We all do it…buy food, forget to eat it and the garbage bin becomes the recipient of our wasted dollars.
Vegetables always seem to be my Achilles’ Heel. Sometimes I’m cleaning out the produce bin and find an item that I can no longer identitfy. So one of my New Year’s resolutions is to make sure that doesn’t happen…or at least less often in 2011.
Whatever your Achilles’ Heel, here are some things I’ve found helps keep me on track.
I know this take extra time and most of us don’t have a lot of it right now. However, when you’re putting together your shopping list think about items you can use for more than one meal. For example, a whole chicken can be dinner one night and leftovers can be turned into chili or burritos. Canned foods like tomato sauce or evaporated milk are great to use in soups and stews.
I’ve set aside one day a week (Sunday in my house) as Leftovers Day. I take out everything we haven’t eaten the rest of the week and set it on the counter as a buffet style meal. Sometimes it’s veggies left from one meal, potatoes from another. It also gets the fridge cleaned out for the following week and nothing goes to waste.
If I don’t use leftovers like gravies and sauces I freeze them. Same goes for waffles, bread rolls and muffins.
Another one of my resolutions is to make more homemade stock. I have a container in the freezer to which I add veggie peelings. Once I’ve made the stock I plan on freezing that too.
One of my favorite restaurants always features a vegetable and bean soup every day. It took me awhile to figure out why and it wasn’t because it was a customer favorite. The restaurant is using leftover veggies and beans and putting them to good use…soup they can sell every day. I now do the same thing. If I have leftover vegetables, pasta, beans etc. I make soup with it. It’s great because you never have the same combination so it’s always new. Some of my favorite soups have been created this way.
Lemons, Tomato Paste…
I don’t know why but in the winter I always seem to have half a lemon sitting in my fridge. I could never find a use for it other than slicing it up and using it in water. Now I use lemon juice which you find in those plastic lemons in the produce department. I know it’s not pure lemon juice…it has some preservatives but it’s easy to store, I always have some on hand and nothing goes to waste.
The same goes for tomato paste. I’d use half a can and the rest would sit in the fridge unsued. Now I buy it in tubes. Same goes for anchovy paste. I don’t use anchovies that often so it’s the perfect solution.
Salsa, dressings etc.
And my final way of using everything. If you have a couple of tablespoons of salsa, use it on scambled eggs. Dressing I use as a sandwish spread. Things like pickles get chopped up and put into homemade Thousand Island dressing.