Food waste is expensive for Canadians. According to the National Zero Waste Council, the average family spends $1,300 annually on food they throw in the trash or compost. Before putting in a withered vegetable or unappetizing leftover, “Wait! says Nancy Bordeleau, a cooking enthusiast behind the Cinq Fourchettes blog.

“Would you take $20, tear it up, and put it in the trash on purpose?” Nancy Bordeleau sometimes asks the tens of thousands of people who visit her website or follow her on social media. The answer is obviously no.

“Why do people have no problem putting food in the trash when it costs something? asks the mother of three grown children aged 24, 21 and 18 in an interview.

If you saw dollar signs on the spoiled apples in the back of your refrigerator, you would definitely turn them into a compote or a crisp, Nancy Bordeleau believes.

It is also with a view to helping people reduce food waste and optimize their purchases at the grocery store that she wrote her most recent book, Se regaler sans se ruine — 75 empty-fridge recipes. to save time and money.

“There are so many possibilities in the kitchen, you just have to let yourself go. […] You don’t need to break your little pig to eat well. And it’s not true that you have to eat only chickpeas to save money, “believes this self-taught who started cooking late, around the age of 30.

“I saw how it was a handicap for me not to know how to cook. How it cost me too much to buy ready-made meals, ”recalls the one who studied accounting before taking over the reins of the Cinq Fourchettes blog six years ago.

The dishes presented in Enjoying without breaking the bank have been carefully thought out to maximize the use of each ingredient purchased.

In the first part of the book, Nancy Bordeleau offers recipe duos. Cooking beef dumplings for supper? We slip the remains into a submarine the next day. How do we reinvent lemon chicken drumsticks with grilled potatoes? We make a bacon potato salad.

The second part of the book presents “perfectly recovered recipes”. “For example, if I made you use egg yolks for a recipe, I’m not letting you down with your whites. I tell you how to cook them so you don’t get stuck with ingredients in the fridge,” says Nancy Bordeleau. In this case, making a meringue or a pavlova are two interesting options.

And while vegetarian recipes are generally less expensive, Eat on the Budget includes a wide variety of meat dishes. “It’s been six years that, on Cinq Fourchettes, I have been doing menus every week inspired by flyer discounts. […] I know from experience what is often discounted and what can be done with it. It’s always cyclical. Something to please lovers of pork, chicken and beef on a budget.

La Presse asked Nancy Bordeleau for some tips to avoid food waste. Here are three.

Planning a few menus when it comes time to do the grocery shopping is good. However, doing so for too long is risky, in Nancy Bordeleau’s eyes. “If you make a seven-day game plan and buy all the ingredients, for sure at some point you’re going to have something unexpected, like going to a restaurant. There, you are stuck with food that will rot in the fridge. According to her, it is better to go back to the grocery store rather than buy too much.

To see at a glance what food is in her refrigerator, Nancy Bordeleau stores everything in transparent containers. “That way I see when a vegetable is starting to wilt and I need to use it. »

Adapting the recipes according to the ingredients you have on hand helps to avoid waste. For example, sour cream can be replaced with Greek yogurt. “Do some testing,” encourages the owner of Cinq Fourchettes, who works a lot on trial and error. She has already served a neon pesto with a rather questionable taste to her children. “It’s not the end of the world,” she laughs, admitting they still talk to her about it.

Blade roast on sale this week? Nancy Bordeleau offers you two recipes from Treat yourself without breaking the bank — 75 empty-fridge recipes to save time and money. First, slow cooker pulled beef tacos, perfect to brighten up your day. Then, a tex-mex shepherd’s pie, which completely reinvents your leftovers.

Yield: 5 cups (1.25 L) of meat

Prep: 20-25 minutes

Cook: 8:10 a.m.

Taco shells, chopped iceberg lettuce, diced tomatoes, grated cheddar cheese, sour cream, jalapeno peppers, fresh cilantro, salsa, lime juice, guacamole…

Yield: 2 servings

Preparation: 15 minutes

Cooking: 10 to 12 minutes