So there you are — without a plan for dinner. You don’t want to go the store. You have a pantry and a refrigerator full of food that is on the bring of spoiling, but you also don’t want to follow a recipe. Don’t you just want to be able to throw something together — like mom used to do? And support zero waste at the same time!
BE LIKE MOM
You don’t always think about how amazing your mom was or is in the zero waste food department. Moms have a way of making the most of what they have, which means a lot of hodge-podge meals, thrown together, with love and ingenuity in the kitchen. The light bulb comes on when that day comes and she visits. She rifles through the cupboards and fridge, and she somehow comes up with a masterpiece at the dinner table. Then she looks at you, like, ‘What?’
You can get there. First, think about what you have on hand, especially the vegetables that need to get used soon before going south. You may have some sort of protein in the freezer to thaw, or something you’ve been hanging onto for a while in the fridge. You have spices in the cupboard. There’s the perfect combination. Where there is a will, there is a way.
So, recently, the Onionista was in that very situation. She had frozen chicken, link sausage, peppers and onions, all days away from the trash can. Infusing mom’s spirit, she threw it together for a sheet pan meal.
She chopped up the chicken breasts into chunks, sliced up the sausage, chopped up some aging potatoes that needed to be cooked and cut up some onions onions and peppers.
The fridge revealed some other ingredients: leftover diced onions and green peppers (that were being saved for omelets but also nearing their end days). They made for a great addition to sprinkle on top. Drizzle it all with a little olive oil, sprinkle it with your favorite seasoning. No idea what temperature to cook it at? Google something similar; cook at that temperature and time, and watch closely to make sure the meal doesn’t burn.
It’s a gas finding a way to use everything from the refrigerator and pantry. Using it all means wasting nothing. In today’s age, food waste is a huge issue. In a few years, there will be millions more people to feed, and we need good, wholesome food to feed us. We need to find ways not to waste food. Think about your grandparents living in the Depression. They had to make use of EVERYTHING. If they can do it, so can you! Here’s to zero waste.
Here is an idea of what to “threw” together for your next throw-it-together meal.
Last Minute Chicken Dinner
1 lb of chicken breasts, cut into chunks.
1 link of beef or turkey sausage, sliced into chunks.
1 onion, sliced into large chunks
1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
1 orange bell pepper, cut into chunks
Cut up chicken into chunks and place on sheet pan; add slices of sausage, and chunks of all vegetables and potatoes. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle seasonings, whatever you choose. Bake for 45 minutes or so at 375 degrees. Check often after 30 minutes. Ovens and altitudes vary!
Tell us how you came out! How creative did you get and what were you able to salvage before it had to be thrown away?