Every Day

Waste Not Want Not

It’s time to look and see what we can use up in the refrigerator. I kind of lost track of what is in there while West was here. 

After saving so much money with the low spend grocery month of August, I do not want to waste any food.

So I am perusing my vegetable drawers(I took all of these pictures yesterday morning). This is what I saw: 

2 eggplants

1 container of diced onions 

1 celery

cherry tomatoes and 1/2 cucumber in the cryovac bag

3 heads of romaine lettuce

1 bag of carrots

1 whole cucumber

1 tomato

Next, I looked in the deli drawer. This is what I found:

3 Land O Frost 100% Natural Peppered Roast Beef

1 pkg. of All Natural Honey Deli Ham

1 pkg. of  Hard Salami

1 pkg. of Prosciutto

3 large Pepperoni Sticks + part of another one

Turkey Snack Sticks

Bags of Colby Jack, Cheddar, Mexican and Mozzarella
Shredded cheeses

Mozzarella, Swiss, Colby Jack, and Provolone Sliced Cheeses 

A Few American Cheese Slices

Parmesan Cheese that I grate

Yancey’s Buffalo Wing Cheese

A Few Monterey Jack Cheese cubes

Then I looked at what leftovers needed to be used up.

Cooked Bacon Strips

Container of Black Olives

Hard Boiled Eggs

Part of a Jar of Ragu spaghetti sauce

Lamb in sauce on top of Rice

Half a jar of Unsweetened Applesauce 

I said to myself, these ALL have to be used up in the days ahead so that nothing goes to waste.

The eggs and bacon will go quickly for brunches. 

The applesauce will be served as a side with meals.

Hubby and I will eat the leftover lamb dish and/or the leftover taco meat from our dinner last night. There is a small amount of each left so they should all be gone after dinner. 

The spaghetti sauce will be used for Hot Italian sausage sandwiches this week. Some of the mozzarella cheese will get used up on those too.

I am not too concerned about the cheeses and deli meats. They have a far out expiration date and will definitely get used for lunches, dinners, and snacks before they expire. The pepperoni keeps forever especially the ones that are not open.

The turkey sticks will get eaten by me when the hunger hits. I then eat one to hold me until the next meal.

The prosciutto will get put in our antipasto salads one night this week for dinner.

We will most likely use up the American cheese in grilled cheese sandwiches for a lunch or brunch. I will not be buying that kind of cheese again when it is gone. It tastes like plastic. I would much rather use the other cheese slices for grilled sandwiches.

I will be sauteing the eggplants for side dishes today. I love them just sliced and cooked in a little butter. I can make a meal out of a few slices. 

Some of the tomatoes, onions, and romaine were put in our taco salads for dinner last night. I also used up the small container of black olives in those. 

I use the celery and carrots for snacks to dip in semi-homemade ranch dressing.  I use the packets. I also use them diced up in stews, soups, and other dishes. They last longer than most vegetables in the fridge.

The cucumbers are sliced for salads and just as a side with a sprinkle of salt. 

A little tip for you. All of our deli meats were purchased in July. When I see a sale, I get them and freeze them. Then when Hubby needs one I thaw it. The roast beef is the exception. It keeps a very long time in the deli drawer because they are sealed well. Once they are open, Hubby does not let them hang around long.  

So it was worth the little bit of time I took to see what we needed to use up this week. I absolutely hate throwing out food that has gone bad. I might as well just throw the money away.  

If I see something that I can freeze before we can use it, I do. For example, on Sunday, I sliced up some strawberries that had been sitting in the fruit drawer. Then I froze them. They will get used in smoothies.

Are you staying on top of your leftovers? I can’t say that I do 100% of the time. But I sure try. Sometimes something gets shoved to the back of the shelf and I miss it until it is too late. 

14 replies on “Waste Not Want Not”

We try & do a good job most of the time. I find that we just need to have fewer options available. We typically cook Friday-Sunday and do leftovers or fill in options the rest of the week. By building the leftovers into the menu plan, it's very unlikely that we will waste anything. It's the cook once, eat twice plan.

We go through a ton of produce, so are typically able to use it all up before it goes bad. Occasionally things slip by, but that's a rarity.

Hi H.P.,

I love that plan. That is usually what we do but sometimes there ends up being more than two meals. So we just keep eating them till they are gone.

Good job on your produce.

Hi AD, this is Chris. We try to do a good job with our leftovers also. Most of the time I cook during the week and hubby likes to take leftovers for lunch, and we usually eat the rest of them on the weekend. I am trying to do better about how much produce I buy. Most weeks, I do great, but we did have a couple weeks where I overbought on grapes and lettuce. Most of the time I try to buy the mark down potatoes, since we don't go through them as fast. Tonight we are having spaghetti meat sauce from the freezer that I made earlier in the summer. I was gone all day so we needed something easy.

Hi Chris,

We have all overbought produce. When my kids left the nest, I had a terrible time gaging what to shop for and how to cook again. Maybe I will get there someday and not have to eat leftovers so many nights in a row.

I have quit buying fresh potatoes. I rarely eat them so a bag goes bad before we can use it all. Since Hubby is the potato eater, I buy canned whole potatoes because he actually loves them especially when I roast them.

I usually do a great job except for lettuce as well. I hate the bagged salads because they go bad in an day, Chris can only have salad every few days because of stomach issues so the 3 pack of romaine usually get half tossed.

Hi Patti,

I am so sorry that he is dealing with stomach issues. I know what that is like. It's horrid. I feel bad for him. Can you buy just one head of romaine there?

Hi AD, I didn't realize you could roast canned potatoes. So good to know. I also try to use up all leftovers. I made corn chowder last week for my lunches. One night I had a small amount of leftover mashed potatoes and peas, so I added it to the corn chowder and it was delicious (plus gave me another serving).

Hi Kathy,

Yes, I do it all the time. I either put them in with a roast or do them in a pan by themselves or with some other veggies. I always rub olive oil all over them and sometimes some spice. Your corn chowder sounds wonderful.

I'm usually pretty good at using up everything and having zero waste. However, the last few weeks I've had ricotta get moldy and had to be tossed, as well as 1/2 of a cottage cheese pie and a few veggies. I don't like that! Maybe it was the hot weather and my inability to eat decent meals. I dunno. But I need to be more proactive and check out my fridge more.

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