Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Art of Using Up

What do you do with the vegetable peelings... ie carrot skins, beet tops, carrot tops, radish or turnip tops, onion skins, or few extra vegetables/beans/rice from a meal - but not enough for another meal ?
What do you do with that bread that has dried out?
What do you do with that chicken/turkey carcus after it's been picked over, or that ham or lamb bone?
What do you do with the drippings from a roast of beef or lamp or chicken ?
What do you do with leftovers ......

Every year hundreds of dollars are wasted with food spoliage or throwing out perfectly good food which could be used in another way in every home.   In our house little goes to waste and every bit of food is put to some use.

We love "left-overs", either for another meal during the week or for "brown bag" lunches.

Vegetable peelings are saved in a bag in the freezer, waiting for making stock.  Dried out bread is either ground up for bread crumbs for use in another recipe, or made into croutons.  The drippings from roasts are also frozen for later use in gravy/soup or any recipe calling for beef / chicken stock.  After the chicken/turkey is cooked up and picked over, every little bit of meat is gathered up and saved/frozen for a casserole later, or added to a soup pot (Simple Stone Soup).   The bones are put in a large pot and boiled for stock.   The same goes with a ham bone.   When I steam vegetables/boil potatoes the leftover steamed water is poured into a container in the freezer (which contains lots of vitamins), and I keep adding to it until full, and then start another container.  Then I always have vegetable stock on hand whenever I need it .

A ham (with bone) can go a long way.  For instance, it can be roasted/simmered and sliced up for one or more meals, depending on the size of your ham, left over pieces can be used in a casserole, soup pot or chopped up and mixed with pickle, chopped celery, green onion or chives, mayonaise for a nice sandwich filling.   The bone can be boiled up for wonderful pea or bean soup.    The possibilities can go on - all you need is some imagination !

One of our favourite simple meals with left over ham is "Ham with Dumplings" - Serves 4-5
2 cups diced cooked ham
2 tbsp chopped onions
1/4 cup chopped celery
3 tbsp margarine or butter
3 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
1/4 tsp salt (I leave out - ham is salty enough)
2 tbsp chopped green pepper

Saute onion and celery in butter/margarine.  Blend in flour and add milk gradually and cook slowly until thickened.  Season to taste (Ham is salty so I don't add the salt called for)  Add green pepper and ham.  Scrape into a greased casserole dish. 

Mix topping ingredients in order given for dumplings.   Spread soft dough over ham mixture and bake at 400F for 30 minutes.

Dumpling ingredients:
1 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp shortening
1/3 cup grated cheese
2/3 cup milk

Enjoy !

1 comment:

  1. It is a game to see how little waste we can have - one that is so important to our finances and to our stewardship of the bounty we have been given. Great post!


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