I have been on a zero food waste challenge for about three months now, and while November and January have been going great, December was more complicated. BF came from Guatemala City with a big shop that he had done a week before so there were lots of apple and grapes (typical to eat around Christmas) that were a bit old already, and having lots of guests, some of them unannounced made meal planning complicated.
Having the hens and the turkey around is great as they love to eat vegetable peels and bones, not technically a waste if unused but it is still a win that allows to save a bit on the corn and bird mix we give them. We are fencing the garden so they can’t go to the neighbor’s land anymore to eat worms and whatever is there.
Following those simple tips, you can reuse and repurpose your leftover, avoid boredom of eating the same and save on groceries.
Bread: You can make delicious pudding from old bread, soaking it in milk, eggs and sugar, then baking it with grapes or apples. French toast also tastes great with dry bread.
Bananas: I freeze my old bananas (peeled, you can’t peel a frozen banana, I did that mistake so you don’t have to). I can throw them in the blender for a morning smoothie or when I have a few I make banana bread.
Citrus: I got a LOT of limes and grapefruits from the ranch. I peeled the grapefruits into small bags and froze them for smoothies and to sprinkle on fruit salads. The lemons and lime I squeezed and froze in ice cubes for a minute ready lemonade.
Apples: Properly stored, they last for months. If they are about to go bad you can blend them and cook them with sugar and cinnamon, then can, or bake an apple crumble.
Tomatoes: I blend the very ripe ones with garlic, one onion and froze those bags of ready made tomato sauce for pasta and stews.
Meat: Before you can freeze meat that is about to go bad, you need to cook it. Shred the meat into a stir fry or dice into a stew, then you can freeze it and keep for months.
Perfect recipes to throw old food
Stews. You can make stews with just about any vegetable that tolerates lengthy cooking. Squash, carrots, potatoes, onions, etc. If you don’t have enough vegetables to make a stew, freeze them in small pieces then throw in the stew.
Soup. Same as the stew. Any vegetable, a blender, and you are done.
Stir fry. Ideal to recycle old rice and old vegetables. And old chicken, or beef. And herbs (mint, coriander, parsley on top when cooked). And virtually anything, chopped thinly.
Eating leftovers for days can be boring. Instead, learn how to creatively reuse the meat, the side or both into a new dish.
Roasted chicken can become chicken soup, chicken enchiladas, chicken salad, fried chicken, and a chicken sandwich to brown bag to the office.
Steak can become tacos, beef noodle, beef stir fry, beef pad thai, and be sliced on top of a salad.
A side of vegetables can be completed with rice or lentils or beans and a bit of ground beef in a stir fry.
Lasaña can be frozen for a lazy day, so can stews (I like to leave the potatoes out, they get watery when they thaw), soups, and casseroles. Label your food properly, and divide it in one meal portions before you freeze it.
How do you repurpose leftovers to avoid getting bored?