The humble chicken. Buy a good quality whole chicken and roast it. With enough roast veggies or salads, there is one meal. Cold cuts for sandwiches. If I have purposely made too many roast veg, I will reheat them with the chicken and gravy for another roast dinner without the wait.
Now use that carcass. I collect them in a container in the freezer. When I have enough I make a rich chicken stock. Not just for soup but enriching sauces and stir fries. Sometimes I make several litres of stock and then pressure can it, the only way to preserve it in bottles safely. That makes it shelf stable for at least 12 months.
Making chilli chicken wings where you cut off the wing tips? Put those tips in the freezer with the carcasses. Roasted till crispy they add so much flavour and colour to your stock.
When I cook a large bolognese sauce, I either freeze half of it or pressure can a couple of jars that then become an easy meal from the pantry shelf.
Best thing we did was buy a fridge that has a supercool freezer drawer that freezes food from hot. It is the best way to save cooked rice for another meal. When reheated it is just as good as the day it was cooked and there are no worries about it being spoiled.
The other thing we do is vacuum seal our meat, poultry and seafood for freezing or keeping in the fridge until using. No freezer burn and it lasts so much longer.
Is buying in bulk the way to go if you end up tossing out most of the bulk? No, it’s not. Buy how much you need if it is perishable and use it while fresh.
Old fruit like apples, make a pie or crumble. Peel and freeze overripe bananas to make banana muffins or banana cake/bread.
Cream that has past its use by but is still sweet, get the starter bacteria to make sour cream or add a bit of yoghurt to do so.
Old bread becomes breadcrumbs, croutons or garlic bread. Potato peels are slicked with oil and salt and roasted till crispy as a home snack. Old potatoes are put through the spiraliser and deep fried into crispy chips as a treat. I use vinegar powder and salt to season them. Old vegetables that are past it are used for stock then tossed in the worm farm/compost bin.
That’s some of what we do.