How Do I Use Everything in My Fridge

Updated on April 15, 2022

You’re not alone if you find yourself tossing out rotting berries, stale bread, and wilted lettuce.

Food waste in the United States is estimated to constitute between 30 percent and 40 percent of the country’s total food supply each year, according to the USDA. Besides hurting our finances, this implies that we’re dumping food in landfills unnecessarily.

It’s possible to use up all the strange ingredients you discover in your kitchen with a little bit of planning. We sought out the finest advice from the experts on how to get the most out of what you have in your fridge and pantry.

A home cooking expert and producer of the A&E culinary show “Scraps,” Clare Langan, advocates organising meals by theme rather than following specific recipes when it comes to using up leftovers from your fridge.

Aim to plan out your meals for the next few days based on what you have on hand each week or a few times a week, according to Langan. This time of year, it’s unreasonable to assume you have all the ingredients you need to make a specific dish. I’d suggest a more flexible approach, such as Meatless Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, and Pasta Sundays, rather than a strict one. If you have a hard time determining what to cook and wind up wasting food, planning and shopping with a little thought can assist. In addition, theme nights add a particular touch to the dining experience.

Tacos are a terrific way to use up leftover ingredients from your fridge, according to head chef Adam Stevenson of Seattle’s Cedarbrook Lodge’s Copperleaf Restaurant.

The nutrition and crunchiest texture come from using a variety of raw veggies as toppings on tacos, he says. “Kale, cabbage, carrots, and radish are some of our favourite vegetables. Add a wonderful crunch to the tacos by tossing them with apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and lemon juice,”

Incorporate Leftovers Into Your Meal Plan

Leftovers are one of Stevenson’s favourite things to eat while he is at home. “We see this as an opportunity to create something even better. Tacos can be made with the leftovers of a roasted or smoked chicken, for example. Great broth may be made from carcasses. There is pho, which comes to mind. It goes well with the rest of the pork roast you had for dinner the night before. Soups and pasta meals both benefit from the same broth.”

Cooking grains like rice or quinoa, or simmering dry or canned beans, are some of Langan’s favourite ways to use up leftover broth or stock. The answer to making canned beans taste like they were made from scratch, according to her, is to use this method.

Langan calls pizzas, vegetable soups, grain bowls, tacos, frittatas and grilled cheese sandwiches “use-it-up meals” and recommends using them as blank slates to fill up with all the leftovers and random items from your fridge.

Master The ‘Fridge Dive Frittata’

Langan recommends clearing up your fridge before going shopping. “Make a Fridge Dive Frittata once a week before you head to the grocery shop. Add whatever vegetables you have on hand—the rest of an onion, some wilted spinach, or the last few frozen peas—to an oven-safe skillet to cook. Any leftover food from your fridge can be added into a small to medium-sized pan of whisked eggs. For cheese and herbs, look no farther than this establishment. To achieve a set consistency, bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 40 minutes. You can have this at any time of day, but it’s especially delicious for breakfast.”

Don’t Throw Away Your Stems

Stevenson takes great exception to the fact that you toss out the scraps of your vegetables. “Using the whole vegetable is one method to get more out of your vegetables and preserve them,” he explains. “Broccoli and romaine stems and stalks are among my favourite foods.” Pickled, roasted, or simply cooked, these are delicious. No excuse should be given for removing them because this is where the flavour and nutrition are. Here are five creative ways to use the stems of broccoli.

Save Your Stale Bread

Stale bread can be frozen until you’re ready to consume it, despite the temptation to toss it away.

Langan has a lot of great advice on how to do this. “Panzanella, or bread salad, is another go-to dish for a variety of things. Bite-sized chunks of fresh or old bread can be toasted in the oven. Prepared veggies, cheese, herbs, or cooked protein or beans go well with your preferred vinaigrette. If you don’t have fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella, use what you have! For a Greek-inspired flavour, I like to include cucumber, dill, feta, and red onion.” More panzanella salad recipes can be found by clicking here.

To produce a crispy topping for pasta, salad, and soups, she recommends pulverising leftover bread into crumbs and toasting them in a skillet with olive oil, garlic, and herbs.

Get Creative With Fruit And Berries

Anyone who has ever bought a banana can attest to the limited shelf life of many items, especially fruits and berries.

According to Langan, a lot of old baking recipes were developed to use up fruit before it expired. Fruits such as apples and pears can be used in a variety of ways, including crumbles, crisps, buckles, and pandowdy. It is possible to make a quick compote out of about-to-turn fruit with sugar, honey, or maple syrup in a saucepan by simmering it until it thickens.”

How to stock your fridge with healthy snacks

Eggs. Buying organic and pasture-raised eggs is one thing I always do to ensure that the chickens were free to move around and eat food that was genuinely beneficial to them. The bright yellow yolks make the eggs taste even better. Makes an enormous difference.

One of my favourite weekday lunches is to soft-boil an egg, smash it with avocado, and top it with sliced tomato and everything bagel seasoning (of course!). Also, I know that I can whip together a frittata for dinner with just eggs and a few vegetables left in my fridge.

Cut up veggies. So that when my kids start complaining that they’re hungry five minutes after we’ve finished our meal, I can send them directly to the fridge to get some precut carrots, celery, and cucumbers. When I’m on the go, I have hummus or guacamole on hand so that I can grab something healthy and enjoyable when I’m short on time.

My dishwasher’s top drawer is perfect for washing these deli-style containers, which allow me to see what I have on hand and keep it all neatly arranged.

Berries Blueberries and raspberries are staples in my diet, whether they’re in yoghurt, smoothies, or eaten plain. You can’t go wrong with this sweet treat from nature, and you’ll be glad you did.

Apples and clementinesFor the sake of my children, I always have a supply of them in the house.

Yogurt But when it comes to yoghurt, I’m picky. It’s impossible for me to live without plain Greek full-fat yoghurt. If you’re looking for a creamier, more satisfying breakfast, this is it. I have it for breakfast with berries and almonds every morning..

Cottage cheese In the same way that I enjoy plain, full-fat cottage cheese, I prefer to eat it this way: Then, I’ll top it with a few apple slices, honey, and sea salt for a healthy snack that’s high in fibre and protein. I eat it all the time and say it’s the strangest and best thing I’ve ever had.

Leftovers on the bottom

I keep our leftovers in this bottom drawer because, let’s face it, they’re not always the prettiest things to look at. To avoid contaminating goods on higher shelves, store anything that could spill or dribble in the bottom of your refrigerator.

We’ve got some grilled chicken from Fresa’s that I’ll probably shred up and use in a broth or salad right now. One of the things I have on hand is a half-avocado—I cover one side in plastic wrap, and when the other side begins to turn brown, I just cut it in half.

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