This is the journal I am keeping about our “health(ier) eating boot camp.” Feel free to read along!
Thursday, July 10
Remember all of the leftover food from last week that I needed to use up? Well, I’m still working on it, but I’ve been able to use up a lot so far! I actually never made a meal plan for this week (even though I kept saying I was going to), because I’ve had so many things to choose from right in my own fridge/pantry. That’s not to say that I haven’t been grocery shopping. I’ve needed milk, eggs, and bread, and have picked up other things to go along with what I have at home. But I still feel pretty good about my efforts to not throw food away. So, I thought that today I would share what I’ve done so far to use up what I have. (You may notice that some of these ideas are very similar to my commenter’s suggestions…yup, I took the liberty to use some of their great ideas!).
Sweet potatoes: I made sweet potato cakes for lunch one day. This time I coated them in panko bread crumbs before pan-frying and they were really good!
One serving of baked beans: For lunch on a different day, I pulled a bunch of leftover stuff out of the fridge and gave everyone what I thought they would like. I split the baked beans between the kids.
Cantaloupe/Watermelon: We just cut it and ate, of course! It took about 4 -5 days to finish off both, but we did it! My girls helped a lot. I let them have as much as they wanted and they happily ate several slices each time it was served!
Over-ripe bananas: I added these to some whole wheat pancakes.
Limes: I squeezed the juice and added it to a fruit smoothie
Potatoes: I added them to the crockpot when I made roast beef on Sunday. I also made oven-roasted potatoes using the recipe on the back of Lipton Onion Soup mix. These were especially a big hit with my son!
Lettuce: I just kept using it for salad until it was all gone. My kids did get a little tired of salad, though.
Spinach: Initially this was added to the salad, but after awhile it started looking too old, so I threw the rest of it out (in the compost pile).
Shredded cabbage: I sauteed some of it with slices of deli-ham and served it with lunch one day. This did not go over well with the kids, and I still have some left. I’ll either cook it for myself or throw it out if it gets too old.
Onions/bell peppers: I chopped up the oldest of these and put them in a plastic bag in the freezer for soup or something later. I still have 3 onions and 1 orange bell pepper, but I cook with these all the time, so they won’t be a problem to use up. They could be good in omelets or stir-fry.
Green onions: I added some of these as a garnish to the “egg drop soup” that I made to go with “chinese fried rice” for dinner. I still have some left.
Radishes: Who knew that you can saute radishes? I didn’t until my sister suggested adding them to “chinese fried rice!” I got curious and “googled” it just to make sure, and found out that you can! I did make the fried rice, and added them to it. I have some left and will probably saute them to eat them on their own.
Carrots: I also added some of these to the “fried rice” (as well as a few bell peppers and onions). Some were really old, so I threw those out. And I still have some left! I’m thinking of making the “oven-roasted potatoes” again, and roasting some carrots right along with them!
Tomatoes: I peeled them, chopped them up in a mini-food processor, and added them to some Ragu sauce. This made the sauce a little watery, so I added some flour and it thickened back up. Unfortunately, my kids noticed the change in flavor, so they didn’t want to eat their spaghetti, but I still think it’s a good idea. I would do it again, because it really stretches the sauce and can be a good use for future tomatoes coming out of the garden.
Zucchini: I used it this morning to make zucchini bread/muffins. We ate some for breakfast and have some more for later. This was a giant zucchini, so I was able to make a lot of bread/muffins from it!
Banana peppers: Some were used in salads and on sandwiches, but I’ve realized that I don’t really like them very well, unless they are the pickled kind you buy at the store. No one else seems to want them either. Maybe I would like them better roasted? Next year I don’t think we should grow them.
Flour & corn tortillas: I never used any of these either! Maybe I can freeze some, and I guess it’s time to make some burritos.
This is a lot of food when you list it out like this! Seriously, this has been the “week of leftovers.” I make one dish with the purpose of using leftover produce, and then that dish produces more leftovers. So just about every meal (that has been eaten at home) has been prepared with the idea of using up something.
But I am starting to run out so I really ought to sit down and make another menu and shopping list….
What is your favorite way to handle left-overs? Do you serve them again for lunch or dinner, freeze/save them for later, or something else?