I’m trying to avoid wasting so much food (also saves money). The Kitchen Counter Cooking School has a chapter on leftovers (“Waste Not, Want Not”). Here are my favorite tips:
Throw unused extra veggies and toppings onto a premade flatbread. Crack an egg on top, stick in the toaster oven. Make sure to use a spatula to get it off, the egg can seep through to the pan.
You can also do this with tortillas and add salsa for a slightly different twist.
Topping Ideas: Caramelized onions, olive oil, leftover greens, avocado, pear, fresh herbs (or pesto), cheese, etc.
2. Fresh Herbs
Make a pesto with leftovers. That way I don’t have to feel guilty about buying them, because I never use them up in time. Then, freeze the pesto if you don’t use it up quickly.
Caramelized Onions (note that you can make a big batch at freeze these!) and leftover veggies, throw in a pot with some broth, let it simmer for at least an hour. Could add a cooked grain at the end for complete the meal.
4. End of Condiment Jars
Using the last drops of mustard, olive oil, vinegar jars, make a salad dressing in the jar using the leftovers (1 part acid to three parts oil).
5. Weekly Grocery Trips
Only buy what you’ll eat in a week. If buying for one, don’t buy that giant bag of oranges, you won’t eat them all! For me, cooking a 3-4 portion meal twice a week gives me dinner plus a couple of lunches per recipe. Then, I can use leftovers for the remaining dinners.
6. Write Down What You Throw Out
Do this for a week and see what happens. This does double duty. You know what you tend to waste the most, and it makes you think twice about doing it. Then, adjust your shopping accordingly.
7. Make a Triage Box
In the fridge, throw everything in a box that you need to use up (sauces, veggies, fruit, etc), then do it!
8. Extra Prep
Not using all of those veggies for your current recipe? Prep them all and save the prepped veggies in the triage box. You’re more likely to use them if they’re visible and ready to use.
9. Freeze Broth Ingredients
Extra celery, a few slices of onion, herbs, etc? PLace them in a box in the freezer to make broth with laer.
Food I’ve wasted, past two weeks:
Some basil leaves that went bad before I made pesto
Remnants of soup from lunch
Chives that went bad (they were kind of duds to begin with, not much flavor)
Remnants of polenta from lunch
This week (Feb 2-8)
Slice of week old pizza (I was sent home with all of the leftovers from a dinner one night, couldn’t quite finish them all)
Failed pound cake cupcakes