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what to do with.......

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hi,

I often try recipes I read about or experimental ones that I make up but I find that very often I have a lot of leftover food. This is especially true when it comes to my family who are all very picky, unlike myself :)....so my question is...does anyone have suggestions about what I can do with all my "experimental" leftovers.

Thanks.
post #2 of 13
That really depends on what your leftovers are. Do you want to use them for another meal or give them away? Make pet food?
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Well, that's really what my question is. I just don't want to throw food away...I hate to do that but I like making and trying new recipes but I find I have all this food left all the time, especially when I make something my picky family doesn't like. I would like to give it way but to who? I worry about food allergies, etc when giving food away. I try to eat whatever I make but there's only so much eating of one thing before you get tired of it. Just trying to figure out a way to try new things without wasting. Thanks.
post #4 of 13
entertain, give to others, freeze, make smaller amounts.....
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #5 of 13
A few days ago I saw something that really made me sad. It was a homeless person looking through the garbage in a public park, and I could tell he was trying to decide whether he should eat this boiled egg or not. He didn't seem drunk or anything, just very hungry.

If you can find a way to give these leftovers to people in need, you can make a lot of difference.
post #6 of 13
OregonYeti has the right idea.

Several years ago, I realized I was focusing too much on what I didn't have, rather than appreciating what I did. I found out that the local Mission would accept homemade foods. So every Friday for a year, I made something special for the people at the Mission. I tried to mark holidays with something relevant, such as red velvet cupcakes for Valentines Day, or iced pumpkin cookies at Thanksgiving. Most of the time I made baked goods (pies, cakes, cookies, cheesecakes, etc.), but occasionally made a large container of soup or some other entree.

I used quality ingredients and everything was the best that I could offer. No burnt cookies, no undercooked entrees. Every donation was something I would have been proud to serve to family and friends.

After a couple of weeks of doing this, I found that every time I cooked, I thought about how lucky I was, that I had enough food, that I was warm and had a place to sleep. It changed my life.

I'd suggest you contact your local Mission and see what the criteria are for donating cooked foods. Even if you're only bringing a couple of servings of spaghetti pie, someone will appreciate the meal.

If your local Mission can't help you, try making contacts with shut-ins, such as the elderly, the handicapped, or even an overworked (and stressed out!) mother. There is someone in your town who needs the help and will appreciate your efforts.
post #7 of 13
Freezing is the first thing that comes to mind. As a relatively new "empty nester" I've found that there are very few foods that can't be successfully frozen and it will save you cooking another time.

The second option would be to reinvent whatever you have into something else. This, of course, depends on how complex the original dish was, but if it was something relatively simple (roasted chicken, a rice and vegetable casserole etc), there's always some way to turn it into something else. Do you have an example? What's in your refrigerator right now?
post #8 of 13
You probably have a pretty good idea what your family will like and what they won't. Perhaps when you are trying a new recipe you're unsure about, you might make it in a sample size, cutting the ingredients in half, and beef up the meal with a large salad, vegetable or side dish you know they'll eat. If they like it, then you know the next time you can make the full size. If they don't like it, at least you won't have so much left over to deal with.
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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post #9 of 13
I know exactly what you are talking about. I am single and live alone so it is very difficult to cook for just one without having leftover food. I just purchased a food saver so I can freeze my leftover meals.

Normally I make something and get 3-4 meals out of it so dinner, lunch, dinner, lunch. In your case maybe Dinner then lunch, lunch and more lunch. If i make something I don't want to freeze or eat 4 times in a row then I have people at work who are more then willing to eat what is left over. I do enjoy going to work and sending out an email in the morning letting everyone know free food in the kitchen, never had a complaint and always get thanked.

As for people who donate food I tried that when I worked at a bagel joint. We made fresh bagels every day starting very early morning and throughout the day and we just ended up giving away or tossing the bagels out (some just hours old) when we offered the leftover bagels to the local homeless kitchen they said no thanks that they rather have cash donations. So if you want a good deal on fresh bagels go to the local shop just before closing, we would do buy 1 dozen get another dozen free.
post #10 of 13
To expand a little on what StormWaring said; if you don't have local mission or they can't take what you have, check with your local churches. They always know of people in need due to illness or down turns in fortune. Somebody out there would love to get the fruits of your efforts. We have a transitional home here where I used to take left over food from a boarding school I cooked for. What they couldn't use themselves they distributed through other channels. If you have Second Harvest in your area, you could start with them. Keep cooking!
post #11 of 13
Learn how to recycle.(like the cruise ships) Many dishes can be made into something else, with no waste. This is where the chefs experience and knowhow comes into play.
CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for all of the great ideas. I think I will be in touch with local missions, etc right away for starters.

Really, thanks again everyone :)
post #13 of 13
If it turns out there's no place that can take your extra food -- a strong possibility, since many have rules about the type and quantities they can accept -- then amazingrace's advice is the next best thing. Just don't make so much of the new things. And see if there's some way you can con your family into eating new things. :lol: I think it's a shame when people are "picky" -- it means two things: 1) that they have closed minds as well as closed taste buds, and 2) someone has been letting them get away with it for much too long. I was raised by parents who were adolescents during the Depression, and there was no question in our house: eat what you're offered, or don't eat. If something turned out to be horrible (like the meatballs in a sauce of grape jelly and chili sauce that EVERYONE hated), we still ate it until it was gone, and then it was never made again. But we would never ever throw out edible food.

I still can't, so Ed Buchanan's advice is next best: Turn what you've made into something else that your family will eat: If they like filled pastas such as ravioli, mush together whatever you have and use it for that. (This works better than it sounds. :lol:) Or into soup, or some other dish. Rinse off the sauce (sigh) and add the solids to a different sauce.

"Repurposing" food can work better than you'd imagine. I find that I can't make beef braciole now unless I have leftover meat loaf for the filling. :D Ooh, I do have some in the freezer! Just gotta go get some round steak now! :lol:
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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