Waste watchers international

Stuff I hate:

Asking a clerk for a size ten shoe and being told they’re out, but they do have an 8 ½.  Sure, let me just cut off a few toes and everything’ll be super groovy.  You guys got a bone saw back there?

Oblivious people on cell phones.  I don’t have one (by choice), and it’s like being the only sober person at a party.  Most folks can’t even see anymore, how downright self-absorbed and careless one can become when attached to that insidious electronic tether.

What car? What street?

And I hate, hate, hate wasting food.  It’s expensive, and there are too many hungry mouths on this planet for it.  I’m pretty good at cooking for two.  But sometimes I make extra; on purpose or by accident, and then I repurpose it for another meal.  We either eat it right away, or often I freeze it for later.  But my leftovers very rarely show up in the same configuration in which they started.

So what follows are a few things I’ve learned after three-plus decades of marriage.

Potatoes

Mashed:

1.)Basic-reheat them in the microwave, and either eat that way, or smooth or pipe onto the top of a casserole.

2.)Duchess-Mix in cheese, bacon, chives or green onions, along with horseradish or Dijon mustard, and bake covered in a dish at 350 for 20 minutes, then uncover, sprinkle on more cheese, and bake 20 more minutes.

3.)Fried-Mix in egg and a tablespoon of flour, form into patties and brown in a little vegetable oil until golden on each side.

Or

In Puerto Rico, these are called papas rellenas, which is properly pronounced “heaven”.

After mixing in egg and flour, make into a key lime-sized ball, and stuff with a piece of cheese, or spiced meat.  Freeze.  Cook submerged in 325-350 degree oil until browned and hot.

Whole potatoes-baked or boiled:

You can’t go wrong with hash.  Or, you can add to soup, or make mashed potatoes, and start all over again.

Rice

1.)Make fried rice, or add to salad or soup.

2.)Rice cakes-Press plain cooked rice into a thin layer in a lightly buttered non-stick skillet.  Cook on low about 45 minutes, flip and cook other side.  Serve plain, or spoon something saucy on top.

Or

Mix in an egg and form into burger sized patties and refrigerate until set and stiff.  Dredge in flour, then beaten egg, then panko bread crumbs, and fry in about ¼ inch oil until golden and heated through.

3.)Sweet-stir warmed cooked rice into ‘Cook & Serve’ (or homemade) pudding, add dried fruit and a glug of rum, and you’ve got rice pudding.

Or

Heat a bowl of rice in the microwave with milk and maple syrup, chopped nuts and dried fruit, and you’ve got breakfast porridge.  You can also mix it into yogurt with some fresh fruit.

Pasta

I don’t normally make extra pasta, because noodles are so quick and easy anyway.

Veggies

Extra vegetables go into bags in the freezer, with each type getting its own bag.  Then I use them for soups, salads, stir-fries, and casseroles.

Breads, Crackers, Chips, Pretzels

Every leftover morsel goes into a bag into the freezer, for breading and stuffing.  Except for panko, I haven’t bought bread crumbs for years.

*When freezing, it’s absolutely essential that you label and date it.  You think you’ll remember what and when, but you never do.

Learning to cook for two was tough.  I’ve tossed more food than a supermodel eats in a lifetime.  But the only fuzzy thing in my fridge these days are peaches and the occasional forlorn, overlooked slice of cheese.

What is this? Take it! Can you absorb calories through your skin?

Thanks for your time.

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