Friday, March 7, 2008

Waste Not!

I have a confession. We have been a wasteful family at times when it comes to food, but once again, the Lord is teaching me in this area and showing me how to not be so wasteful. I'm going to give examples from the past couple of weeks showing what normally would have happened and what actually did happen. Believe me, I didn't come up with this realization on my own because none of these were intentional.

#1 - A few weeks ago we had Northern Beans with Mexican cornbread, baked sweet potatoes, and baked macaroni. Everything was eaten except for the beans.

Normally, these beans would have sat in the refrigerator for a week or two and then would have gone in the trash.

But what actually happened was... I used the beans to make white chicken chili the following week, which we were able to eat for a supper meal and a lunch meal the following day!

#2 - Tuesday evening, I made vegetable/beef lasagna and made a huge salad to go with it with bell peppers, onions, celery, carrots, and zucchini. All the lettuce was gone, but I had a lot of the raw vegs left over.

Normally, I would have thrown all this in the trash thinking that it would be ruined before I was able to get back to the store and buy lettuce to go with it.

But what actually happened was... I saved the vegetables for the next night. I had some brown rice and some boneless chicken, so I cooked up a little stir fry for supper! My vegs were already chopped, so it didn't take long at all to fix this meal.

#3 - When I make homemade bread, I immediately slice it up when it's finished cooking.

Normally, I throw the hard-crust end pieces in the trash or give the birds a treat if it's not raining.

But what actually happened this time is... I am drying out the pieces and then using them for homemade bread crumbs!

#4 - My husband loves pimento cheese sandwiches, and that is normally what he takes for lunch every day. I decided this week to try to make it homemade instead of buying the pre-made stuff at the store with all the unneeded extra ingredients. But, (and this sounds just like me), I bought everything to make it except for pimentos!

Normally, I would have given up on the whole idea and told him to eat out until I made it back to the store (I did sort of give up on Tuesday and sneaked a turkey sandwich in his lunchbox.)

But what actually happened was... After giving it some thought, I realized I had a jar of olives in the fridge. For a few seconds, I contemplated squeezing the pimentos out of the olives - yeah, right - but then I realized that he really loves olives. Olives and pimentos obviously go well together, so I threw a handful of olives stuffed with pimentos in the mixture, and it actually tasted pretty good!

I know some of this is "no brainer" stuff, but either I've been too lazy in the past or just really didn't give much thought to what I was doing. Like I said, this really wasn't my doing as, for instance, stir fry was not on my supper list this week. With a little thought and help from Above, I'm hopeful I can continue to come up with meals that can work together and alleviate waste. (I also realize I should utilize my freezer more and put things in there that are left over that I don't have an immediate use for.) The lesson to be learned here is to never throw good food in the trash without thinking first if there is something else it can be used for, and if you're cooking and realize you're missing an ingredient, see if there is something you can use in its place. There are many alternatives for certain ingredients that work just as well as the originals.


Melonie said...

GREAT post!!! :-) I'm still working on this myself - but at least I've gotten to where I not only immediately store leftovers in the freezer, I purposely "cook big" so I have enough for freezer meals.

Great work!

Rhonda said...

Thanks, Melonie!

S.B. said...

I've got a picky eater - my husband. He isn't a big fan of leftovers. Because of that, I just try to cook smaller portions.