Open your refrigerator, and I’m sure you will find them – – a lonely carrot here, a couple of red potatoes there, a baggie of spinach or broccoli. Alone, not enough to create a side dish. These bits and pieces are always in danger of growing the dreaded grey beard of a homemaker’s shame – – mold. It’s money, just thrown away. It doesn’t have to be this way, with just a little creativity.
The nights I make meals from “nothing” (or from these bits and pieces) my husband asks if we are having “garbage can dinner.” Not appetizing, I know. But had I not come up with a tasty solution for these bits and pieces, they would have ended up in the trash. The Italians are really good at inventing great meals from leftover ingredients. Look at panzanella, which is a fantastic salad made from stale bread, dressing, tomatoes, etc . . .. How about minestrone soup? I even learned about saving parmesan cheese rind to throw in soups. Waste nothing. Heck, I even make bread crumbs from leftover hot dog and hamburger buns that I know will never be used. Just dry them out and pulse them in your processor. You might think that sounds cheap, but I think it is resourceful. Here are some ideas to help you make more of what you have on hand.
* Soup is the first obvious choice for fresh items laying around. Carrots, celery, potatoes and the like. Keep canned tomatoes and stock on hand which will help you be more resourceful in making creations from miscellaneous items.
* A crustless quiche is quick to make, and perfect for leftover ingredients. Recently I had leftover roasted asparagus and roasted bell pepper, so I threw them in the quiche. I used what ever cheese I had on hand for the quiche.
* Make a roasted vegetable medley. A couple of weeks ago I had a wide variety of bits and pieces, so I cut them all up in uniform sizes and threw them on a baking sheet with a little olive oil. Of course, some vegetables like squash will cook faster than carrots, so cut veggies requiring longer cooking times in smaller pieces.
* If you have leftover cooked vegetables that will freeze well, start a running freezer bag that will eventually be enough for soup, a potpie – – you get it.
Here is one of my favorite recipes for any meal of the day, crustless quiche. It’s a quick dinner solution, and a perfect home for your little bits and pieces.
Super-Fast Quiche with Bacon and Broccoli
I used broccoli and bacon in my quiche, but take a look in your fridge and see what you have on hand. Some ideas are, sun dried tomatoes, ham, and spinach. This is a great recipe to help avoid kitchen waste. Experiment with different cheeses too.
I served my family a green salad, and a fruit salad with this quiche for dinner last week.
2 cups of cooked or thawed broccoli (or enough to make an even layer at the bottom of a pie pan)
6 pieces of cooked bacon
4 ounces of grated, sharp cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon melted butter
4 beaten eggs
1 tablespoon dried, minced onion, or any amount of fresh minced onion your family desires
1/2 cup of white flour
- 1 1/2 cups of 2% milk (I can’t promise great results with fat-free milk)
Salt is optional, depending on the salt content of your added ingredients. Since I used bacon, I did not add salt.
Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9 inch pie plate with cooking spray. Layer broccoli, bacon, and cheese in pie plate.
Mix melted butter, milk, beaten eggs and flour in a food processor or a blender. (I used an immersion blender and mixed it in a bowl.) Don’t over mix, just blend until flour is evenly distributed in mixture. Add mixed onion.