions, a little goat’s cheese, and some asparagus that were starting to wilt, I realized I was wrong. Thank you Money Saving Mom for saving me a trip to the shops by encouraging me to have a proper look around first!
In fact, getting creative with this recipe used up ingredients that may well not have lasted another few days, and so going out to buy more would just have resulted in more waste. Don’t you love when things come together?
Anyway, I was really happy with how this came out. I had found a very basic onion tart recipe in my well-used copy of Love Food’s Vegetarian Cookbook (such a good book, and only a penny for a secondhand copy on Amazon!), and improvised from there.
Very loosely adapted from Love Food’s Vegetarian Cookbook
knob of butter
3 large onions (about 300g), chopped into thin strips
drizzle balsamic vinegar (optional)
100ml milk (or cream)
50g goat’s cheese (optional)
handful of grated Parmesan cheese (or any other cheese you have lying around)
300g baked shortcrust or puff pastry case (homemade/shop-bought – I always make my own shortcrust, as it is so so simple and cheap, but puff pastry is much more hassle, so this time I used the rest of the shop-bought one I’d got for making mini-croissants)
salt and pepper
and anything else you want to use up – I had some asparagus in need of using that I chopped up and fried with the onions
1.Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4.
2. Fry the onions in the butter and drizzle with balsamic vinegar (to taste) if using. Let them cook on a low-medium heat until they are soft and translucent, adding in any other chopped vegetables you want to use up for the last couple of minutes of frying.
3. Meanwhile, beat together the egg and milk (or cream) and mix in half of the goat’s cheese and most of the grated Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Place onions in the pastry case and cover in the egg mixture, then crumble the remaining goat’s cheese and Parmesan over the top.
5. Bake for 15-20 mins, until the filling is set and cooked through.