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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Frugal Kitchens 101 - Novel Uses for Left-overs

Frugal Kitchens 101

There are very few times that there aren't left-overs after a home cooked meal.  The problem is sometimes there is such a small amount that they can't be used as is for the next meal but rather the left-overs must be worked in as an ingredient for another dish in the next meal.   With this in mind I am always looking for ways to use those little bits of left-overs up.  In this week's Frugal Kitchens 101 I will share a few of the novel ways I use up small amounts of left-overs.

  • applesauce, pearsauce - Applesauce and pearsauce are an ideal fat replacement in breads, cakes and muffins.   Simply replace the fat with an equal amount of either.  Applesauce and pearsauce can be stirred into homemade yogurt for fresh use or to dry into fruit roll-ups.  A tablespoon of either also makes a nice ice cream topper.
  • coffee, coffee grinds - Coffee left-over from the morning is ideal for certain breads (eg. pumpernickel, dark rye) and can replace the water in cake recipes especially chocolate cake.  I also freeze left-over coffee in an ice cube tray for use with iced coffee drinks.  The frozen coffee cubes keeps the iced coffee cold without diluting it.  Coffee grinds can actually be added to homemade ice cream!  They are a natural pest deterrent and soil amender in the garden and for plants grown in containers.  I also make an all natural soap with coffee grinds added.  This is one of the best gardener's soaps for removing vegetation stains from hands I've found.
  • potatoes - I use small amounts of potatoes to thicken cream style soups and make potato bread.  I've even added a small amount potatoes to meatloaf.  Left-over baked potatoes are great for making baked potato soup.
  • mashable vegetables - Mashable vegetables like carrots, asparagus, cooked cabbage, and spinach blend in nicely with mashed potatoes.  I freeze left-over mashed vegetables like squash and rutabaga in muffin tin (4 oz) for later use.  After having a few meals with these left-overs there are enough squash or rutabaga frozen muffins for another meal or two.  Left-over squashes can also be used in breads, muffins and cakes.
  • milk, creams - I often substitute all or some of the water in bread recipes with the last little bit of milk.  It adds a nicer texture to the bread.  Then I rinse the carton or bag and use that to water my asparagus fern.  The reward for the diluted milk drink is a lush, green and healthy asparagus fern.  I also like freezing the last 4 oz or so of milk in ice cube trays then using a cube or two in soups and gravies as needed.
  • fruit and vegetable juices - These are great substitutes for the water in bread recipes.  They also can be used to cook rice in, add flavour to meats either as a marinade or part of the cooking liquid and can form the basis of homemade salad dressings.  Left-over bits of fruit juices can be poured into the homemade popsickle forms even if only enough for one at a time.  Continue adding more left-over juice as it becomes available to the other wells until the tray is full.  Substitute fruit juice for the water in jello or use small amounts of left-over fruit juice in fruit smoothies.
  • tomato paste - Quite often a recipe will call for a tablespoon or so leaving a good part of a small tin or home canned jar of tomato paste left-over.  I like adding a teaspoon of tomato paste to a couple of homemade breads I make.  I either freeze left-over tomato paste in ice cube trays or I dry it into tomato wafers.
  • rice and noodles - Small amounts of rice and noodles usually end up in the soup pot or in home canned soup as it is reheating.  I often stir in small amounts of left-over rice into meatloaf as well.

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