My husband and I created the "No Food Left Behind Act" in our home a few years ago. (Yeah, the name is a spin-off of the controversial No Child Left Behind Act. But saving money is not quite as controversial as NCLB, is it?) Basically, No Food Left Behind (NFLB) is our effort to make sure that no food goes to waste in our home. Our "NFLB" is the equivalent of our grandparents' "waste not, want not".
Let's level here-I do throw out food sometimes. We're not perfect. But our waste is minimal compared to what it once was. It takes some effort--but once you adopt the NFLB mentality, it takes no time for it to become a natural instinct.
For instance, I bought some tomatoes a few days ago and they were beginning to get a bit "mushy". (You know, at the point that you'd be embarassed to put them in a salad... that's the state they were in.) I popped those bad boys in the oven with some salt, pepper and olive oil and roasted them for about an hour. (I actually did this while dinner was cooking in the oven--so SCORE on saving time and energy, too!) Here's what they looked like after roasting:
The tomatoes have now been saved from being thrown away because their natural decomposition was disrupted by the oven. These roasted tomatoes can be popped in the freezer for later use in any soup or chili recipe, or used right away. (Or how about the Spartan original recipe for Roasted Tomato Soup?) Once they're frozen, you're back in control of your budget since your tomatoes are not going to waste.
(For a quick and inexpensive dinner, toss your roasted tomatoes with some rinsed and drained cannellini beans, a dash of balsamic vinegar, olive oil and a handful of fresh basil. Then add some cooked whole-wheat pasta, and presto! You have an affordable, healthy and delicious dinner.)
My husband shared this article with me: Food Expiration Dates: What do they really mean? It's pretty interesting and is right on target with helping consumers save their hard-earned money.
Almost any leftover can be repurposed. Lots of things can be frozen. But you have to make it happen! So, make the effort to be proactive and stop wasting food! It's crazy to think of throwing dollar bills in the trash can, right? But if you're throwing food away, that's essentially what's happening.
If you need suggestions on what to do with your leftovers, feel free to shoot me an email listing the leftovers you need to use and I'll write you back with some suggestions. My email address is email@example.com or you can simply leave a comment. I'll get back to you with a solution!
What do you do to use up leftovers? Are you going to enact the No Food Left Behind Act in your home?