Reduce Kitchen Waste and Save Money
This week I am going to talk about waste in the kitchen. We all have good intentions when it comes to this, but sometimes waste happens anyways. Here are a few ways to help you reduce kitchen waste and save money at the same time.
- homemade stock-save bones veggies
- lemons in garbage disposal, clean grill, zest first
- stale bread? make croutons
- concentrated cleaners- buy one for house
- meal plan
- utilize leftovers for new meal
- freeze leftovers
- shop more often and buy in smaller quantities
- clean out the fridge day
This may or may not be something you already do. If you garden, or even have house plants, this is an awesome way to reduce waste and put it towards great use. Any type of non processed food (like fruits and veggies) can be composted. In addition, egg shells, coffee grounds and filter, paper, grass clippings, leaves, twigs are also compostable. If you are composting outside it makes sense to include the grass and leaves. If you are using an indoor composting bin then stick with the fruit and veggie scraps as well as your coffee grounds. In 5-6 weeks you will have an amazingly nutrient dense compost material to add to your plants. This will help them thrive as it delivers an intense shot of nutrients for the plant. Just like that, BAM! No more buying plant food! Mix this compost in with soil when planting new plants or add to your garden.
A great way to use veggie scraps is to make stock. Next time you cut up celery, carrot, or onion add them to a bag and pop them into the freezer. When having a chicken (bone in) save the carcass. Once you are ready to make your stock use the veggie scraps and carcass from the freezer. Add some herbs and seasonings. Voila, homemade stock! Better than anything you can buy in the store. And it is so much cheaper to make at home! Who doesn’t love to save money and have better quality ingredients for their food?
Lemons are so multi-functional. Their juice and zest are flavorful additions to your food. In addition, they are excellent to have on hand for tough cleaning jobs. Need to clean the grate on your grill? Grab a lemon! The acid helps eat away the cooked on messes. Save that elbow grease for another job! Need to clean that garbage disposal? Throw a lemon down the disposal and let it do its magic. Not only will it smell wonderful but it will help clean and sanitize as well. If you are only utilizing the juice then be sure to zest your lemons and freeze for later uses.
We have all bought the huge french loafs at the store only to eat a 1/3 of it at dinner. The problem is, day old bread can begin getting stale. Solution? Make homemade croutons. Cube up the bread and drizzle olive oil and your favorite seasonings. Bake in oven and you have your own batch of homemade croutons. One less item on your grocery list! And one less item wasted and thrown away.
Concentrated Multi-Use Cleaners
The days of having a separate cleaner for every room and item in your house are over. Get a great concentrated multi use cleaner and a few spray bottles and you are good to go. I use doTerra’s On Guard concentrated cleaner. For about twenty bucks I can mix this at different strengths and clean my bathroom, kitchen counters, kitchen table, high chair, and even mop my floors. Space saver and money saver. Even better? It’s natural so you don’t have to worry about your kid eating off something cleaned with bleach or covered in Lysol. Oh, and this stuff smells amazing! No more huffing toxic fumes. It really is a win all the way around. The bottle lasts a long time too. Mine is over a month old and only about 1/4 of the bottle has been used.
Meal planning can go a long way in saving you money and reducing your kitchen waste. Decide what you will cook and reuse ingredients strategically. Have a recipe that calls for 1/2 cup chopped celery? Make something else to utilize the rest of the bunch so it doesn’t get thrown away. This can seem difficult at first but it becomes much easier over time. Even if you just plan something simple like ants on a log as a snack to use that extra celery you have accomplished your goal! A little planning goes a long way!
Create New Meals with Leftovers
This is one of my favorites. To be honest I hate leftovers. Eating the same thing days in a row is so boring! SO, use the leftovers to create something new. For example, if you roast a chicken on Sunday and don’t eat it all don’t fret. We can turn that leftover chicken into a yummy chicken salad to nosh on for lunch or make some chicken soup in the crock pot for dinner the next day. The possibilities are endless. Don’t settle for boring leftovers! Get creative and make something new!
Utilize Your Freezer
If you are making lasagna (or anything else) and don’t finish the meal you don’t have to eat lasagna for a week! Keep freezer safe storage options on hand and freeze your leftovers. Not only are you saving yourself from a week of glutinous pasta eating, you are also creating a freezer meal for a night when you simply don’t have time to cook. The freezer is your friend! We purchased a deep chest freezer at Lowe’s Hardware for about $100 and it was well worth the investment. It has saved us countess nights of pizza or takeout, which, lets face it, is bad for us and our wallets. Within 2 months I think the freezer easily paid for itself.
Shop More Often and Buy in Smaller Quantities
I’ll be up front. This is the hardest item on this list for me to follow. I really don’t have time to go to the store multiple times a week. But, if I do suck it up and go a few times rather than 1 large trip, I save myself a ton of waste. Produce doesn’t go bad because we couldn’t eat it quick enough. I ask my husband to pitch in for this task. I text him a list to grab on his way home from work. Be careful though, make a list and stick to it! This can get out of hand financially if you are making impulse buys multiple times a week. Find a routine that works for you.
Clean Out the Fridge Day
This is the day everyone may be eating different meals but that’s OK! Cut back waste and save yourself a night of cooking by eating the random leftovers one night. Perfect tactic for busy and tiresome days too!
You will be pleasantly surprised how easy it is to reduce kitchen waste and save money. Happy savings!!