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Wholesome Foods: Laura Mancuso

You have probably heard of reduce, reuse, and recycle when it comes to the environment and landfills, but have you heard of “waste less” in the kitchen?
If you are on a food budget and you also want to eat healthy, here are some tips to make the most of your food purchases.
Get Scrappy!
First of all, get creative with your food scraps.
-Those two eggs, a few leaves of spinach and carrot can make a tasty omelet or frittata.
-The spoonful of rice, leftover broccoli florets and 1/4 of a chicken breast can become a stir fry.
-The half carton of broth, two to three mushrooms and handful of kale transform into a comforting soup.
-Got a little bit of jelly or preserves? They can sweeten oatmeal, yogurt or cottage cheese or be added to oil and vinegar for a marinade.
-A few lonely berries, 2 ounces of juice and half container of yogurt translate to a smoothie that ends up in you instead of the trash.
-In the end, you reduce food waste and get a lot of great nutrition from your kitchen.
Brain Freeze
If you’re like me. I have good intentions when it comes to freezing large amounts of leftovers. I plan for a time I might run low on supplies and then I forget about them.
Making an effort to remember those frozen gems by making a reminder list can be very helpful. Here are some ideas to use up the frozen section:
A half bag of frozen veggies and frozen shrimp can liven up frozen ravioli or tortellini.
Frozen edamame or frozen corn can be mixed with that leftover half of red bell pepper for a succotash.
Those frozen cubes of pumpkin or tomato sauce can add healthy vegetables and substance to a sauce, stew or soup, and this means you use what you have.
Recently, I was low on groceries and didn’t feel like driving into town in the rain, so I took two cans of curry sweet potato soup I had in the cupboard and added sauteed frozen shrimp, a quarter bag of frozen peas, a half of an onion I found leftover in the refrigerator and added some dried basil. The soup turned out great (and I got to stay home, comfy by the woodstove).
Dry but goodies
How many times have you looked on your pantry shelves to find boxes of cereal, canisters of oatmeal or bags of rice and pasta that have just a small amount – too small to prepare on its own? Time to be innovative!
That tiny bit of cereal can be a coating for fish or chicken, crumbled on top of yogurt or cottage cheese, or added to a smoothie for a nice crunch.
Oatmeal can be mixed with the few spoonfuls of peanut butter, a few raisins and squirt of honey for DIY energy bars.
A handful of rice or pasta can be added to soups or stews, or used to make rice pudding or noodle kugel with 1-2 ounces of milk, an egg and spices.
Canned but hired!
If you have stocked up on beans, canned tomatoes, canned fish and canned or jarred fruit, the good news is that you have something that is shelf stable. So before you go out to buy more, check what you already have.
-A can of tuna can be mixed with cannellini beans and vinegar and olive oil to make a filling and nutritious salad.
-Salsa, black beans and canned corn works as a side or as a dip.
-A can of lentil soup, jarred mushrooms, microwave rice and canned diced tomatoes makes a delicious and filling soup or stew.
-Canned chowder, with added canned clams, 1/4 bag of frozen vegetables and a diced leftover baked potato, make a satisfying lunch or dinner.
-A canned beet and canned mandarin orange salad is a perfect side to roasted chicken or baked fish
And if you make more than you can eat, portion into smaller containers, label and freeze.
Reach Across the Aisles
Create a bowl with a handful of lettuce, a crumbled frozen veggie burger that has been thawed, the last few spoonfuls of salsa, a sprinkle of shredded cheese and the crumbled tortilla chips in the bottom of the bag.
Leftover stuffing mix can be combined with the small carton of broth, cut up piece of chicken and some frozen peas for a main dish.
Out of bread? Use a leftover tortilla for the eggs, deli meat or leftover burger.
Put your own twist on a veggie burger by actually putting vegetables into your burger by using leftover ground meat, chopped up onion and mushrooms, finely chopped celery and carrot. Serve on buns, or roll into small balls and serve with pasta and marinara sauce.
Bottom Line
You can make your own recipes that help you minimize food waste and maximize your ability to stay home. Think about what’s already on your shelf that can support your physical and economic health.
U.S. News & Health