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Waste not, want not...

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In light of the great threads on Recession recipes, I'm hoping for some other suggestions. We all know about obvious creative culinary uses for leftovers or things past their prime. I'm thinking of bread pudding, rice pudding, croutons, bread crumbs, applesauce from trimmed bruised apples, bones/scraps for stock, etc. These are ways to give food items a second life.

I'm not talking about using spoiled food, just looking for some 'Hound ideas or experience with how to keep the budget tight and avoid food waste. I''d love to hear your suggestions!

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  1. Someone recently had a post going about uses for parts of food that people generally throw out. Maybe someone knows which post that was, I couldn't find it quickly. If well washed, many things that people often peel (carrots, potatoes, winter squash, etc) , don't really need to be peeled. Better of course if they're organically grown. Pulp from carrot juice works well in various carrot bread, carrot cake, or carrot cookie recipes. Trimmed leaves from cauliflower can be eaten, just cook in with whatever the cauliflower is in, though for a shorter amount of time.

    1 Reply
    1. re: lgss

      Your mention of carrot cake reminded me that if I have bananas that are getting to old to eat (hate them mushy) I throw them in a freezer in a ziploc until I have a few then make banana bread with them. Just did it today in fact and it is really good! I had an about 1/3 of an old bag of butterscotch chips and some walnuts so tossed those in and yum...the butterscotch chips fell to the bottom and kind of carmelized. It was delicious.

    2. A large roasting chicken can make many meals after the bird is carved.
      1st night-chicken etc..
      2nd night-chicken and biscuits
      3rd night-mushroom risotto using stock made from the roasted carcass
      4th night-fried risotto balls (leftover from previous night) to accompany etc.

      I've done this many times with the family. It is a challenge that I find fun.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Lenox637

        don't forget chicken enchildas... chicken salad on a bed of greens.... soup, soup and more soup

        1. re: Lenox637

          I do pretty much the same with lamb shanks.

        2. I think the thread lgss is thinking of is: under-used treasure or garbage? what ingredient do you think people are wasting? http://www.chowhound.com/topics/495972

          1 Reply
          1. re: maplesugar

            Thank you! I don't know how I'd missed that thread. There are some wonderful ideas on there.

            I also have a stash of frozen bananas. But in addition to banana bread, I use many of them for whole wheat banana pancakes -- wonderful as they are OR gilded with chocolate chips, berries, and/or toasted walnuts! They also work as additions to fruit smoothies -- adding some cold and thickening with less ice.

          2. This weekend I simmered a large ham for ham sandwiches on Saturday for lunch. Took the simmered ham, glazed it and baked it off for Sunday dinner. Tonight if I have time we will have ham and scalloped potatoes, otherwise tomorow night. Probably Wednesday we will finish off the ham as ham and eggs for dinner. Not to mention the ham bone went in the freezer for a future soup.

            Not bad for one ham.

            4 Replies
            1. re: swsidejim

              "Not to mention the ham bone went in the freezer for a future soup."

              Beans? Corn Chowder? Details man, inquiring minds....

              1. re: swsidejim

                I love ham for this reason. So many different meals from one piece of meat. I always buy a bone-in shank and have the butcher cut off a couple of nice steaks, and save those in the freezer to fry up for dinner at a later time with green and potatoes. Then we bake the ham and serve with scalloped potatoes. I take the leftovers from that and dice some for ham and beans (much like the Senate soup recipe but I always add celery leaves) and grind the rest for ham salad sandwiches. Then I use the diced ham and ham bone the next night for the ham and beans, which lasts a couple of nights (we always make this on New Years Day for good luck). My waistline can't handle this very often though!

                1. re: MrsCheese

                  Don't forget sliced ham and swiss sandwiches too, and ham and eggs for breakfast. I made so many hams recently that I tried making red eye ham for the first time and we love it. I also save the little bits to throw in Mexican or Chinese rice dishes. The grand finale is usually split pea soup.

              2. we always save the carcass of our birds (mainly chickens and cornish hens). the skin, bones, cartilage, etc go towards making stock.

                along with that, we often save our onion ends/skins, carrot/celery ends, garlic peels (if we're peeling a lot of garlic at once), etc, to add to the stock.

                same with shrimp - we save all the shells for stock.

                we store all this stuff in ziplocs in the freezer until we're ready to make stock.

                someone else mentioned ham as well. my husband smoked a 10lb ham last week. as it's just the 2 of us, that left a lot of leftover ham. we had some sandwiches, i made ham salad, and i'm going to do a mac n cheese with ham. we saved the bone for soup or beans or greens.

                the rinds of parmesan cheese work nicely in sauces - they help thicken.

                we do a pretty good job of not wasting veg. when we see something getting close to its end, we plan our menu based on that instead of protein. "what's for dinner tonight?" "i don't know, but we're having green beans on the side..."

                and we NEVER waste bacon fat. :)

                2 Replies
                1. re: mrsjenpeters

                  Great ideas. I also have frozen all of the skins from vegis, carcasses, ect.. but find I forget they are in the freezer and find them much later look worse for wear. Any tricks on how to remember they are in there.

                  Also, how do you keep your bacon fat? Freezer? or how long does it last in the fridge? I have never been sure.

                  1. re: jodymaryk

                    we have 3 freezers, that helps - everything has its own place haha. :) chest freezer in the basement, normal fridge/freezer combo on the 2ndary fridge in the basement, and your normal freezer on our fridge in the kitchen. it's a bottom freezer and has a little slide out top drawer where we generally keep these goodies. either way, i think it helps to keep them in clear ziplocs, labeled properly, and store these kinds of things in the same spot. that way it's easy to see when you've got enough to be used - dh will go to toss a chicken carcass in the freezer and see we have 2 already, and make stock the next day. no pop up reminders, but it works for us.

                    we keep our bacon fat in a jar in the fridge. i'm not 100% sure how long it lasts in the fridge - i've heard conflicting stories (6 weeks, 3 months, indefinitely). store bought manteca lasts forever so i have to think it'd last a pretty good while. we've never had a problem with it smelling funny or going bad, to my knowledge. makes the world's best biscuits.

                    fyi we're using that ham hock tomorrow to make red beans and rice... with homemade smoked polish sausage from my sister's boyfriend. me = excited.