by Tammy Taylor
Reducing waste in the grocery budget seems to be a hot topic right now. Rushed parents and over-scheduled folks are doing the best they can to keep their grocery budget low.
The USDA estimates that between 30% and 40% of our food is ending up in landfills. WHAT??!
Our average monthly grocery budget here on the ranch last year averaged $111. And that included wild game processing. And it even included non-consumables such as toilet paper and Kleenex.
I’ve written before about various methods we use to keep our grocery bill down. I employ such tricks as using the cook-once-eat-twice method of cooking as well as eliminating as many convenience foods as possible. But today I’m talking about eating what you’ve already purchased. How can you eliminate wasted or leftover food?
Use What You Have Before It Goes Bad
One of the most important grocery budget tips is to use the food you have already purchased. So although I’m not always successful, I strive to cook with zero waste in mind. I do this by making tonight’s menu plan based on what’s needing to be used.
For instance last night I was in the mood to enjoy a breakfast item for dinner. It’s one of our favorite suppertime meal options. I decided I really wanted french toast. So I used the dry heels from a loaf of bread , an egg and the three egg whites leftover from making homemade chocolate pudding the other night, along with a dash of powdered sugar and cinnamon.
Other than that one egg and a few pieces of dry bread, this meal pulled leftovers out of my fridge before they got the chance to go bad. The nights meal was planned around what was currently needing to be used. And supper was delicious!
Don’t Forget About Your Leftovers
One of the ways I assure that I use leftover items placed in my fridge is to place them in see-through glass jars. These large-mouth jars were saved for me by various family members and I use them for almost all of my leftovers.
Use half an onion for a recipe? The other half goes in this large-mouth jar in the fridge. Needed 3 egg yolks for pudding? The egg whites are placed in a jar for incorporation into a future meal. That way the items needing to be used are easily seen.
And because leftovers occupying the fridge are always used pretty quickly there’s not enough overcrowding to have something get shoved to the back and forgotten until it’s too late.
Your Freezer Is Your Friend
And of course if you use the cook-once-eat-twice method of cooking you’re already cooking with the intent of freezing the extra food right away. This eliminates leftovers being placed in the refrigerator in the first place. Your freezer can really be your friend when trying to eliminate wasted food. Just be sure you label your foods & rotate through them quickly so they’re not forgotten or damaged by freezer-burn and wasted anyway!
I’m just sharing thoughts on how we keep our food waste down, your methods may be different. How do you incorporate leftover items into your food plan to eliminate waste?
Other Planned Leftover Posts
- Planned Leftovers: Easy Slow-Cooker Pork Roast
- How To Quickly Shred Leftover Roast
- Fast Food: Remaking Leftover Steak & Veggies
- Leftover Biscuit Dough? Make Cinnamon Rolls!
- Hearty Stew – Quickest Planned Leftover Meal Of All
- Pulled Pork Enchiladas From Leftover Roast
- Planned Leftovers: Carnitas Tacos From Pork Roast
- Chicken Tortilla Soup From Leftovers
- Using It ALL – The Art Of Eliminating Leftover Food
…and MUCH MORE!
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