Food Waste Friday + Freezer Challenge – 11.28.14

Food Waste Friday keeps me responsible & accountable for my family’s food & finances…thanks to The Frugal Girl!food-waste-with-leaf-v2.1

It’s been over a year since I participated in Food Waste Friday.  Even though I haven’t blogged about it I’ve still been doing my best to keep from throwing out food.  In fact, a critical way I avoid food waste in my house is that I freeze ALL OF THE THINGS.  Not joking.  I’m a serial freezer.

Which brings me to a couple of weeks ago.  I’ve been trying to get better at Costco shopping to save money, which means my fridge has been packed with way more food than I’m used to.  In fact, it was so crowded that when I went through it I found an entire pound of ground turkey I completely forgot about and had to throw out.  Add that to all the random odds and ends cluttering up my freezer and I decided ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.  I decided to do a freezer challenge to clear out the freezer (and fridge) and use up all the stuff that’s accumulated in there.

Here are the results, according to my Instagram account:

Freezer challenges are fantastic on the grocery bill.

Leftover rice freezes well and is perfect for making fried rice another day.  I also freeze lots of leftover grilled chicken, because it’s a challenge to get my family to eat the next day since it loses its juiciness once it’s not fresh off the grill.  I chopped up some of the chicken, part of a random onion hanging out in my fridge, leftover broccoli, and a carrot that was getting close to useless.  I also tossed in some frozen peas that I bought way back when I was making baby food.

The unscheduled weekend was good to me, and being in chicken pox quarantine didn’t hurt, either.  I used stale, frozen hamburger buns and bread heels along with frozen scrap celery and onion remnants to make stuffing, which was then combined with frozen leftover crock pot chicken to make a Thanksgiving casserole.  I made broth with one of six chicken carcasses and veggie scraps I found buried in there.  Finally, I had some freshly squeezed lemon juice I had frozen and a jar of tahini in the fridge which I combined with chickpeas to make some hummus, a recipe that I will definitely sharing with you sometime in the near future.  #obsessed

This was easy.  When I make stuff like meatballs, I make a lot and freeze some of them for an easy meal another night.  That’s what happened with these asian meatballs – I just had to thaw & serve!  For a side I threw together some cellophane noodles, random stir-fry sauce from the fridge, and ran some of the aforementioned carrots, a half zucchini in the fridge that needed using, and some broccoli stems through the shredding blade on my food processor.

Crock pot day in the freezer challenge!  I made turkey pumpkin chili – but instead of turkey I used some leftover pulled pork I had previously frozen, pumpkin puree I’ve been trying desperately to use, and the last of my earlier batch of chicken broth.

This didn’t exactly empty out the freezer, but it did help use up fridge stuff.  I had bacon crumbles in the freezer but that’s about it.  Otherwise I used up the tail end of a cucumber, the final sliver of a red onion, and some of our Costco eggs and chicken sausage to make a pretty delicious and robust salad.

Easiest night yet!  Defrosted and served some tortilla soup I had frozen from a couple of weeks before.  This had been a previous food waste success, using up some broth and frozen grilled chicken.  Since all that stuff had been previously thawed and defrosted, I probably shouldn’t have re-frozen it, but you won’t tell the health department, will you?  We live dangerously.

Ground turkey + frozen shredded zucchini from 2013 + the tail end of a red onion + the last bits of the Costco cheese = turkey burger deliciousness.

Curry is the only way my husband will eat chicken thighs.  So curry it was!  I also finished up the last of the bag of carrots in the fridge, another bag of frozen peas, and threw in a partial bag of baby spinach I had frozen when it was in danger of wilting in the fridge.

I love getting creative in the kitchen and hope that I’ve given you some new ideas of how you can use up your own leftovers – reducing waste and saving your family money.  How do you give leftovers a makeover in your own kitchen?

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One thought on “Food Waste Friday + Freezer Challenge – 11.28.14

  1. Once again, you’re a step ahead of me. I’m a freezer addict as well. Also am a major food waster who seems to forget about all the stuff I buy, on a pretty regular basis, and mostly when it’s a “meal planning fail”. Today I through out another BAG of junk from the fridge, that used to not be junk. Like, 3lbs of chicken (seems to be a weekly thing), tons of arugula (also a weekly thing) and loads of veggies I could no longer identify. Yuck.

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