Frugal kitchen, Tips Tricks & Gadgets
Comments 25

Frugal tip: Check your fridge!

Burnt cashews, almonds and hazelnuts

Go on. I dare you. Take a look in your fridge and tell us in the comments what you see, especially the moldy, oldies. Of course I wouldn’t ask without showing you some of mine. Boy, was I growing some mystery food in there!

About once a month I go through and pull out all the bits and pieces I’ve overlooked the past few weeks. We’re working at cutting back on food waste, but this month? Not so much. Today I pulled out fifteen jars and tubs, each one containing food too old to eat. Some of it was downright scary-hairy. If I’d thought, I’d have taken a few pictures, but all you get to see is the rinsed, empty containers!

Fifteen dirty leftover dishes!

Fifteen dirty leftover dishes!

Most were only partially full. We’d eaten some of the goodies, anyway. But what really bugged me was half a cabbage, moldy and slimy in the crisper drawer, shoved back behind an opaque bag of greens. I love cabbage. How could I forget that?

To this mess, I added at least a pound of organic mixed nuts. I bought those nuts in another city a few weeks ago for a big family do. They tasted, well, off. No one wanted to eat them. I should have returned them right then, but what can I say? We were having too much fun. Those nuts ended up in our car. We forgot to stop at the store on the way out of town. I’m embarrassed to admit they’ve been sitting on my kitchen table since.

But hey, give me some credit! Last week, I tried to rescue some of them. Thought maybe they just needed a little freshening up in the toaster oven. Gracious.

Burnt nuts - I over-toasted these about ten minutes!

Burnt nuts – I over-toasted these about ten minutes!

All told, I threw six pounds and eleven ounces of garbage in my compost bucket today. I might as well toss twenty dollar bills in there!

6 lbs., 11.1 ounces of spoiled food in the compost bucket

6 lbs., 11.1 ounces of spoiled food in the compost bucket

The good news? Digging in the fridge produced this gorgeous cauliflower, along with a few leaves of dark green dragon kale that needed using and these colorful lunchbox peppers, another holdover from that party weekend. Use ’em or lose ’em!

1 Large cauliflower, a few leaves of dragon kale and a pile of lunchbox peppers

1 Large cauliflower, a few leaves of dragon kale and a pile of lunchbox peppers

Thank goodness for Meagan Spencer of Big Eater Small Body, whose recipe I shared as Recipe of the Day on my Facebook page the other day. Yeh, YayYay’s Kitchen has its own Facebook page, now! Go over there and like it, won’t you? You’ll get all the Recipes of the Day and other good tips from around the web for cooking healthy and frugally with real, whole foods.

Shameless plug over. Back to that cauliflower. Just as Meagan prescribes, I tossed cauliflower florets in a mixture of curry powder and coconut oil, then roasted them for 15 minutes at 425º Fahrenheit.

While the florets roasted, I noshed a couple of those sweet peppers. So good! No dipping sauce needed. Their piquant juiciness spurts in the mouth with each crunchy bite. Multi-tasking, (yes, this granny can chew and cook at the same time) I sauteed the kale in a little olive oil with garlic slivers and fresh-squeezed lemon juice.

Curried cauliflower with lemony kale and garlic

Curried cauliflower with lemony kale and garlic

After fifteen minutes in the oven, the cauliflower came out crunchy tender. We could have eaten them just like that, but I followed Meagan’s recipe (mostly) and melted a little more curry-coconut oil mixture in a clean skillet, added the cauliflower and kale, and in less than five minutes dished up this delightfully flavorful dish.

Curried cauliflower with lemony kale and fresh peppers

Curried cauliflower with lemony kale and fresh peppers

I’d have loved the cauliflower just as much garnished with fresh cilantro, as Meagan suggests, instead of the kale, but not all my family members care for cilantro. So it was a win-win, substituting the kale and using up those tasty leaves before they turned to slimy goo fodder for the compost bucket.

So tell me, what’s in your fridge? Save on your grocery budget and eat those goodies up before they turn to fuzz and slime!

25 Comments

  1. With the exception of the lone plum that escaped from the bag and made a home in the back of my refrigerator of 2 months, I can say with great pride that since my daughter moved out and I’m only cooking for one, for the past 2.5 months no moldy oldies.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this post–I’m trying to reduce food waste too, and I’m still consistently shocked at the amount of food we throw out every week. Luckily I’m trying to do better with meal planning and sticking things in the freezer before it’s too late! 🙂

    Also those nuts are hilarious–been there, done that!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You’re very brave to share your refrigerator contents in photos! I do better than I used to, but I know there are some things in there that I dare not check! Ignoring doesn’t usually make them go away, but fortunately my husband is good at finding the ancient things and disposing of them for me. That cauliflower looks amazing, by the way! Might just have to try that recipe.

    Like

  4. Our fridge and freezer habits are pretty good. A few things contribute to this (in no particular order):
    No way are we spending money on food or growing food, then tossing it in the compost, if it can be avoided.
    We live in our house for under 7 months/year and fridge and freezer are both emptied and cleaned when we leave (this makes us very careful about buying).
    We had lived with a tiny RV fridge for 2 winters. You neef to use what you have before there is room to add more! No choice. It’s just physics.

    While house sitting, we have no problem cleaning the fridges where we are staying… amazing how much we find with expiration dates of 2 or MORE years!

    This was a great post. I would have liked to have seen pictures of your hairy food. Haha

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Leah. I’m with you on not wanting to throw any food in the compost bin, if it can be helped. I sure blew it this last month!

      As for pics, I’m thinking of holding my food waste to the flame of public scrutiny with a regular feature shaming, er, showing my fridge cleanup each month. What do you think? Would that interest you? Or TMI? : )

      Like

      • Monthly fridge updares might be too much, especially when you get really good! Haha… Maybe mix it up with other things… just off the cuff here… from gross fridge clean out, to tips for buying and menu planning, to the joys of composting with a vegan kitchen… geez… you could go through de-cluttering and organizing, storage tips, anything to do with a more efficient kitchen?

        Oh, and we’ve all been there, when it comes to letting food go bad. Happens to the best of us!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks for the suggestions, Leah. I like how your mind works! I’ll give this all some thought and see what I can come up with. I’m thinking in terms of a little photo essay, not much on the words side.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Easy on the Cook says

    Food waste drives me crazy too, yet I still have it! I do schedule regular left over dinners and it’s amazing how almost anything can work in a quesadilla! My kids also will take almost anything in their lunches!

    I guess if we were all eating frozen dinners and fastfood take out we would have less food waste! 🙂 I tell myself it’s the price of preparing home cooked meals with good ingredients, even professional chefs have some waste!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re so right about the frozen dinners and take out, but they engender a different kind of waste–one-use containers and plastic bags, quite often not biodegradable. Less food waste, perhaps, but more to the land-fill.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree, almost anything goes in a quesadilla or quite often here, soup.

      Like

  6. GeorgieMoon says

    Goodness, I’m not as bad as you! I used to be, but I’m trying to cut down on food waste and have been buying provisions day by day. So not too much fresh stuff. Some tomatoes, few sticks of celery, butternut squash. Leeks. Some ham, bacon pieces, steaks for tomorrow’s supper. Butter, cheese. Assorted jars of things like, jam, chutney, sauces, dressings. Two litres of milk. Bottle of wine. That’s about it! Feeling quite pleased with myself!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Mysticalwriter says

    Hi, love the post! No need for me to look in my fridge, these days I have been spending time with a friend that has been going through a lot of things. However, when I do look in it, it says feed, me !!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good thing to do, Sandy! I used to clear mine most Sundays as well, but I’ve been lax over the holidays and into January. Time to get back on track.

      Like

  8. Rarely are such wonderful goodies in our fridge. We’ll have to go out and get some cauliflower and peppers. Looks yummy the way you prepared it and photographed it!

    Liked by 1 person

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