Don’t waste your food! It’s what your mother used to say to you and she was right. All around the world, specifically in industrialised countries, about 1/3 of all food produced worldwide gets wasted or lost in food production and consumption – according the World Resources Institute. That’s about $1 trillion dollars worth of food wasted every year. In a world that is full of hunger, social unrest and volatile food prices, these figures are pretty alarming. In industrialised countries, 222 million tons of food are wasted every year. Imagine how much it could help us if these foods were not wasted at all. Although the numbers are not promising, do not be disheartened. As a consumer, you can do a lot to change the situation.
There are 3 things you can do now to minimise food wastage:
1. Think Smart
You need to be a smart shopper and think about what you are buying and when it will be cooked and eaten. Wasting food is mostly a subconscious act, which means that you’re not aware of how much food you’re throwing away. Use a shopping list and plan your meals. If you eat out and have left overs, bring them home in reusable containers.
2. Eat Smart
Eat what you can have instead of eating with your eyes. People in industrialised countries have a habit of throwing food in the garbage if they are too full to finish the remaining scraps on the plate and rarely think and pause about the significance of their action. In most cases it has become routine. The routine practices made it difficult for many to grasp the magnitude of the global food waste.
3. Save Smart
If you have leftovers make another dish using them! Saving food in this way can save you money and save the environment as well.
Now it’s time to make your move and contribute to the cause. The goal is to minimise or totally eradicate food wastage. Below are some amazing leftover dinner recipes to get your started. These recipes are delicious, healthy and save you money. Let’s start!
1 ½ ounces of salmon fillet
1 tbspn of canola oil
1/3 cup of chopped celery
1/3 cup of chopped carrot
4 cups of reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 ½ cups of frozen cauliflower florets, coarsely chopped
3 tbspn of chopped fresh chives or scallions
2 cups of leftover mashed potatoes or 1 1/3 cups of instant mashed potato flakes
¼ cup of fresh dill
1 tbspn of Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon of salt
Pepper to taste
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the carrots and celery, stirring frequently to cook or until they become brown, that’s 3-4 minutes. Add the broth, water, salmon, chives, cauliflower and bring them to a simmer. Cover to maintain the gentle simmer until the salmon is just cooked through. That’s between 5-8 minutes. Remove the salmon to a plate or clean cutting board and then flake it into bite-size pieces.
Stir the mashed potato, dill and the mustard into the soup until they are well blended. Add the salmon and reheat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Leftover Chicken or Turkey Stir-fry
450 grams of leftover chicken or turkey breast fillet, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 large green chillies
2 tbsp of vegetable oil
2 tsp of sesame oil
1 peeled and crushed garlic clove
3 cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated
75g of sliced almonds
2 red peppers, seed removed and chopped
100g shiitake mushrooms
6 tbspn of stir fry sauce
Handful of fresh basil
Cut the stalk ends of the chillies and then carefully cut and remove the seeds and pit without cutting the green part. Slice the chillies diagonally
Heat the oils in a wok and add the chillies, garlic, ginger and the almonds and stir fry for about 30 seconds to a minute or until they turn golden.
Add the chicken and peppers to the pan and stir fry for about 4 minutes or until the chicken is golden brown. Add the mushrooms and the mangetout and return the chillies, ginger, garlic and almonds to the pan. Continue to stir fry for 2 minutes and then add the stir fry sauce. heat until the sauce is bubbling. Serve hot and garnish with the fresh basil.
Bean and Ham Soup
One 20 ounce beans package, soaked overnight
1 ham bone
2 ½ cups of cubed ham
1 large chopped onion
3 stalks, chopped celery
5 chopped large carrots
1 14.5 ounces of diced tomatoes, liquid included
1 can of low sodium vegetable juice
3 cups of vegetable broth
2 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp of Dijon mustard
1 tbsp of chilli powder
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp of ground black pepper
1 tbsp of dried parsley
3 tbsp of lemon juice
7 cups of low fat, low sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon of salt
Place the soaked beans into a large pot and then fill it with enough water to cover them by about an inch. Bring it to a boil, then lower to simmer for 30 minutes. Drain and then add the ham bone, ham, celery, onion, carrots, tomatoes, vegetable juice and vegetable broth. Season with Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, bay leaves, chilli powder, parsley and lemon juice. Pour the chicken broth enough to cover the ingredients.
Simmer over low heat and stir occasionally for about 8 hours. Add more chicken broth as needed to prevent it from drying up. Remove the ham bone and stir occasionally and season with salt and pepper. Remove the bay leaves before serving.
Slow Cook Chicken Tikka Masala
1 – 1 ½ lbs of boneless chicken thighs
1 large diced onion
3 cloves of minced garlic
2 tbsp of tomato paste
1 inch piece of peeled ginger, grated
2 tbsp of garam masala
2 teaspoons of paprika
2 teaspoon salt
1 can of diced tomatoes
¾ cup of coconut milk or heavy cream
Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and then transfer to a 3 quart slow cooker. Stir the onion, tomato paste, ginger, 1 tbsp garam masala, paprika and salt until the chicken is evenly covered with the spices. Stir the diced tomatoes, including the juice.
Cover the slow cooker and cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. 15 minutes before the end of the cooking, stir in the heavy cream or coconut milk. If you want a thicker sauce, leave the cooker uncovered for the last 15 minutes. Add more masala or salt to taste. You can serve it over cooked rice and sprinkle it with cilantro.
4 cups of leftover spaghetti
4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large egg whites
2 large eggs
½ skim milk
1/3cup of grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp of chopped basil
2 tbsp of chopped parsley
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground pepper
1 diced tomato
If the leftover spaghetti is already cooked, put it in boiling water for 1 minute and then remove. If uncooked, follow package directions. Heat oil a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and then add the onions until golden or caramelised. That’s about 10-12 minutes. Transfer the onion into a separate bowl and let it cool.
Whisk the eggs, egg white and milk in a large bowl. Stir in the onions, parsley, basil, Parmesan, salt and pepper and spaghetti. Pour the egg mixture evenly in the pan and cook until the underside is golden brown or for about 6 minutes. Put a large plate over the skillet, grasp it firmly and carefully turn over. Spray with non-stick cooking spray and slide the other side fritata back into the pan and let it cook until golden brown. Serve hot and garnish with tomatoes.
Vegetable Fried Rice
5 cups of 1 day old cooked brown rice (or ordinary white rice)
3 tbsp of low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil
3 large, lightly beaten eggs
3 cloves of minced garlic
2 teaspoons of peeled, minced fresh ginger
½ teaspoon salt
4 chopped scallions
1 12 ounces of mixed frozen vegetables
1 tsp sesame oil
Mash the 1 day old rice with your hands until loose and then set aside. In a separate bowl, combine soy sauce and sugar, mix until the sugar is dissolved. Heat vegetable oil in a non stick skillet over medium high heat. If you’re using a wok, make sure that the wok is smoking hot before adding the oil. A hot wok will prevent the rice from sticking to the wok. Add eggs, cook and then transfer to a bowl. Heat the remaining oil and then sauté garlic and ginger for about 30 seconds. Add the rice and stir fry until it starts to crisp or for about 5 minutes. Add the soy sauce mixture, vegetables and scallions and continue to stir fry until everything is cooked. This should take about 5-10 minutes. Add the eggs and continue to stir fry until they are combined. Drizzle with sesame oil, turn off heat, mix and then serve immediately.
Oven Baked Jambalaya
3 cups of left over chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
3 cups of cooked andouille sliced sausage
3 cups of leftover ham
½ cup of butter
1 large diced onion
1 large chopped bell pepper
4 stalks of chopped celery
4 cloves of minced garlic
1 can of tomato paste
3 bay leaves
2 tbsp of Creole seasoning blend
4 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
1 cans of whole peeled tomatoes
7 cups of chicken stock
3 cups of cooked shrimp
4 cups of uncooked white rice, Long grain
Preheat oven to 175C. Melt the butter in a large pot. Sauté the onion, celery, green pepper and garlic until tender. Don’t burn the garlic. Add the tomato paste and cook to slightly brown and stirring constantly. Stir in the bay leaves, the Creole seasoning and the Worcestershire sauce and then pour them into a larger roasting pan. Squeeze the tomatoes and break into pieces and then add the mixture into the pan. Stir the juice from the tomatoes, chicken stock, sausage, chicken, rice and shrimp. Mix them well and cover with aluminium foil. Bake for 1 ½ hours and stirring halfway through the baking time. Remove the bay leaves before serving. Serve while hot.
Chicken Sausage and Cauliflower Casserole
2 pounds of frozen of cauliflower or 1 medium head of fresh cauliflower
½ lb of uncooked herbed chicken sausage or spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
1 tsp table salt
1 tbsp olive
1 medium diced onion
4 cloves minced garlic
2 stems of fresh thyme, leaves only
1 28oz can of whole peeled tomatoes, drained but the liquid is reserved
2/3 cups of bread crumbs
¼ cup of Parmesan cheese
Heat oven to 170C. Grease a 9×13 baking dish with the olive oil. Remove frozen cauliflower from the pack. Boil 3 water over high heat and stir in the salt. Add the cauliflower and boil for 2 minutes. Drain and run cold water over the cooked cauliflower to stop the cooking process. Drain well and return the vegetable to the cooking pot and set aside.
Heat pan over medium high heat and then add olive oil. Once everything is hot, add the sausage. Break up the sausage while cooking and let it cook for 8-12 minutes or until the sausage is beginning to crisp. If fats accumulate, remove them. Turn the heat to medium low and then add the thyme and garlic. Sauté for 6 minutes, stirring frequently. Scrape all the brown bits because it adds to the flavour. Crush the tomatoes and add them to the sausage. Stir thoroughly and add the excess tomato juice and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Turn off heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Mix the cauliflower and the sauce in the pot and then pour the mixture into the baking dish. Spread evenly and top with Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and place it in the middle of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until the bread crumbs are golden brown and the sauce is bubbly. You can serve it hot or let it stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Left Over Ham and Shrimp Gumbo
1 ham bone
3 cups of chopped leftover honey baked ham
1 clove, minced garlic
1 tsp of ground turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp of dried basil
2 cups of frozen peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp
Two 15oz cans of black beans
½ tsp cayenne pepper
One 14.5 Oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup of coconut milk
In a small saucepan, stir the garlic, basil, turmeric and cayenne pepper over medium heat for about 1 minute. Melt butter into the mixture and then add onion until cooked. Scoop everything from the saucepan into the slow cooker.
Turn up heat to medium high and then sauté the frozen shrimp in hot butter until they are firm or for about 2 minutes. After that, transfer them to the slow cooker. Add the ham, ham bone, tomatoes and black beans into the slow cooker. Cook on high until the ham on the bone is soft and is falling off. That’s about 4-6 hours. Discard the ham bone, stir in the coconut milk and continue cooking for 30 minutes. Serve hot
Mac And Cheese
1lb of macaroni of any shape
1 ½ cups of whole milk
2 tbsp of all-purpose flour
3 cups of shredded cheese like cheddar or Colby or Monterey Jack
¼ tsp of powdered mustard
½ tsp salt
Ham or bacon as toppings
Cook the pasta as instructed on the package, drain and then set aside. For the cheese sauce, warm 1 cup of milk in a saucepan over medium heat, whisk the remaining milk and the flour until they are blended well and no lumps are showing. Continue whisking until it thickens like heavy cream. Turn heat to low and begin mixing handfuls of the grated cheese into the milk mixture. Stir continuously to prevent it from sticking. Stir in the salt and mustard. Taste and adjust seasoning and then remove from heat. Pour in the first half of the macaroni until evenly coated and then add the remaining pasta and toppings. Mix well until everything is coated with cheese. Serve hot.
Leftover Smoked Salmon Fillet Chowder
1 cooked flaked salmon fillet
5 small red potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
1 diced onion
2 stalks of thinly sliced onion
2 tbsp of all purpose flour
¼ tsp of ground black pepper
4 cups of 4% milk
1 ¼ cups of frozen peas
1 ¼ cups of frozen corn
1 tsp of dried dill weed
½ cup of swiss cheese
½ cup of cheddar
1 finely chopped green onion
Put potatoes in a large pot and then cover with salted water and boil them. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until the potatoes are tender or for about 20 minutes. Drain. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté onion and the celery in the hot oil until they are tender or for 7 minutes. Add flour and then salt to the onion mixture. Stir well until they are well combined.
Slowly whisk milk into the onion mixture and bring them to a boil stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the potatoes, the flaked salmon, corn, peas and dill. Cook for 10 minutes or until heated through. Stir in the cheeses until they are melted or for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and serve hot with green onion on top.
Please don’t waste food and don’t contribute to the problem. If you have any food leftovers, try some dishes that will make use of these leftovers. Many people are going hungry around the world, so avoid living in excess and try to make a change.