Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Works for Me Wednesday--Salvaging Left-overs

Don't you just hate to waste food? I do. That's why I save up all those little dabs of food--a spoonful of green peas, a bite of mashed potatoes, a tad of meat loaf. At one time, I save all those little bits, kept them in the refrigerator until they turned green, and then threw them away. Somehow it seemed less wasteful than just chunking them immediately.
Next, I tried eating those last few bites as I cleared the supper table. OOOPS......every bite went straight to my hips and stayed.
And stayed.
Obviously, that was not the best solution.
What to do?
Having parents and in-laws who grew up in the Depression has marked me for life.
Use it up.
Wear it out.
Make it do.
Or do without.
So here is how to use it up, and make it do, without wasting food.
Depending on the size of your family, and the number of teenagers you feed regularly, you will need some kind of freezer container, somewhere between a quart and a gallon capacity.
It needs a lid that seals securely.
Make a space for it in your freezer.
Now, every time there is just a dash, pinch, or smidgin of something left over, throw it in the freezer container.
A few bites of roast.
The last five green beans.
The zucchini you had such good intentions of making into zucchini bread, but never got around to.
Don't ever throw anything away.
Save it all in the freezer container.
When it is full, make soup out of it.
Depending on what kinds of leftovers you have, your mixture may be a little dry. If so, add a can of tomatoes, or tomato sauce. If you haven't put in anything starchy, add a cup of rice, or a couple of potatoes. If you like your soup spicy, add a couple of spoonfuls of salsa.
If it doesn't seem flavorful enough, add some ham base, or chicken base.
If you think it needs more veggies, add a can of mixed vegetables.
If you have plenty of time, make a big iron skillet full of cornbread.
Or serve the soup with crackers or garlic bread, and a fresh salad.
You might even want to top it with a handful of grated cheese.
It turns out different every time, depending on what you've been cooking, but it is always good. However, if there is any left, feed it to the dog.
Once is good.
Twice is better.
But leftover soup is the end.


Nikky said...

mmmm, can you do that with leftover dumplings too???

Susanne said...

I was going to post this for next week! :) My mom in law taught me this. She, too, is a depression era product. She has done this with leftover chinese food and is it ever good!!!

Amy said...

This makes a delicious soup- thanks for the tip!

Sue said...

I'm from the waste not want not era too!
Do you make the soup year round or just in the cooler months?

PastorMac's Ann said...

Yummy! Thanks for the tip. Do you cut up the leftover roast before your freeze it?

Katherine@Raising Five said...

Jan - how I laughed when I read this! My mother his here right now and saving EVERYTHING - but not in the freezer (I think she does this at her house). I don't realize how much I waste until she's here, keeping bits of stuff I would have thrown out. But that's how that generation made it through tough times. I need to learn this!

HolyMama! said...

fantastic idea! my current method is eat it on the way to the kitchen, and you're right. That's just gotta stop!

(sounds like a soup I could even do...)