By: Jessica DePasquale
I love grocery shopping. I always have! Going to a local farmers market or even the grocery store, seeing all the yummy options, and choosing my favorites is always so fun. But sometimes I’m guilty of buying something I don’t need. For example, last week I bought a 10 pound bag of potatoes even though my husband was going out of town. How am I supposed to go through 10 pounds of potatoes by myself? This happens a lot. We don’t drink the entire carton of milk, we forget about the bell peppers we bought until they’ve gone bad, or our avocados ripen too quickly.
Food waste is a huge problem. A recent study* shows that the average person wastes a pound of food a day!
When I was stuck with 10 pounds of potatoes, I was worried I’d end up wasting most of it. I know I’m not the only one who has a bunch of random food in the fridge that’s about to go to waste! So I did some research into easy recipes and created a list of some meals to make that will help you use up all those leftover foods!
This is what I did with the potatoes! I googled a recipe for potato soup, made a batch for dinner, and froze the rest. It was so good; I think it’ll be a new go-to meal! But soups are so easy to make and there are so many different types of soup! Whatever leftover vegetables (carrots, onions, potatoes) or extra proteins (beans, chicken) - just google the type of soup you want to make and adjust the ingredients to be what you have on hand. Soups are so easy to change up. No onions? Use onion powder or garlic. No celery? Use carrots for a little crunch! Most soups freeze very well, which helps limit your waste even more!
I never made a quiche until a few days ago when we had friends over for breakfast. I searched so many recipes and found the common denominators. 6 eggs, 1 cup milk, 1 cup cheese, and 1 or 2 cups of extras. These extras can be vegetables (I did green peppers and mushrooms!) or meats or potatoes. I love how easy it is because you can use any cheese, any vegetables, and any meat! You could put this into a crust but even easier, make it crust-less (gluten free!). I cooked it on 350 for 45 minutes, but just make sure it’s set in the middle.
This is my favorite thing to do with extra fruit! Berries, peaches, apples, plums, cherries - all make great cobblers and a lot of them taste great together (peaches and strawberries are my favorite combination!). I just mix together oats, brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon then sprinkle on top of the fruit. Bake at 350 until the cobbler is crispy on top. I freeze extra fruit throughout the months and then whenever I need a dessert, I make this quick. It’s so easy!
This is a super easy meal to make, especially when you have company. If you don’t have tortillas, use corn chips or even rice for the base of a burrito bowl. One time I used extra potatoes (why do I always have extra potatoes?) as french fries and put all the taco toppings on top! There are so many options - anything you have available! Chicken, beef, tofu, or even pulled pork. Mushrooms, peppers, onions, lettuce, corn, or. tomatoes. Cheese, guacamole, or any spicy sauces you have in the fridge! This is the ultimate meal to use up random food you have!
Another idea is to give away some food! Share that extra produce with neighbors or family. It’s awkward at first to ask if someone wants 5 pounds of potatoes or a carton of strawberries, but they’re getting free food out of it, and it may encourage them to start being more conscious of their own food waste.
Keep shopping smart, freezing food, and doing your best to limit food waste.
You can read more on the topic here!