Even during normal times, it happens to all of us. We buy more food than we know what to do with. Especially now, with the uncertainties of grocery store runs, maximized shopping trips, and making sure you are well stocked so you can stay at home, we all are finding ourselves with so much food in our fridges and pantries that we don’t know what to do with it all. And to make it worse, we are starting to getting bored with making the same thing over and over. We are here to help. Here’s some ideas and recipes to help you maximize the life out of your groceries and help minimize food waste. After all, what’s the point of buying it if it goes to waste.
Milk – You bought it by the gallons and now that “Use by” date is creeping up faster than you can drink it.
- Alfredo sauce time. This recipe is for zucchini noodles with alfredo sauce, but the sauce works great with regular pasta too!
- Milk Braised Pork Chops with Mustard Sauce – We’d make a special trip just to get milk so we could make this recipe for dinner. So good!
- Baked Milk Chicken Thighs – Juicy, tender and delicious.
- Lighten up a cream sauce by using milk instead of cream. That substitute would work great in this Skillet Chicken in Creamy Mushroom Wine Sauce
- Make Buttermilk (combine 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Stir to combine and allow to sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes) & then cook up a killer fried chicken or buttermilk berry breakfast cake. Or use in any recipe needing buttermilk.
- Ice Cream – If you’ve also got some eggs and cream on hand, nothing beats homemade ice cream.
Meats & Seafoods- We’ve all seen the meat department barren of offerings, so now when we are at the store, we make sure to get plenty. Maybe a little more than plenty.
- Portion & Freeze – First & foremost, right after getting home from the store, we’ll portion out the meats and freeze what we aren’t going to eat within the next couple days. If it is a whole salmon fillet, we’ll cut in down into individual pieces. Ground meats are divided into pound or two pound portions. Freezer bags portioned, labeled and dated so it is easy to tell what and when later. Here’s some recipes for Beef, Chicken, Pork, & Seafood.
- Pot Pies & Savory Galettes – Beyond the freshly bought meats & seafood, often times we’ll have leftovers. Pot pies & savory galettes are perfect. Take a pie dough, add the meats, any cooked veggies you want to add, a little cream sauce if you like, top it with a little more dough and bake (usually at 375°F for about 50-60 minutes depending on your dough and the size.) For an even easier pot pie, fill a oven safe dish with all the fillings, top with the pie dough, puff pastry dough, biscuits, etc. then bake until the pastry topping is cooked and golden.
- Stir Frys – They are quick and simple. Sauté everything up with a little sauce – use a bought teriyaki sauce is a great easy hack.
- Fried Rice – The leftovers go-to for half the world. Day old rice, leftover meats & veggies, revived to a new deliciousness.
Fruits- It kills us to see delicious ripe fruit go bad. Here’s a few ways we’ll save it and help it go longer.
- Jam – Our go-to for saving aging berries. Our general ratio is 2:1 of fruit to sugar (2 cups of fruit to 1 cup of sugar). We’ll adjust for sweeter or more tart fruit. Put a few spoons in the freezer and cook the berries and sugar until it develops bit of viscosity. Grab one of the spoons from the freezer, spoon a little jam onto it, then put it back in the freezer for a few minutes to cool and you’ll be able to tell how thick the jam is. To pectin or not to pectin, that is the question. We almost never do, opting to just fridge or freezer jams and preferring if they are a little loose. For us it seems simpler and perfectly delicious.
- Pie Filling – Search & make a pie filling recipe for your leftover fruit & have it at the ready next time you are craving a pie. Of just go crazy and make a pie for right now. Life is short, eat dessert first!
- Banana Bread/Banana Cake/Muffins– the riper the bananas the better. Any extra loaves, cake or muffins also keep well in the freezer. Just wrap up well and freeze for another day.
- Add a some banana slices or berries to your pancakes. We all know it’s delicious, sometimes we just forget about doing it.
Veggies- Fresh veggies are the best, until they aren’t fresh anymore. Let’s put ’em to good use. Here’s a few ideas.
- Use up more perishable first (lettuces & leafy greens, cucumber, etc.) – Some veggies just don’t last well. Eat ’em now, & go for the firmer veggies later.
- Prep & Freeze – Cut down broccoli, cauliflower & other firmer veggies so they’ll be quick to throw into a meal. If you are gong to freeze them, quickly blanch the veggies (briefly cook them in boiling water, drain, and cool- preferably in an ice bath to quickly stop the cooking), before freezing.
- Pickling & Fermenting – Bread & Butter Pickles, KimChi, Sauerkraut etc. These foods have been made for centuries & are the prefect way to keep some of those veggies delicious & lasting. Don’t be afraid to pickle beyond the cucumber. Pickled cauliflower, green beans, onions, chilies, sugar snap peas, eggplant, etc. There are so many veggies that are amazing pickled and fermented.
- Kale chips – Perfect snack & great way to make kale last a long time – or at least until you devour it.
- Pot Pies – Same use & reasoning as with the meats above. The perfect catch all dish.
- Stir Frys – See Meats & Seafoods above. Go all veggie or add your favorite proteins.
- Fried Rice – See Meats & Seafoods above. Go all veggie or add your favorite proteins.
- Cauliflower “Fried Rice”-. Mince up that cauliflower & make a healthy & delicious “fried rice” using the cauliflower in place of traditional rice. Veggies all day every day!
- Zucchini – Beyond “regular” zucchini recipes (which can be quite delicious – Grilled Garlic Zucchini is awesome) – zucchini is a great substitute for other dishes. Zucchini noodles instead of pasta. Zucchini tortillas. All so good.
Breads- You’ve scored those precious loaves. Now let’s make ’em last.
- Freeze to Keep “fresh” – freeze your breads! If you have more fresh loaves than you can handle right now, wrap up and freeze the extra loaves for later.
- Croutons & Breadcrumbs – perfect snacks and salad toppers. Basic croutons – Cut the bread into cubes and bake at 375°F for about 15 minutes or until golden and dried (time will depend on bread moisture level, size of croutons). If you want, season them up with butter/oil, garlic, dried herbs, salt & pepper. Go plain or go bold. If you want breadcrumbs, take those croutons & grind ’em up in a food processor (best choice), blender, or crush in a mortar/pestle.
- Bread Puddings – Day old bread’s best revitalization and a great way to re-use bread for a sweet treat. Try this easy chocolate chip bread pudding.