I love leftovers! I love making a new meals or baked goods out of food that was left from the night before, or even from fruit that we just didn’t get around to eating. I love the idea of being creative with my cooking while at the same time reusing my leftovers! It’s a win-win situation — food doesn’t go to waste and end up in my GreenCart.
Bananas are a popular snack in my house, but for some reason I always end up with one that turns too fast or that just gets forgotten about. In that case, my grandmother’s Banana Bread recipe is the best. My co-workers love it when I bring in my Banana Bread as a treat for the day.
½ cup margarine creamed with ½ cup of sugar; add 2 eggs, 4 tbsp of milk and ½ tsp of vanilla. Mix in 2 mashed bananas. Add 2 cups of flour, ¾ tsp baking soda and ½ tsp of salt. Mix well and pour in to a greased loaf pan. Bake at 325 for 1 hour.
One of my mom’s favourite holidays is Easter and my mom always buys ham on the bone and makes her famous Baked Beans…yummy I can taste them now!
1 lb white beans washed. Soak beans overnight. Drain. Boil Beans for 1 hour with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp of club soda with ham on the bone or pork hock – don’t drain. Put beans in casserole dish with ½ tsp of dry mustard, ½ cup of brown sugar, 2 tbsp of molasses, ½ cup of ketchup and ½ cup of onions. Cover and bake at 275 for 2 hours. Uncover for the last hour.
Leftovers are quite the topic of conversation with one of my neighbours, Lynn. She recycles all of her leftovers — even her egg yolks! When making recipes that only use egg whites, she carefully places the leftover egg yolks in the freezer to be reused at a later date. It’s her quest to reduce and reuse as much as possible and place less in her GreenCart. Her biggest leftover recycling is done with turkey, chicken or roast beef. She places individual portions of meat in the freezer to be used at a later date for sandwiches, salads or in puff pastries. Gravy is placed in ice cube trays to also be used in puff pastries or on sandwiches at a later date.
Place a layer of leftover vegetables on the bottom of a baking dish, then place a layer of chopped chicken, turkey or beef. Place a layer of broccoli on top of the meat, and then mix a can of cream of chicken soup with a few tablespoons of mayonnaise and spread over the dish. Top with some bread crumbs (made from leftover bread) and some cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
Our dogs even take part
Our family has two small dogs that eat muffins that I make from a dry mix called Canine Life. I puree and freeze my leftover carrots, broccoli, green beans and apples in ½ cup portion sizes to be used in making their food, so in some small way even the dogs are using leftovers.
Here are some of my other food leftover recycling tips:
- Stale, dry bread can be pureed to make bread crumbs for breaded chicken strips , Chicken Parmesan, or on top of casseroles. I add spices to make my own version of Italian breadcrumbs.
- Stale bread can also be cut in to cubes and sautéed with butter and spices to make homemade croutons.
- Puree and freeze fruits like apples, peaches and pears for children’s snacks. There’s no need to purchase fruit cups in single use plastic cups which end up as garbage.
- Puree and freeze berries for pouring over desserts like ice cream or angel food cake.
- Puree and freeze leftover vegetables to use in spaghetti or pizza sauces for extra nutritional value and taste.
- Throw blueberries into the freezer to be added to muffin or cake recipes. The trick is to freeze in ice-cube trays and then transfer to freezer bags for great portion sizes.
I love hearing new ideas and recipes for using leftovers. I would love to hear how you and your family try to reduce the food waste in your kitchen. Let me know some of your great ideas.