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. 

Every Day

Zero Waste Meal Planning

This is something that I have gotten very passionate about. I try to never waste one morsel of food. Can I do it all of the time? Sometimes, something gets away from me but not recently.  

Every night after dinner, I decide what we will eat the next day. It all comes from my stockpile of food that we have in the house. That is how I plan. I pull our menu from ingredients on hand. I rarely plan a menu and then go and buy those ingredients. The way I do it let’s us eat at rock bottom prices because I buy meat and other ingredients in bulk when they are at their lowest prices. Now that I have my Butterball turkey for Thanksgiving, my concentration will be on Shady Brook & Top’s turkeys this month because I will never get meat cheaper than $.48 a lb.

I start my meal planning by looking at what food we have in the fridge because that is the most perishable food. Produce can get overripe if you don’t keep track of it. I want to make sure that our produce $’s are not being wasted. For dinner, West requested grilled chicken that he could dip in honey mustard sauce. That is a staple that I keep for him in our fridge. He also wanted French Fries which will come from our freezer stash. I will make a salad using a leftover half a bag of lettuce, cucumbers, an orange pepper, some onion, and homemade teriyaki dressing that Hubby made for our teriyaki chicken salads last night. I will put some grapes that have the stems removed and have been washed in a bowl for anyone who would like fruit.  

Milk can go bad especially since we are not big milk drinkers. Now that Hubby is on my diet, I won’t be buying as much milk because he no longer eats cereal. However, when I see that milk is getting old, we make SF puddings to use it up. I have also thought about freezing it in smaller portions and just pulling out a little when we need it for something. 

For breakfast, I pulled leftover apple cinnamon waffles(first picture) that Hubby made from the freezer. I made scrambled eggs, some bacon(pulled from the freezer), and sausage. West, who is the only one who ate waffles(he demolished most of them), used pure maple syrup from our fridge on them. 

While I was pulling those things, I spotted the open jar of sauerkraut. I love eating a little of this just plain with my lunch.

I was thawing some shaved beef from the freezer and decided that it was not enough for those who might want lunch. So in this picture, you will see that I thawed another baggie of shaved beef to give me enough for West and I. Hubby doesn’t want lunch today. 

After the chicken is thawed for dinner, I will cut it in half lengthwise to make thinner cutlets which lets me portion control easier. After the three of us eat, there will probably be a little leftover to put on a salad in the next couple of days.

Tonight, I will go through this process all over again to make the meals for tomorrow. I always try to incorporate produce and leftovers into our meals first. Then I pull things from the freezer.

A recent article said that Americans throw out 40% of the food they buy. YIKES!  I can’t even imagine doing that. I would not want to throw my money away like that. Instead of spending the time to shop and throw it away, you might as well just burn it. That is essentially what you are doing.

This method keeps your food bills down and gives you extra money to spend on something else or to save for something you want or need. 

Do you menu plan from your ingredients?