Have you ever thought about how much food you throw out in a week? How much of those wouldn’t have gone bad yet? Maybe, a lot.
Did you know that a whopping 40 percent of the food we have in the U.S. only ends up not being eaten? Meanwhile, many countries are grappling with food insecurity up to this day. If you want to take part in the movement to reduce the amount of wasted food, you can start in your humble home.
You can stop being so merciless with this leftover food by transforming them into delicious dishes. Your loved ones won’t even suspect they were made of leftovers. These are incredibly easy to make, all you need you already have in your kitchen. Now, get those spice bottles shaking and whip out those kitchen tools and try these recipes:
Combine spices like red pepper flakes, garlic (minced or powder), and chopped ginger, three-quarters of a teaspoon each, into a bowl. Add in 3 tablespoons of cornstarch and soy sauce and a cup and a half of chicken broth and mix well. Chop your leftover chicken into tiny cubes and set these aside.
Heat up about a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a wok, unload a pack of frozen vegetables of your choice (already defrosted, of course), and saute. Now, add the sauce you prepared and bring the mixture to a boil and continue stirring until the sauce has thickened. Toss in your chopped chicken. Season more to your liking and sprinkle some sesame seeds before turning the heat off.
Rotisserie chicken can still be just as good a day later as when you bought it from the mart. Start by brushing olive oil onto several bread slices on a baking sheet, then cook them to a crispy brown. Spread honey mustard on one slice and pulled rotisserie chicken topped with shredded Gouda, cheddar, or cantal cheese on the other. Then, pop the slices back into the oven until the cheese melts beautifully on top of the chicken.
Layer on lettuce, tomato slices, or pickles if you want. Then, put the sandwich together before serving. You can follow the same recipe for leftover roasted turkey. There goes your perfect afternoon snack!
You will need at least a day-old rice (preferably the Jasmine type) that’s all dry and separated for this recipe. Start by finely chopping 4 cloves of garlic and dicing 2 shallots or red onion. Also, chop 2 green onions, making sure to separate some of their greener parts for garnish later. You can also chop up some chilies if you want your fried rice to be spicy.
Pour some vegetable oil into your wok. Heat it, add in your chopped garlic, then toast. Add your diced shallots or red onions, green onions, and chilies, and stir-fry in medium-high heat for about 3 minutes. Beat an egg in a small bowl before pouring it into the wok. Incorporate the egg into the mixture and sprinkle salt.
Now, add in your cooked rice and stir for 3 minutes. Season the fried rice with white pepper powder. Sprinkle chopped green onions on top, then serve.
Leftover vegetables like roasted mushrooms and paprika and almost overripe ones like tomatoes and carrots could make for savory omelets. Simply chop these veggies up into small cubes so that they can easily be mixed into your scrambled eggs, season with salt and pepper, and continue stirring until the mixture turns fluffy and beautifully glossed with oil. Serve with some bread and your morning coffee, and feel like you’re having breakfast in the hotel.
Vegetables are more versatile than you think so think before throwing them out just because you forgot to cook them for their intended dishes. Puree leftover corn kernels, butternut squash, pumpkin, zucchini, cauliflower, and broccoli using a high-quality commercial immersion blender with a good grip, then you’re one step away from having a hearty soup.
Place your blended mixture into a saucepan. Slowly bring it to a boil while seasoning it with your preferred spices. You can even enrich the flavor by adding cream or your milk of choice (e.g. dairy or vegan). Top it with a couple of croutons (You can use leftover bread for these too), then your soup is ready to serve.
Sometimes, we forget that food is a blessing, and we take it for granted when many others would wish to have even only food scraps. We hope our simple recipes inspire you to maximize the food you have in your fridge before thinking of throwing them out. There’s no perfect recipe, though, and you can always experiment with the flavors you already have in your kitchen.