It seems like eating up all or even most of our leftovers is such a battle for me. I know that’s truly a 1st world problem if I ever saw one! I’m grateful I’ve never lacked the food and nutrition my body needs! Anyways…back to leftovers, when I do successfully come up with ways to use those about-to-be-too-bad-to-eat-foods, it really excites me!

  • We cooked our turkey late, and have been chowing down on turkey sandwiches and tomorrow some of the turkey will become turkey quesadillas. I also made some broth with the turkey bones and some veggie scraps.
  • Some wrinkling bell peppers didn’t look appetizing to eat raw, but tasted fine as stuffed bell peppers and in pizza sauce.

Wrinkling bell peppers can still be used for stuffed peppers!

  • We had defrosted some black beans to use for chili, but didn’t use them  all, so I threw them into burritos (which reminds me I still have some kidney beans I need to hurry and use up).
  • Some wilting spinach tasted just fine steamed, drained well and then baked in a quiche.
  • I made some banana bread to use up out-dated yogurt, some buttermilk and browning bananas.

Banana bread can help you use up bananas, yogurt and even buttermilk!

  • I also made some buttermilk ranch dressing at the suggestion of a facebook follower.
  • Cameron used our blender to turn pretzels into crumbs and I then used them to coat chicken for chicken fingers.
  • And lastly I used a little bit of leftover chocolate milk in some coffee to make a mocha! :P

Have you used up some leftovers in a creative way?

I made the spinach, mushroom, feta crustless quiche a couple weeks ago, which was one of my 12 projects for 2012!  turned out great and here’s what I liked about it:

  • It’s healthy.
  • It tastes great!
  • It’s a pretty cheap recipe. Budget Bytes calculated that it cost $6.19 to make, which is definitely cheaper than going out to eat!
  • It’s crustless!! I almost never make quiche for one simple reason….I dread making the crust, but I loved how this recipe didn’t call for a crust.

This is recipe is definitely one I’ll keep making, but I might try changing a few of the ingredients, like maybe trying a cheaper substitution for the feta cheese.

Now I’m excited about trying another one of my 2012 projects!!!

Do you ever go to the store or farmer’s market and come back with lots of beautiful produce? Then after several days the produce isn’t so beautiful? Instead it’s slimy, brown, dried out, mealy or limp? Well I decided to do some research and find the best ways to keep produce longer. And I learned some things I hadn’t known before. So here’s my findings. I didn’t do all produce, mostly just ones that I usually have trouble with. The parenthesis are where I got my info.

  • Celery – Cut off the bottom of the stalks and stand up with some water in the fridge (A Thrifty Mom) or wrap it in aluminum foil. (Tammy’s Recipes)
  • Asparagus – Stand it up in a little bit of water. (A Thrifty Mom)
  • Potatoes – Keep in a dark and dry place and according to Passion for Potatoes by Lydie Marshallit’s best to not keep them in plastic bags, but instead in a bin or paper bag. I always just keep them in the plastic bag they come in, so I learned something new!

    Celery can be kept in a cup with water in the fridge.

  • Lettuce – Place a paper towel in with your lettuce. (I got this idea from my husband’s aunt.)
  • Bananas – Break the bananas up separately off the bunch and keep where they can get good air circulation. (A Thrifty Mom)
  • Tomatoes – Keep in a brown paper bag with steam side down, and out of the fridge. (ehow)
  • Apples – Keep in the fridge, but if there’s any that have a blemish, like a cut, keep them separate. They’ll make the other ones ripen faster. (ehow)
  • Cilantro – Rinse off, then pat dry.  Cut off the bottom of the stems. Loosen up the bunch and wrap with a paper towel, to soak up moisture. Put the cilantro back in the pastic bag with the paper towel still around it. (ehow) Or you can try cutting the bottom of the steams off then put it in cup with some water in the fridge. (The Frugal Girl)
  • Parsley – Same as cilantro.

Now no matter how well we keep our produce it will go bad eventually. Sometimes it get’s too bad to use, but sometimes, if you catch it soon enough, you can still use it. Here’s some ideas of what to do with produce that doesn’t taste good enough to eat raw, but doesn’t need to get tossed yet:

  • Celery – If it’s too limp to taste good raw, you can still cook it in soups and broths (I like to use it in making chicken broth from a whole

    Sauteing spinach

    chicken).

  • Potatoes – if they are growing eyes, just cut the eyes off and cook and eat the rest of the potato.
  • Spinach – If it’s getting a little wilty I just steam or saute it, since steaming and sauteing is essentially making it all wilt.
  • Bananas -  Bananas with a little brown on their skins make the best banana bread! Or They can get peeled and frozen in bags in the fridge. You can defrost them for banana bread or use frozen in smoothies. They make the smoothie naturally sweet and thick!
  • Tomatoes – You can make a sauce from them (although I have never done this).
  • Apples – I’ve used mealy apples to make muffins and applesauce. You could also make a pie or crisp.
  • Cilantro- I like to use cilantro in salsa, on top of burritos or quesadillas and I

    Smoothies are a great way to use up fruit!

    really like some cilantro sprinkled on my salad! The Frugal Girl has a whole post about using up cilantro.

  • Grapes – If there are bad spots on the grapes, but the whole grape isn’t bad, I cut off the bad spot and throw the good parts into a fruit salad. You can also freeze grapes for a nice frozen snack! And I’ve heard of people using grapes in smoothies, but I’ve yet to try it.
  • Citrus – Make juice, or use it as a marinade. And lemons can be used in making homemade cleaners.

Do you have any great tricks for keeping produce longer or for using it up?

This post is shared at Tammy’s Recipes for Kitchen Tip Tuesday.

This is a kind of random post, but I thought I’d share a couple ways I used up some leftovers. First of all we had a whole bunch of hot dogs leftover

Cameron eating our leftover hotdog-chili concoction.

from Gracia’s birthday party. And other than just eating hotdogs as they are, I decided to chop them up small and combine them with the leftover chili also from the party. With the hotdogs choped up so small, you hardly noticed them in the chili.

I also had some spinach. I like to buy big things of spinach at Sam’s Club. We eat it in salads and in sandwiches in place of lettuce, but when it starts to get a little wilty, it’s just not as good. So then I like to steam or saute it. My mom gave me the sauteing idea, she had some at my cousins house once. It’s super easy, just heat up some olive oil in a pan and saute the spinach until wilted. You can saute onions and garlic in it too if you want. When it’s done add salt, pepper and garlic powder (if you didn’t use fresh garlic). It’s really quick, healthy and yummy! And best of all, keeps you from throwing out the spinach! =)

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