This blog was inspired by not only my own desire to “use not misuse’ the food I purchase but also from all the food waste I witnessed in the restaurant industry over the years-from the kitchen to the customer’s refusal of a to-go box.
It is reported that 40% of all prepared food goes to waste and the average family of four wastes approximately $2200 a year- That’s a family vacation!
(Go call a local travel agent and book it now)
I highly recommend the viewing of the documentary, Just Eat It, (I held the Louisiana premiere screening). They have a powerful message about food waste with the scenario “Imagine walking from the grocery store to your car with 4 bags of groceries and just dropping one and leaving it behind”…No one would do that would they? But the numbers of food waste in America state otherwise.
What you WILL find on my blog:
- Ideas to use to help you MAKEOVER your LEFTOVER (and by leftovers, I mean everything, like that bottle of chili sauce that has been sitting in the fridge door)
- A spark of creativity within yourself (hopefully!)
To get started here are some helpful tips to get the most out of your leftovers:
- The FDA recommends that refrigerators be kept at 40*F or below and freezers at 0*F or below for food safety
- DO NOT leave leftovers out at room temperature for longer than 2 hours (or less if typical hot Louisiana day)
- Restaurant Rules: First In, First Out Rule– always rotate groceries, put new items behind older ones and DATE EVERYTHING! This will help you in reducing waste and help take away some doubt on food safety, but remember “WHEN IN DOUBT THROW OUT”
- Use containers, wraps, and bags appropriate for items being stored in freezer (yes, I know freezer bags cost a little more, but they will help save you money in the end)
- Squeeze as much air as possible out of bags and containers before freezing to help prevent freezer burn, and if using a Tupperware container, use smallest possible to hold food, and remember to DATE and LABEL EVERYTHING going into freezer
- Always try to store leftovers separately if you can, for instance, sauce separate from pasta, this will stretch your leftover mile
- Take inventory of your pantry, freezer, and refrigerator regularly, this will save you additional time and money when planning your meals
I like to take inventory weekly when making my grocery list, this helps me not only plan my meals, but also keep an eye on any expiring food I need to use
- Stock your pantry, freezer, and refrigerator with “go to” supplies. These are simple supplies that can magically help transform your leftovers in a hurry
Some of my “go to” supplies are rice, (those microwave ones are great in a pinch, but watch out for the sodium level) cheese, stocks (vegetable, chicken, beef), pasta, frozen vegetables, tortillas, and the most important, wine! (It’s very versatile and if it doesn’t work itself into the dish, it works itself into me!)
* Carry an insulated lunch tote in your car, so there is no excuse not to take home leftovers. (Just ask the restaurant for a cup of ice.)
* Ice cube trays are your best friend. Freeze leftover sauces, herbs in olive oil, or stocks.
What you WILL NOT find on my blog:
- Detailed step by step recipes (remember “To Cook is To Create”) O.K. maybe a few to help you out!!
- Exact amount of ingredients, how do I know how much leftovers you have!? (But I’ll try to come close!)
A wise old saying, “the man who measures life will never know his own measure”
CHALLENGE: Don’t think you have much food waste? For one week keep a separate bag of ALL food waste-peelings, scraps, leftovers thrown away, spoiled food, leftovers from each meal (including what is left on your plate when you leave a restaurant.) At the end of the week, you can SEE all your food waste. They say out of sight means out of mind, but they also say, seeing is believing. How much money is in that one bag of food trash?
*All recipes and ideas have been created, tested, tasted, and not wasted in my kitchen.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org