Friday, October 16, 2015
Don't Waste Your Dollars
We have all wasted food at one time or another. I know that I have thrown out forgotten produce that died in the vegetable drawer, an expired can of food that got shoved to the back of the shelf, and leftovers that never got eaten.
Since food is one of my biggest expenses, I have become more and more mindful to not waste any of it. I do so by checking the leftover shelf every day to see if there is enough for the two of us for dinner. If not, the leftovers get made into another dish using extra ingredients, eaten by one of us for lunch, or frozen for soup or stew. After dinner if there is just a smidgen of meat or vegetables left, I add them to my bag for soup that is in my freezer. Fruits get cut up and frozen for smoothies.
Every day, I check the fresh vegetables and fruits to see what needs to be eaten quickly before they end up in the garbage. They are eaten that day in a salad or as the vegetable for dinner or used in my main dish. If I can't use them that day and they can be frozen, I do so. Many an onion, potato made into mashed potatoes, carrots, celery, tomatoes, etc. have been frozen. The onions, carrots, and celery get diced and the tomatoes get cooked before they go in the freezer.
I try very hard to calculate how many fruits and vegetables will be eaten each week so that I buy just what is needed. My husband and I eat a banana a day, so I just buy 14 for the week. If someone doesn't eat theirs, they get frozen for banana pancakes, banana bread or smoothies.
Bread or rolls that can't be used before they mold, get frozen for another day. Being that there is only two of us, we only use 1/2 a loaf at a time and freeze the other 1/2. I make a lot of our bread and since it has no preservatives, I freeze half right after it cools. When English muffins are too expensive to buy, I make homemade English muffin bread and freeze 1/2 of that loaf. Hamburger and hot dog rolls get frozen and I only pull out two when I need them. I do the same with any homemade baked good. I freeze half for a future day and we eat half. Our freezer saves us from wasting a lot of money.
If I am wasting food, I might as well save my time shopping for it and cooking it and just burn the dollars instead. Because that is what I am doing if I throw food out.
Yesterday, when I was checking to see what needed to be used up, I found lettuce that was getting a little old and a couple of cans of enchilada sauce that expire this month. So, we had tossed salad for lunch and will have it again today to finish the lettuce up.
I made this delicious recipe to use the enchilada sauce: Cheesy Enchilada Rice Skillet for dinner. I did make some substitutions since I didn't have all of the called for ingredients. I omitted the green pepper, used frozen corn, used all red enchilada sauce, used less rice for the two of us, used the entire can of black beans, omitted the salt for health reasons, and omitted the fresh cilantro which I did not have.
My husband loved this so much that he wants me to make it every couple of weeks. Since it is meatless, I will be happy to accommodate that request. I didn't even have time to take a picture before he had dished up plates.
If you just take a few minutes each day to see what is ready to expire in your home, you will save a substantial amount of money. That money can be put towards debt or your investment goals.