Food Waste

Crumb-y Green Lasagna

#WhyWasteWednesday

#WhyWasteFood Wednesday is a call to action to take those almost-in-the-trash food items and turn them into delicious meals!

At least 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted every year around the world—in fields, during transport, in storage, at restaurants, and in our homes! If each individual made a call to action to stop their own food waste–the planet benefits, we have less hunger, and your own grocery bills will go down through the savings.

UN Food & Agriculture

Scraps: Soured Milk, Overripe Tomatoes,  Stale Bread, Wilted Greens

Crumb-y Green Lasagna

Fall bounty can get away from you and this recipe is a perfect chance to play catch-up. Preserve your fall garlic crop by confiting it and storing it in the fridge. Tired, blemished tomatoes can be trimmed to make a hearty sauce. Accumulate soft tomatoes in the freezer until you have enough to make a sauce. Wilted and neglected greens from spinach, chard, or kale can be sautéed into new life as a filling for this classic-style lasagna.

Ricotta

Ingredients

  • 12½ cups (3 L) soured milk, 3.25%
  • 1½ cups (350 ml) cream, 35%
  • 2 lemons, juice and zest
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp (12 g) sea salt

Directions

  1. Heat the soured milk and cream in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, stirring often so it does not scorch on the bottom.
  2. Bring to 195°F (90°C) and stir in the lemon juice and zest.
  3. Remove from heat and stir for 2 minutes until curds form.
  4. Line a large strainer with a clean towel or a piece of cheesecloth that is 4 layers thick.
  5. Pour the mixture into the strainer and let sit for whey to drain for 1 hour.
  6. Reserve whey for future use.
  7. When the ricotta has drained, transfer to a small bowl and cover.
  8. Refrigerate for 2 hours. When cool, mix the ricotta with the eggs and sea salt. Ricotta can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.

Green Confit

Ingredients

  • 12 large cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1¼ cup (300 ml) grapeseed oil

Directions

  1. Submerge the garlic cloves in a small pot filled with grapeseed oil
  2. Bring to a low simmer and reduce heat to lowest possible level. Simmer until garlic is soft when pierced with a fork, about 1 hour.
  3. Remove from heat and cool. Store the garlic in the oil and refrigerate immediately until ready to use. Use within a few days of preparing.

Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (125 ml) olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 lbs (900 g) tomatoes (can be spotty
  • and soft), bad spots removed, chopped
  • 1 tbsp (2½ g) fresh thyme leaves,
  • removed from stems
  • 1 tbsp (1½ g) rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tsp (12 g) sea salt
  • 1 tbsp (7 g) smoked paprika

Directions

  1. Heat the olive oil on medium low in a medium-sized saucepan, and add the onion and garlic.
  2. Cook for 5 minutes until translucent.
  3. Add the tomatoes, herbs, sea salt, and paprika.
  4. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally until the sauce coats the back of a spoon, about 30 minutes.
  5. Adjust seasoning to taste and set aside.

Olive Oil Crumb

Ingredients

  • 2 slices stale bread
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
  • 1 pinch sea salt

Directions

  1. Remove crusts from the bread if they are very hard.
  2. Blitz bread in a food processor until crumbly.
  3. Pour into a bowl and dress with the olive oil and sea salt.
  4. Spread on a small sheet pan and toast in a 300°F (150°C) degree oven until dry.
  5. Stir every 2 to 3 minutes to ensure even cooking.
  6. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Lasagna Assembly

Ingredients

  • 8 cups (240 g) wilted greens such as kale,
  • chard, spinach, washed and dried
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
  • 4 cups (1 L) tomato sauce (on previous page)
  • 12 pieces cooked lasagna noodles
  • 2¾ cups (687 ml) ricotta (recipe above)
  • 12 cloves garlic from garlic confit
  • (on previous page)
  • 1 cup (225 g) mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1½ cups (300 g) pecorino cheese, grated
  • Olive oil crumb (recipe above)

Directions

  1. Sauté the greens in the olive oil.
  2. In a 9×9-inch (22 cm x 22 cm) non-reactive pan, layer ⅓ of the tomato sauce on the base of the pan.
  3. Top with ⅓ of the lasagna noodles, covering with an even layer.
  4. Top with ½ of the ricotta mixture and 12 cloves of garlic, removed from the garlic confit.
  5. Layer another ⅓ of the lasagna noodles on top.
  6. Add another ⅓ of the tomato sauce and top with the final ⅓ of lasagna noodles.
  7. Top with the remaining ricotta and then sautéed greens.
  8. Finish with the remaining tomato sauce and sprinkle both cheeses and olive oil crumbs on top.
  9. Bake in a 375°F (190°C) oven for 45 minutes until hot throughout.
  10. Divide into 6 portions and serve with crusty bread or a green salad.

If you have a recipe you would like to share with us for #whywastewednesday, please email christian.bearden100@gmail.com.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#whywastewednesday  #foodfindersinc  #foodrescue #stopfoodwaste #reducehunger #improvenutrition #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #climatechange #foodupcycling #HelpEndHunger #Volunteer #Charity #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

The scrapsbook. IKEA. (n.d.). Retrieved October 18, 2022.

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Food Waste

Stopping Food Waste in Your Home

As a food rescue organization, Food Finders, Inc. is always searching for tools and tips to help make people aware of the high costs of wasting food. Today we discovered a wonderful article on building a “Sustainable Pantry.” Like most things at home, it’s about organizing things so that they are accessible and easy to find, but with food, we must make sure that good food doesn’t go to waste because we forgot about it before going bad. We hate that!! Below are some very useful tools to start the new year off right: organize pantries, refrigerators and your counter space so that you do not waste food.

Organizing your fridge prevents food waste

Building a Sustainable Pantry

Like many of us, you may have found your routine changing with news of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, whether you’re working remotely or keeping more supplies around for a possible extended stay at home. In stressful times, we usually look to food as a source of comfort. That doesn’t have to change if you follow a few guidelines and do as best you can to plan ahead. (Experts agree that it’s always a good idea for everyone to have 2-4 weeks of food on hand if budgets and space permit.)

Here are some smart and easy-to-follow tricks we’ve found for stocking up responsibly without adding to your stress.

Here’s our handy printable checklist

Source: Misfits Markets

Take stock of what you’ve got
Before you shop, do a simple pantry check and inventory what you already have. Move items that have the most recent expiration dates to the front of your pantry. Just like the FIFO (first in, first out) method for the fridge, the same rules can apply for shelf-stable items. You’ll want to eat up nearly-expired food first and plan to restock.

Buy what you like
If you’re going to have more food on hand than usual, make it stuff that you and your household already eat. If that means an abundance of pasta or soup mix—great! Keep doing what you’re doing. It’s a good idea to have both favorite snacks and nutrient-rich crowd-pleasers on hand, so don’t be tempted by labels with years-long expiration dates if it’s not something you normally eat. If by chance you don’t end up having to rely on your pantry of food, unfamiliar foods will continue to go to waste and could be better used by others who like them.

Start with non-perishables
Anything that can live in your pantry for weeks and months at a time is good to have on hand. The following items have long shelf lives with extended expiration dates. As long as you have a few on hand, you can make any meal in a pinch without sacrificing taste or nutrition:

  • Rice: A mix of short and long grain, plus varieties like risotto, can take on basically any flavor profile.
  • Dry pasta: Get long noodles as well as shorter ones like penne or bowtie so you’ve got a bit of variety on hand. If you’re looking into pasta mixes like mac and cheese, note whether you need milk to complete the recipe.
  • Cereal: Non-flavored versions can be added to snack mixes as well as your morning bowl.
  • Dried and canned beans: Dried tend to taste better when made at home but canned is easiest in a pinch.
  • Canned tomatoes and pasta sauce: Canned tomatoes work with a variety of cuisines from Indian and Italian to French.
  • Lentils: High-protein legumes are great for soups and salads. They’ll also keep you fuller, and longer if you need to space out your meals more than usual.
  • Nuts: Filled with protein, dried nuts are great for snacking and add flavor and crunch to salads. They can also stay fresh for up to 6 months.
  • Dried fruit: Perfect for snacking, salads, baking, or even rehydrating; try to invest in unsweetened versions as some are packed with sugar.
  • Peanut or nut butter: Good for spreading on bread as well as making energy balls.
  • Baking essentials: Just remember that flours expire too, so use the oldest ones first.
  • Dried herbs and spices: If you haven’t refreshed yours in a while, consider stocking up on new ones since flavor deteriorates with time.
  • Canned fish: Tuna is a go-to for sandwiches and for adding lean protein to salads if you need a meal in a pinch and don’t have access to an oven.
  • Stocks or broths: Vegetable, beef, and chicken broth are the base for many big-batch dishes like chili or bean soups.
  • Shelf-stable milks: Though dairy milk is occasionally found in shelf-stable packaging, here’s where the trend of plant-based milks really comes in handy. Consider keeping unsweetened, non-flavored (unless you really love it) almond, oat, coconut, or soy milk on hand.

In our Marketplace, we currently sell a number of deeply-discounted pantry and shelf-stable items such as oatmeal, dried lentils, and canned tomatoes—and even more goodies to come!—so you can fill your pantry while getting the fresh Misfits Market produce that you love.

Move onto fresh fruits and veggies
Some produce can last for weeks or months without refrigeration as long as it’s kept in a cool, dark, and dry place. We call these cellar foods. Many are hardy and starchy, so they help you make large and filling meals that can last a few days when refrigerated. Store the following items in a pantry or basement cellar if you have one:

  • Potatoes
  • Onions – just be sure to store far from other items, as the gasses they emit can cause other foods to ripen (and rot) faster
  • Hard/winter squash
  • Apples – as with onions, they also emit ethylene, a gas that speeds up spoiling so keep them separate from other veg
  • Beets – if yours come with greens, store in the fridge instead
  • Sunchokes
  • Rutabaga
  • Garlic

Other fruits and veggies do require refrigeration but can still keep for 1-3 weeks:

  • 1 week: mushrooms, strawberries, raspberries, green beans, zucchini
  • 1-2 weeks: brassica (cauliflower and broccoli), lettuce and leafy greens, celery, bell peppers, eggplant, blueberries, cucumbers
  • 3-4 weeks: citrus like lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit, apples (yep, we said the cellar but they will last longer in the fridge if you have room), carrots

Store fruits and veggies in the fridge with FIFO in mind: Keep the ones you need to eat first in the front of the fridge and the produce with a longer shelf life in the back. Always prioritize eating the most perishable fruits and veggies first or you’ll continue to create more food waste. Before eating produce that’s been in the fridge for a while, check for dark spots, mold, and mushy areas. You may be able to cut away bruised spots with no issues, but always smell the produce first—if it seems off, toss it.

Consider pickling
You can save time, money, and even save your Misfits Market produce from going to waste by pickling. Onions, cabbage, and even cherry tomatoes can be pickled and used for weeks if access to fresh produce is touch and go. 

Freeze everything else
Frozen foods you can quickly heat will always be a staple in any emergency, but you don’t need to rely solely on pre-made meals and packaged veggies. If you can spare the time, take a day or weekend to cook meals in batches, starting with your favorite meals and foods like chicken, roasted veggies, smoothie packs, meatloaf, and lasagna. Many of these meals can last 3-6 months in the freezer so you’ll have easy weeknight meals or blended drinks at the ready if you’re in a situation where you can’t make it to the store or if you’re in-between Misfits Market deliveries.

What’s more, bread, butter, and even eggs can be frozen. If you can’t fit everything you’ve bought in the fridge, take perishable items you always use and toss them in the freezer to use in a pinch. Just use them within a week after thawing.

Then, you’re ready to eat
In the event you’re holed up at home for any reason in the future, you can easily combine your shelf stable items with fresh produce as long as they’ve been stored and frozen properly. Pair fresh Misfits Market fruits and veggies with pantry items and you can still eat fresh, delicious, and nutritious meals like grain bowls, smoothies, tacos, one-pot pastas, soups, chilis, fried rice, and even ramen. Canned tomatoes can be paired with just about any fresh veg. Toss canned beans into salads and on top of baked potatoes. Add steamed fresh veggies and a hard boiled to instant ramen for a filling, nearly no-cook meal.

Save everything
Following the sage advice of Atlantic staff writer Amanda Mull, don’t toss anything that could be repurposed for another meal or to flavor multiple dishes.

  • Parmesan rinds add flavor to soups and homemade tomato sauces—combine canned tomatoes with tomato paste, garlic, fresh basil, salt, pepper, and a Parmesan rind. Remove the rind before serving and you have a fragrant and flavorful homemade sauce to pair with a box of pasta.
  • Veggie scraps, tips, ends, and peels can be saved and used to make a flavorful homemade stock, which can quickly become the base for homemade soups with a can of beans or chickpeas.
  • Leftover bones from whatever meat or poultry you cook can be saved to make a beef or poultry broth.
  • Even pickle juice from store bought (or homemade!) pickles can be used in place of vinegar in things like gazpacho, to brine other veggies and eggs, and even added to hummus and other dips for a tangy kick.

Got a tip for saving food indefinitely or a question about the best way to stock your pantry? Let us know in a comment below!

#foodwaste #foodfindersin #sustainable pantry #misfitsmarket #foodstorage

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Food Waste

Honey-Roasted Whole Carrot

#WhyWasteWednesday

#WhyWasteFood Wednesday is a call to action to take those almost-in-the-trash food items and turn them into delicious meals!

At least 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted every year around the world—in fields, during transport, in storage, at restaurants, and in our homes! If each individual made a call to action to stop their own food waste–the planet benefits, we have less hunger, and your own grocery bills will go down through the savings.

UN Food & Agricultural

Scraps: Whole Carrots with greens, Cilantro with white roots

This recipe uses the entire carrot, including the tops, and also an uncommon part of the cilantro, the white roots. They’re pungent and slightly peppery, which is a perfect complement to the carrot top chimichurri.

Chimichurri

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches carrots, with green tops
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) red wine vinegar
  • ½ bunch cilantro, white roots attached
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil

Cooking Instructions

  1. Rinse the carrots well, then remove the tops and set the carrots aside.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the garlic, shallot, red wine vinegar, cilantro, carrot tops, and olive oil until finely chopped (see notes).
  3. Allow the chimichurri to sit refrigerated for at least 2 hours so the greens soften and flavor the olive oil.

Roasted Whole Carrots

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (118 g) chopped walnuts
  • 2 carrots, tops and greens removed
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) grapeseed oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup (250 ml) yogurt
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) sriracha
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) honey

Cooking Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C).
  2. Toast the walnuts in the oven for 4 to 6 minutes. Set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, coat the carrots with the grapeseed oil, salt, and black pepper.
  4. Season the yogurt with salt if it’s too thin. Strain it with a fine-mesh strainer, reserving the whey. Add the whey to the chimichurri for mild acidity.
  5. Combine the sriracha and honey, and pour half the mixture over the carrots, coating them evenly. Arrange the carrots in an ovenproof pan. Bake uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes (depending on thickness), until tender and browned.
  6. Remove the carrots from the oven and drizzle with the remaining sriracha and honey.
  7. To finish, spread the yogurt on a plate and arrange the carrots on top. Spoon the chimichurri over the carrots and sprinkle with the toasted walnuts.

The scrapsbook. IKEA. (n.d.). Retrieved October 18, 2022.

If you have a recipe you would like to share with us for #whywastewednesday, please email christian.bearden100@gmail.com.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#whywastewednesday  #foodfindersinc  #foodrescue #stopfoodwaste #reducehunger #improvenutrition #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #Volunteer #Charity #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

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Food Waste

Food Inflation vs. Food Insecurity: How Inflation Has Impacted Food Insecurity Since the Start of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Overview

In the midst of the holiday season, one thing is on everyone’s mind: food. But whether food is easily accessible and affordable is another story and gives way to the different, less joyful word on everyone’s minds: inflation.

To understand the impact of inflation on current food prices in the United States, I will explore the following areas:

  • current causes of food inflation in the US,
  • the rise of food prices and impact on low-income households, and 
  • food insecurity during the holidays.
Food inflation has been on the rise especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Current Causes of Food Inflation in the US

It is important to put the current rates of inflation into context. In the United States, the price of food began to increase in mid-2021 and coincided with higher distribution costs, labor shortages, and commodity price increases in the sector. Many farmers and manufacturers saw disruptions in the supply chain which led them to shut down temporarily or permanently. Labor shortages and higher wages were reflected in the raised menu prices for customers. At the same time, global food prices were also increasing but the start of the war in Ukraine in early 2022 exacerbated these trends. Evidently, the war has put significant pressure on global food inflation which began to increase first in developing countries and then in developed ones.

COVID-19 Pandemic 

Unfortunately (but not surprisingly), the COVID-19 pandemic continues to mark our lives in numerous ways which includes inflation. Although, a global pandemic like this one is rare, this means that there is less information for policymakers to rely on regarding decision-making protocol during periods of emergency. According to a White House statement on prices during the pandemic, three temporary factors have contributed primarily to the increase in inflation: 

  1. base effects,
  2. supply chain disruptions and misalignments, and
  3. pent-up demand. 

Base effects occur when “the base, or initial month, of a growth rate is unusually low or high.” Supply chain disruptions arise when the cost of production increases and businesses decide to pass on higher prices to consumers. Finally, pent-up demand during the pandemic has led to a surge in consumers eating out at restaurants. But as Americans find less food options available compared to pre-pandemic levels, restaurant prices may increase as a result. Optimistically, the authors believe that these factors will be “transitory,” fade over time, and mimic America’s behavior following past wars and pandemics. But they do warn that history is “not a perfect guide” either.

Several sectors have experienced product shortages during the pandemic, Econofact.

Future Outlook on Food Inflation

While history may not be able to predict our future exactly, we have tools today to get a picture of what is likely to come. According to the USDA, food prices, food-at-home prices, and food-away-from-home prices are expected to “grow more slowly in 2023 than in 2022” but will remain above “historical average rates.” According to President Joe Biden’s recent statement on Personal Consumption Expenditures in October, inflation moderated and the nation is on their way to “more steady, stable economic growth” and food inflation has also slowed.

“How people believe prices are going to behave in the future plays an important role because inflation expectations can sometimes become self-fulfilling.”

– Alberto Cavallo, Associate Professor Harvard Business School

The Impact of Rising Food Prices on Consumers and Low-income Households

The rise in food prices is reflected in the changing consumer habits. According to CNN, more consumers are searching for deals, switching to off-brand choices, and eating at less pricey restaurants like IHOP and Applebee’s. Others have started shopping at cheaper grocers and buying store-bought items instead of making them at home. Most worryingly, one respondent stated that once she can afford it, she will “go back to buying more fruits and veggies.” In Los Angeles County, 12.1% of adults reported consuming five or more servings of fruits and vegetables the previous day and the rate rose with education and income. It is not difficult to understand how income can affect buying habits. Increasing food prices do not affect everyone equally. According to Rory Smead, an associate professor at Northeastern, those in the “middle class and reasonably comfortable” will not feel the impacts as much as those “working in the margins.” So with the rise in food inflation and daily fruit and vegetable consumption rates already fairly low at least in Los Angeles, a county with a high rate of food insecurity, we should be very concerned about how rising prices are affecting the long term health of low-income households.

Rates of different age groups in fruit and vegetable consumption in Los Angeles, Dignity Health St. Mary Medical Center, p. 94

COVID-19 Pandemic and Food Insecurity

According to the White House National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, the COVID-19 pandemic “exacerbated food insecurity, diet-related diseases, and health disparities” and disrupted a decade-long downward trend in food insecure households with children (p. 6). In 2021, the USDA reported that 13.5 million (10.2%) US households were food insecure at some point during the year while 8.4 million (6.4%) US households reported low food security. In California, 8 million residents struggle with food insecurity and in Los Angeles County, 30% of low-income residents don’t know where their next meal will come from. NYU also found that the pandemic increased food insecurity especially among families with children and that school closures made it more difficult for children to access meals through the National School Lunch program.

National School Lunch Program lunches served 1971-2021, USDA

Food Insecurity During the Holidays

The holiday season can be the busiest times of year for food banks and with the impact of the pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine on inflation and food prices, food-insecure households and individuals are even more vulnerable during this time of year. Additionally, as schools close for the winter break, students who benefit from the National School Lunch Program temporarily lose access to a source of food. 

As we continue to ease the pandemic restrictions on everyday life, economic instability and uncertainty remain. That is why the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health is so important. In its first pillar, The National Strategy recognizes the need for economic security and providing Americans and their families with more income through expanding the Child Tax Credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the minimum wage.

In the meantime, families need to eat now which is what many organizations and groups are focused on throughout the country year-round.

Food Finders

Food Finders, anticipating the increased need during the holidays, holds an annual Holiday Food Drive to collect food for their non-profit partners. It begins October 1st through December 31st. Throughout November, Food Finders held a Turkey Drive and during their Holiday Pack and Sort event on November 19th and 20th, the organization distributed 2,322 food boxes for agencies to provide for families and assembled a total of 4,231 boxes. They also distributed 2,600 turkeys during the event and provided an additional 200 turkeys and 100 hams during the month of December.

What Can You Do To Help?

Food Finders works daily to change how food waste is distributed to eliminate hunger and food insecurity. If you would like more information, please visit our website, volunteer, or support our mission to eliminate hunger and food waste by making a donation today.

#inflation #hunger #foodprices #pandemic #covid19 #foodinsecurity

Nickee O’Bryant is the Community Outreach and Advocacy Intern at Food Finders. She is a senior at California State University, Long Beach and is studying International Studies and French and Francophone Studies. Through monthly blog posts, Nickee documents her journey as she learns more about food insecurity, food waste, and how they are interconnected.

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Food Waste

Tips and Ideas for using those Thanksgiving Scraps and Leftovers

#WhyWasteWednesday

#WhyWasteFood Wednesday is a call to action to take those almost-in-the-trash food items and turn them into delicious meals!

At least 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted every year around the world—in fields, during transport, in storage, at restaurants, and in our homes! If each individual made a call to action to stop their own food waste–the planet benefits, we have less hunger, and your own grocery bills will go down through the savings.

UN Food & Agricultural

Scraps: seeds, butternut squash peels, apple peels, vegetable fat, turkey carcass, giblets, pie crust

Ideas for Leftovers

Thanksgiving leftovers are a huge part of the holiday. A celebration of harvest, many spend time with family, and indulge in large spreads of savory and sweet dishes. Read about ways to reduce your Thanksgiving food waste here: http://foodfinders.org/2022/11/16/tips-for-reducing-your-food-waste-this-thanksgiving/. Even with steps to be mindful and take action against food waste, leftovers on Thanksgiving are unavoidable, and often sought after. Here are a few quick tips to make something new out of your holiday scraps and leftovers:

  • Use seeds and butternut squash peels as a crispy garnish for any soup or salad
  • Use apple peels with cinnamon, sugar, and lemon juice for baked crisps
  • Any scraps can be used for vegetable broth (freeze scraps for future broth, or make and then freeze broth)
  • Rendered or strained fat can be refrigerated and saved for roasting vegetables or sautéing ingredients for hash made with other leftovers
  • Simmer turkey carcass with some aromatics for an outstanding soup stock 
  • Giblets included with our turkey can be used as part of dressing or gravy 
  • Leftover pie crusts can be brushed with butter, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, twisted into any shape and baked for a quick, sweet treat

Check out all these and more in Food editor Joe Yonan’s piece on root-to-leaf and seed-to-stem cooking with fruits and vegetables.


Yonan, J. (2021, April 23). Perspective | cut waste and boost flavor with skin-to-seed recipes that use the whole vegetable. The Washington Post. Retrieved November 14, 2022.

If you have a recipe you would like to share with us for #whywastewednesday, please email christian.bearden100@gmail.com.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#whywastewednesday  #foodfindersinc  #foodrescue #stopfoodwaste #reducehunger #improvenutrition #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #Volunteer #Charity #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

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Climate

Tips for Reducing Your Food Waste This Thanksgiving

#WhyWasteFoodWednesday

#WhyWasteFoodWednesday is a call to action to take those almost-in-the-trash food items and turn them into delicious meals!

At least 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted every year around the world—in fields, during transport, in storage, at restaurants, and in our homes! If each individual made a call to action to stop their own food waste–the planet benefits, we have less hunger, and your own grocery bills will go down through the savings.

UN Food & Agricultural

How to Reduce Food Waste at Thanksgiving Dinner

Food waste is a year-round concern, and the large Thanksgiving meal can present a challenge. You’re buying many more ingredients, and you’re making large-scale recipes with lots of potential leftovers. You may be preoccupied with the business of the holiday season, so keeping your food waste in mind can become a small concern. But there are easy ways to reduce food waste and, therefore your environmental impact, even around the holidays. Here are a few tips geared toward Thanksgiving dinner.

Plan How Much Food to Make

Until you know how many people you’re cooking for, you’ll be unable to plan portions accurately. Press for answers and get people to commit. Not only will this ensure you’re not overcooking, it will also benefit party planning in general.

Make an Entire Thanksgiving with Fewer Ingredients 

The variety of dishes is a key part of Thanksgiving dinners. Part of the problem is that it can mean separate lists of ingredients for every recipe. But it’s ok if there’s some overlap between your courses; it’s smart, thrifty, and eco-friendly, because it means less packaging and less of a chance that you’re going to have lots of half-used bottles and cans hanging around your fridge or pantry waiting to go bad. Even better, synchronizing ingredients and flavors can make your meal seem like a well-thought-out package and make you look like a genius menu planner. 

Use Every Ingredient Wisely

After you’ve shopped and before you reach the leftovers phase, there are ways to make smart use of the extra bits of various ingredients. A great read is a piece by Food editor Joe Yonan’s; “root-to-leaf and seed-to-stem cooking.” He shows you how to use the more expected seeds and the less expected peels of butternut squash for a crispy garnish that would work on any soup or salad. When you have peels left from an apple pie, toss them with cinnamon, sugar, and lemon juice and then bake them to make crisps. At the very least, hang on to scraps for vegetable broth. Freeze the scraps, or make the broth and then freeze that.

The same line of thought applies to whatever meat you may be serving, as well. Rendered or strained fat can be refrigerated and saved for roasting vegetables or sautéing ingredients for hash made from leftovers. Get the most out of your turkey carcass by simmering them with some aromatics for an outstanding stock to be used in future soups. Giblets included with your turkey can become part of the dressing or gravy. Extra pie crust or crust trimmings can be brushed in butter, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, twisted into any shape you want and baked for a quick sweet treat.

How to Use and Store Leftovers

Even if you’ve calculated the exact amount for the number of people at your Thanksgiving, you’re probably going to end up with at least some leftovers. And, to many, leftovers are an important part of Thanksgiving.

To prepare, have lots of containers for packing up food on hand. Your usual glass or plastic hard-sided options are perfect. If you’re planning to send guests home with food, consider asking them to bring their own storage containers. That way, no one is scrambling when it comes time to pack up.

And be mindful of how long food is put out for. Perishable food, including turkey and many sides, can be left at room temperature for 2 hours. Even less is better, so as soon as everyone is done eating, start cleaning up, as much of a drag as it can be. Eat your refrigerated leftovers within four days. If you need to buy yourself more time, go ahead and freeze them before the four days are out, though ideally sooner for the best quality. Hand out leftovers to guests when they leave.


Krystal, B. (2022, November 10). Advice | how to reduce food waste at Thanksgiving dinner. The Washington Post. Retrieved November 14, 2022.

If you have a recipe you would like to share with us for #whywastewednesday, please email christian.bearden100@gmail.com.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#whywastewednesday  #foodfindersinc  #foodrescue #stopfoodwaste #reducehunger #improvenutrition #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #Volunteer #Charity #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

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Climate

Corn Husk Smocked Chicken

#WhyWasteFoodWednesday

#WhyWasteFood Wednesday is a call to action to take those almost-in-the-trash food items and turn them into delicious meals!

At least 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted every year around the world—in fields, during transport, in storage, at restaurants, and in our homes! If each individual made a call to action to stop their own food waste–the planet benefits, we have less hunger, and your own grocery bills will go down through the savings.

UN Food & Agriculture

Scraps: Corn Cobs, Corn Husks, Corn Silks

Corn Husk Smoked Chicken

Corn is delicious, but creates more waste than what ends up on the plate. That’s the inspiration behind this dish. This is a delicious dinner that uses all the parts that typically end up in the compost. 

Creamy Polenta

Ingredients

  • 5 corn cobs
  • 1½ tsp (9g) kosher salt
  • ⅓ cup (90g) coarse ground cornmeal 
  • 2 tbsp (30g) freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano 
  • 1 tbsp (14g) unsalted butter

Directions

  1. In a heavy-based saucepan, combine the corn cobs with enough water to cover them. Heat over medium-high heat just until it begins to boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 1 hour, covered. 
  2. Strain and discard the corn cobs. Return the corn stock to the stove and simmer over medium-high heat. Add the kosher salt. Add the cornmeal and whisk the mixture as it comes to a boil. Continue whisking for an additional 3 minutes. 3 4 
  3. Reduce the heat to very low, cover the pan, and cook the polenta, stirring every  5 minutes or so (switch to a wooden spoon from this point forward), until the cornmeal is completely cooked and quite tender,  2½ to 3½ hours. It may seem too thin initially, but it will gradually thicken.  As the polenta cooks, a skin will form on the bottom and sides of the pan (if you are not using a non-stick pan), which is proper and gives the polenta a slightly toasty flavor. 
  4. Fold in the cheese and butter until fully incorporated.

Corn Silk

Ingredients 

  • 2 cobs of corn worth of corn silk 
  • 4 cups (1 L) canola oil 
  • ½ tsp (3 g) kosher salt 
  • ¼ tsp (1 g) smoked paprika

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 165F(75C)
  2. discard any dark brown/black silk. Transfer the remaining silk to a parchment lined baking sheet and dehydrate in the oven overnight. 
  3. Fill a heavy-bottomed pot with oil and bring to 400°F (205°C) over medium heat and fry the silk for 15 seconds, or until crispy and golden. 
  4. Transfer to a paper towel to drain, and season with kosher salt and smoked paprika.

Chicken

Ingredients

  • 2 whole corn husks 
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts, skin on 
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) canola oil 
  • 1½ tsp (9 g) kosher salt 
  • 2 tsp (2 g) rosemary, finely chopped 
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced 
  • 1 cup (125 g) chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned and torn

Directions

  1. Submerge the corn husks in cold water and soak for 1 hour. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). 
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the chicken with 1 tbsp (15 ml) of the canola oil, 1 tsp (3 g)  of kosher salt, 1 tsp (1 g) of rosemary, and 2 cloves of garlic. 
  4. Drain the corn husks and place in an ovenproof pan. Warm the husks over medium-high heat until they begin  to smoke. immediately transfer to the bottom of the oven. 
  5. In a different ovenproof pan, warm the remaining canola oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers and runs easily across the pan. Add the chicken breasts, skin side down, and cook until the skin turns a medium golden brown. Flip the chicken breasts over and transfer to the oven. Be sure to turn on your hood fan as the smoke from the corn husks will billow from the oven and potentially irritate your eyes. roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked completely. 
  6. Transfer the chicken to a plate to rest. return the pan to the stovetop over medium-high heat and add the chanterelle mushrooms. Once they begin to sizzle in the rendered chicken fat and juices, add the remaining rosemary and garlic. Cook for another minute and remove the pan from heat.

Plating

Place half the polenta in the center of a plate and garnish with mushroom-rosemary-garlic mixture. Top with 1 chicken breast and finish with a nest of silk. Repeat with the remaining polenta and chicken breast.


If you have a recipe you would like to share with us for #whywastewednesday, please email christian.bearden100@gmail.com.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#whywastewednesday  #foodfindersinc  #foodrescue #stopfoodwaste #reducehunger #improvenutrition #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #Volunteer #Charity #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

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Climate

Flotsam Filo Pie

#WhyWasteWednesday

#WhyWasteFood Wednesday is a call to action to take those almost-in-the-trash food items and turn them into delicious meals!

At least 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted every year around the world—in fields, during transport, in storage, at restaurants, and in our homes! If each individual made a call to action to stop their own food waste–the planet benefits, we have less hunger, and your own grocery bills will go down through the savings.

UN Food & Agriculture

Scraps: leftover meat or fish, leftover vegetables, leftover herb stems

Serves: 6

Prep: 40-45 minutes

Cook: 35-40 minutes

Vardagen: Baking Pan

Flotsam Filo Pie

Filo pie is known as börek in Turkish. It’s a quintessential dish you can eat almost every day, with there being countless varieties that offer different shapes and fillings that will satisfy every taste. This recipe is perfect to change and make the best use of leftover food and still enjoy a tasty, pleasant meal. Serve it with tomato cucumber salad in summer and with mixed salad greens in winter.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (150 g) leftover cooked protein such as fish, beef, lamb
  • 1 cup (90 g) leftover vegetable bits (raw or cooked); can be a mixture, finely chopped
  • 1 cup (200 g) leftover herb stems such as parsley, dill, cilantro, tarragon, chives, or chervil, finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup (250 ml) milk
  • ½ cup (125 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 package filo sheets
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp (9 g) nigella, sesame, caraway, or fennel seeds (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix all chopped ingredients, and depending on their original seasoning, add the salt and black pepper.
  3. Combine the milk and vegetable oil in a small bowl.
  4. Lay the filo sheets on the kitchen counter or a table and cover them with a slightly damp cloth to prevent them from drying and cracking.
  5. Use 2 filo sheets per pie, brushing them with the milk and oil mixture. Spread 2 to 3 tbsp (30 to 45 ml) of filling on 1 long edge, about 1-inch (2½ cm) thick. Roll the filled portion of the sheet loosely to the other end, and then swirl it to create a snail shape. Repeat until all of the filling has been used.
  6. Place them on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
  7. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolk with a ½ tsp (2 ml) of water. Brush the mixture onto each pie and sprinkle them with the seeds.
  8. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, and enjoy!

Note

Nigella and sesame seeds pair with any filling, while caraway seeds pair well with a meat filling. Fennel seeds complement any fish or seafood filling.


If you have a recipe you would like to share with us for #whywastewednesday, please email christian.bearden100@gmail.com.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#whywastewednesday  #foodfindersinc  #foodrescue #stopfoodwaste #reducehunger #improvenutrition #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #Volunteer #Charity #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

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Two plates of pesto pasta taken from above place on a wooden table on top of green placemats with a glass of water and a wooden cutting board with pesto and a spoon on it.Climate

Save those Halloween Pumpkin Seeds for this Crispier Pesto Pasta

#WhyWasteFood Wednesday is a call to action to take those almost-in-the-trash food items and turn them into delicious meals!

At least 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted every year around the world—in fields, during transport, in storage, at restaurants, and in our homes! If each individual made a call to action to stop their own food waste–the planet benefits, we have less hunger, and your own grocery bills will go down through the savings.

UN Food & Agricultural

Scraps: Wilted Greens, Pumpkin Seeds


This pesto recipe is a wonderful compliment to leafy greens-especially those on the edge of being composted. It can be used in any recipe where you would normally use pesto. Also make delicious use of those leftover pumpkin seeds from your holiday carving. Freshen it up with herbs and your friends won’t even know they are eating salad that has been saved from the compost!

Ingredients

Pesto

  • 2 cups (60g) packed mixed greens, slightly wilted
  • 2 cups (60g) packed basil/herb stems
  • 1 cups (118g) pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup (125ml) olive oil 
  • 1 clove garlic 
  • Salt to taste 

Pasta

  • 7 oz (200g) penne or any dried pasta
  • ¼ cup (60ml) olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup (150g) cherry tomatoes 
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) pesto (recipe above)
  • ¼ (7½ g) arugula leaves
  • 2 tsbp (30ml) fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup (60g) parmesan cheese, grated

Directions

Pesto

  1. Place all Ingredients in a blender and let it rip. Set aside for pasta. 

Pasta

  1. In a large pot, boil water and cook the pasta according to package directions. Strain and set aside. 
  2. In the same pot, over medium heat, ass the olive oil and sweat the garlic and cherry tomatoes with a generous pinch of salt 
  3. Add the cooked pasta and toss, then add a large tablespoon of pesto and toss
  4. Season with salt, and stir in arugula leaves 
  5. Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle with the lemon juice and grated parmesan

Notes

To prevent the color of the pesto from browning, blanch the greens and herbs in boiling water for 45 seconds. Cool over an ice bath before using. 

The 3 P’s

Pickle, preserve, and pesto. Think of this as a kitchen mantra (or a delightful tongue twister). For just about every fruit, vegetable, or herb you can think of, there’s at least one pickle, preserve, or pesto you can turn it into. Turn your wilting greens into pesto. Save up your bruised fruit in the freezer and turn it into jam. Pickle your wrinkling veggies and enjoy them later.

You can also use herbs, garlic, chilies, and lemons to infuse cooking oil. Your taste buds will be most grateful. Use a simple jar or bottle like Korken and watch the magic happen. 


If you have a recipe you would like to share with us for #whywastewednesday, please email christian.bearden100@gmail.com.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#whywastewednesday  #foodfindersinc  #foodrescue #stopfoodwaste #reducehunger #improvenutrition #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #Volunteer #Charity #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

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MAc & Rinds from above on white marble tableFood Waste

Mac & Rinds

#WhyWasteFood Wednesday is a call to action to take those almost-in-the-trash food items and turn them into delicious meals!

At least 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted every year around the world—in fields, during transport, in storage, at restaurants, and in our homes! If each individual made a call to action to stop their own food waste–the planet benefits, we have less hunger, and your own grocery bills will go down through the savings.

UN Food & Agricultural

Scraps: Cheese Rinds, Stale Bread

Enjoying a selection of cheese is always a treat, but often leaves leftovers with no set purpose. With such offerings, let’s make a béchamel with all those ends. Rich and delicious, it’s sure to be enjoyed!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (500 ml) milk
  • 1 cup (225 g) cheese trimmings
  • ¼ cup (56 g) butter
  • ½ cup (65 g) flour
  • Salt to taste
  • 1¾ cups (250 g) macaroni
  • ½ cup (120 g) cheddar or mozzarella
  • ¼ cup (30 g) bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup (60 g) parmesan cheese, grated (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C).
  2. Gently simmer the milk over medium heat with the cheese trimmings in a medium-sized pot for about 15 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning. Strain and set aside.
  3. In a separate medium-sized pot, melt the butter and add the flour.
  4. Cook on low heat until the butter and flour comes together. Continue to cook for another 5 to 10 minutes until the raw flour taste disappears.
  5. Slowly drizzle the infused milk and cheese mixture into the flour, whisking continuously to prevent lumps from forming. Simmer gently until the mixture comes together and looks smooth. Season with salt.
  6. While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni, reduce heat, and gently boil until al dente, according to package directions.
  7. Drain the macaroni, add to the sauce, and stir. Once the macaroni is well coated, transfer to an ovenproof dish.
  8. Evenly sprinkle with cheddar or mozzarella, followed by the bread crumbs and Parmesan, if using.
  9. Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.

Notes

I like to use Parmesan rinds, ends of brie, or any soft cheese. The stronger the cheese flavor, the stronger the sauce flavor. Avoid blue cheese and goat cheese if you don’t like the strong aroma.

If you have a recipe you would like to share with us for #whywastewednesday, please email christian.bearden100@gmail.com.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#whywastewednesday  #foodfindersinc  #foodrescue #stopfoodwaste #reducehunger #improvenutrition #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #Volunteer #Charity #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

The scrapsbook. IKEA. (n.d.). Retrieved October 18, 2022.

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Food Waste

No Waste Carrot Gnudi

#WhyWasteWednesday

#WhyWasteFood Wednesday is a call to action to take those almost-in-the-trash food items and turn them into delicious meals!

At least 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted every year around the world—in fields, during transport, in storage, at restaurants, and in our homes! If each individual made a call to action to stop their own food waste–the planet benefits, we have less hunger, and your own grocery bills will go down through the savings.

UN Food & Agricultural

A great way to reduce your food waste is trying as often as you can to cook meals using as many parts of the ingredients as possible. This Gnudi is a perfect example, making use of the entire carrot. Gnudi are gnocchi-like dumplings made with ricotta cheese instead of potato, with semolina. Pillow-y and lighter than gnocchi, this fresh Carrot Gnudi, as a delicious way to reduce your food waste. 

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch baby (Dutch) carrots, trimmed, leaves reserved
  • 500g carrots, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 250g fresh ricotta
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup (40g) finely grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
  • 2 heaped tbsp plain flour, plus extra to dust
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon, plus lemon wedges to serve

Cooking Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Wash carrot leaves and set aside. Place chopped carrots and baby carrots on 2 baking trays and drizzle each tray with 2 tbsp oil. Season, then roast for 40-50 minutes until tender and lightly caramelized. Set the carrots aside to cool.
  2. Melt 20g butter in a frypan over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook, stirring, for 5-6 minutes until soft. Transfer to a food processor with chopped carrots (don’t use baby carrots) and whiz until almost smooth.
  3. Transfer to a bowl with ricotta, egg, parmesan and flour, and stir to combine. Season. Using two dessert spoons, shape spoonful’s of mixture into ovals and place on a baking paper-lined baking tray dusted with extra flour. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil over high heat.
  4. In 3 batches, cook gnudi for 2-3 minutes until they float. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.
  5. Melt remaining 40g butter in a pan over medium-high heat. Cook gnudi, turning gently, for 3-4 minutes until golden. Remove and keep warm.
  6. Add baby carrots, leaves and lemon juice and zest to the pan. Season. Cook, tossing, for 2-3 minutes until wilted and warmed through.
  7. Serve gnudi with baby carrots, leaves, extra parmesan and lemon wedges.

If you have a recipe you would like to share with us for #whywastewednesday, please email christian.bearden100@gmail.com.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#whywastewednesday #foodfindersinc  #foodrescue #stopfoodwaste #reducehunger #improvenutrition #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #Volunteer #Charity #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

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Food Waste

No-Waste Stockpile Soup

#WhyWasteWednesday

This version of minestrone is basically a hearty lamb stew. It should use the best of what is around and can be made at any time of the year. It’s a great way to maximize roast leftovers, plus use up those quarter bags of pasta from the pantry. When it’s warmer, keep it fresher and serve with less broth. In the cooler months, add some bacon, serve it with bread and use it to warm your cockles.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (125ml) olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
  • 50g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 100g pancetta, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 parmesan rind
  • 1 cup (250ml) tomato passata
  • 250g leftover cooked lamb, shredded
  • 150g uncooked dried pasta ‘ends’ (we used caserecci, risoni and fusilli)
  • 80g sugar snap peas
  • 4 zucchini flowers, stamens removed, stems thinly sliced, petals torn
  • Snow pea tendrils & watercress sprigs, to serve

Lamb Stock

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, carrot, celery stalk & tomato, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • 1 tsp saffron threads
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) white wine
  • 1kg leftover roast lamb bones (from leg or shoulder)

Cooking Instructions

  1. For the stock, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, tomato, garlic, thyme and saffron. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes or until onion has softened. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until darkened slightly. Add wine and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until reduced slightly.
  2. Add lamb bones and 3L (12 cups) water, and bring to the boil. Skim any foam from the surface with a spoon, reduce heat to low and simmer gently, stirring every 30 minutes, for 2 hours or until infused. Remove from heat and set aside for 20 minutes to cool slightly. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl, discarding solids. Chill for 2 hours or until fat solidifies on surface. Skim off fat and discard.
  3. To make the soup, heat oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, pancetta, garlic, carrot and celery, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes or until onion has softened. Add parmesan rind, passata, lamb stock and shredded lamb. Increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  4. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a saucepan of boiling salted water according to packet instructions or until al dente. Drain and stir through soup.
  5. Blanch sugar snap peas in a saucepan of boiling water for 2 minutes or until just tender. Drain and refresh. Pod half sugar snaps, reserving pods. Thinly slice reserved pods and remaining sugar snaps.
  6. Divide minestrone among serving bowls. Scatter with sugar snap pea, zucchini flower, snow pea tendrils and watercress. Drizzle with extra oil to serve.

Serves: 6

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Ingredients: 22

Difficulty: Easy

If you have a recipe you would like to share with us for #whywastewednesday, please email christian.bearden100@gmail.com.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#meatlessmonday #foodfindersinc  #foodrescue #stopfoodwaste #reducehunger #improvenutrition #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #Volunteer #Charity #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

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Food Waste

Leftover Chicken, Tostada Cups

#WhyWasteFoodWednesday

Wondering what to do with leftover chicken?

A dinner classic, chicken is a staple of any house, and often leaves extra for the rest of the week. Finding new ways to liven them up can become a challenge.  Follow this recipe to make tonight’s leftovers better than yesterday’s family favorite. 

Ingredients

  • 12 corn tortillas (6 inches), warmed
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
  • 1 cup shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend
  • Optional toppings: Shredded lettuce, reduced-fat sour cream, chopped cilantro, diced avocado, sliced jalapeno, lime wedges, sliced ripe olives, sliced green onions, sliced radishes, and pico de gallo or additional salsa

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Press warm tortillas into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray, pleating sides as needed. Spritz tortillas with additional cooking spray.
  2. Bake until lightly browned, 5-7 minutes. Toss chicken with salsa. Layer each cup with beans, chicken mixture and cheese.
  3. Bake until heated through, 9-11 minutes. Serve with toppings as desired.

Nutrition Facts

2 tostada cups: 338 calories, 11g fat (4g saturated fat), 52mg cholesterol, 629mg sodium, 35g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 6g fiber), 25g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 2 starch, 1 fat.


If you have a recipe you would like to share with us for #whywastewednesday, please email christian.bearden100@gmail.com.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#meatlessmonday #foodfindersinc  #foodrescue #stopfoodwaste #reducehunger #improvenutrition #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #Volunteer #Charity #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

Taste of Home. (2022, March 31). Chicken tostada cups. Taste of Home.

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Food Waste

Making Use of Forgotten Vegetables

#WhyWasteWednesday

#WhyWasteFood Wednesday is a call to action to take those almost-in-the-trash food items and turn them into delicious meals!

“At least 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted every year around the world—in fields, during transport, in storage, at restaurants, and in our homes! If each individual made a call to action to stop their own food waste–the planet benefits, we have less hunger, and your own grocery bills will go down through the savings.”

UN Food & Agricultural

Forgotten Vegetable Stew

Note: This is #NationalFarmersMarketWeek. Use this recipe not only to make use of forgotten veggies in the house but also to support local farmers and visit your local farmers’ market. See our Farmer’s Market Resources

This tasteful vegetable stew recipe helps clean out your fridge every few weeks and gives you a sense of satisfaction about not being wasteful. The best part is that there are no rules—it’s totally freestyle since you will use whatever you have available, and every time you will enjoy a different flavor. Serve this versatile meal as lunch or dinner, or take it home. It’s a meal, but it is a great side dish if you don’t have enough vegetables to make ample portions. You can serve this meal and impress your guests with a little effort and creativity. No one will know that you are serving from the bottom of your fridge.

Ingredients

  • 6–8 cups (280–450 g) leftover or forgotten veggies such as eggplant, zucchini, carrots, potatoes, beans, squash, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale (whatever is available; the more bits the merrier) 
  • 1 bell pepper 
  • ½ pepper (chili or jalapeño for heat lovers) 
  • 1 medium fresh tomato, 2 tbsp (30 ml) tomato sauce, or 1 tbsp (15 ml) tomato paste 
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced lengthwise about ¼ inch (½ cm) 
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed 
  • 1 tsp (6 g) or salt and black pepper to taste 
  • ¼ cup (12 g) leftover herb stems with or without leaves, chopped

Directions

  1. Gather up forgotten, unused or half-used vegetables. If using eggplant or potatoes, cut into 1-inch (2½ cm) cubes and soak in salted water for about 20 to 30 minutes before using. Rinse and pat dry. If using zucchini or carrots, cut them the same size as the eggplant. If using cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, or kale, blanch separately in salted boiling water and cool in cold water. Cut stems to about 1-inch (2 to 3 cm) pieces. If using a bell pepper (any color available), sliced lengthwise about ½-inch (1 cm) thick. If using a jalapeño or chili, add a very small amount or as much heat as you can handle. If using fresh tomato, peel and cut into about 1-inch (2½ cm) pieces. If using tomato paste, dilute 1 tbsp (15 ml) with ½ cup (125 ml) water. 
  2. Heat a big pot over medium-high heat. Add the vegetable oil and onion slices, and sweat for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic clove and sauté for two more minutes. Stir in all vegetables except the tomato. Place the tomato pieces, sauce, or diluted tomato paste on top of the vegetables. Season with about 1 tsp (6 g) or to taste of salt and black pepper. Cover the pot, lower the heat, and cook for about 30 minutes. 
  3. Check the vegetables for doneness with a fork. They should be soft but still holding their form. Add the herbs and stems.
  4. Remove and cool with the lid on until the stew reaches room temperature. It’s better to serve at room temperature with your favorite rice or slices of crusty bread to sop up the sauce. 

Notes

  • This aromatic, delicious meal tastes even better the next day.
  • Take it out of the fridge half an hour before serving.
  • Gluten-free, vegan-friendly.

If you have a recipe you would like to share with us for #whywastewednesday, please email christian.bearden100@gmail.com.If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger, help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

Ikea scrapsbook – zero-waste recipes & ideas. IKEA ScrapsBook – Zero-Waste Recipes & Ideas – IKEA CA. (n.d.). Retrieved July 19, 2022.

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why waste food wednesday blog postFood Waste

Stop Wasting Food: Plan It Out

According to the FDA, an estimated 30% to 40% of the food supply is wasted in the United States. This is a problem for several reasons. First of all, it costs a lot of money—more than $400 billion in 2019, according to ReFed. In addition, all the water, energy, and labor used to produce this wasted food could have been reallocated for consumption instead of lost. That means that we could not only be saving water and the environment, but helping to feed food insecure people as well.

As a full-time Nutrition and Dietetics student and intern at Food Finders, nutrition and reducing hunger and food waste are essential to my life.  In my junior year at California State, Long Beach, I learned how many people in the United States go to bed hungry every night, so many of them are children, and my heart broke.  I knew then that my passion for nutrition and eating for wellness was not all I would devote my time to.

Planning Reduce Food Waste

I have found out that most people are not aware of how throwing away food is changing our planet. Since working with Food Finders, A food rescue organization in Southern California, I have learned that reducing the amount of food that goes into landfills would help address climate change. I know that sounds crazy, but it is true! Food waste that decomposes in landfills releases methane—a greenhouse gas nearly 30 times as potent as carbon dioxide. And since 20% of U.S. methane emissions come from landfills, reducing food waste in landfills would help lessen methane emissions and improve our planet.

How can you help? PLAN.

Low-carb chicken enchiladas, black beans, and Spanish rice

Just by planning out meals each week, in most cases, I can prevent food waste in my home.  Having meals, fresh fruits, and vegetables ready for a busy week is a great feeling.  I know how life is. We get busy and forget what is in the refrigerator. Maybe they order pizza at work and your delicious leftovers go bad. It always made me feel bad to throw away a good meal but now that I know I am hurting planet earth too–well, we can all be better.

One of the ways I reduce my overall waste and save on my grocery bill is to plan out meals, cook them, and package them up for lunches and dinner throughout the week.

I just love the feeling of getting in my home, tired, hungry and opening up the fridge to a choice of delicious meals already prepped and ready to eat.

Avoiding Disaster: FREEZE ‘EM

It is super easy to forget fruits and veggies and when they go bad, it is fast! So I use the freezer to help me reduce food waste. I like to freeze most of my fruits for future use in smoothies, spreads, and salad dressings. I place the fruit in vacuum-sealed bags and label and dated them (you can also use zip lock bags but be sure to remove as much air as possible).

On those weeks when I have prepped and planned my meals and realize that I am not going to be able to eat them all I prefer to reach out to my neighbors. Most of them know I am nutrition student and now a #FoodWasteHero (who is mindful not to throw good food away) so they will usually take the meals off my hand.  Before I started working with Food Finders, I usually didn’t have a backup plan in case they couldn’t use them. Now I am a member of a social media group that is all about giving and receiving for free.  It is where I have witnessed the kindest of strangers cooking hot meals for group members in need and giving away perishables and non-perishable foods.  It makes my heart happy to see my community in action. 

Making A Plan

Start by writing out a grocery list with all the recipes you will cook this week. Not only will this save on your grocery bills, but it makes shopping faster. Next, have a prep day and cook everything you need, dividing portions into containers. Sometimes you can freeze meals, depending on what you are preparing for the week. Households throw away 43% of all the food that ends up in landfills in the United States. That is a horrible statistic and one that is very preventable with planning.

Get the whole family involved in the planning, prepping, and packaging. You might be surprised at how fun and easy it can be to #stopfoodwaste and help save the planet.

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Kelly Alarcon is a full-time student and Intern at Food Finders, Inc.

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Leftovers QuicheFood Waste

Managing Extra Leftovers

#WhyWasteFoodWednesday

We’ve all bought more than we have had a use for. Maybe we had different intentions of how we would use it, or the vegetables and packages of meat or dairy were just too large. No matter the cause, what can we do to make use of this excess? Avoid wasting food, save money, increase sustainability, and maximize convenience; there are many reasons to plan meals around the food on hand and make use of items you may otherwise have thrown out. There are many ‘go to’ lunches and dinners that are a perfect way to use this surplus. 

A great plan is to cook food today so it lasts longer for future meals. Wilting spinach today can be cooked and saved for meals up to three or four days longer than if left raw. 

Use the food you have on hand in a delicious and super easy Quiche recipe. Extend food life and avoid wasting food by using the vegetables, dairy, and meat you have in your home right now; true home cooking idea. This recipe helps you make a delicious, nutritious, and now sustainable, healthy quiche.


#WhyWasteFood Wednesday is a call to action to take those almost-in-the-trash food items and turn them into a delicious meal!

At least 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted every year around the world—in fields, during transport, in storage, at restaurants, and in our homes! If each individual made a call to action to stop their own food waste–the planet benefits, we have less hunger, and your own grocery bills will go down through the savings.

UN Food & Agricultural

Leftovers Quiche

Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yokes use whites to brush the pastry for golden brown color
  • 2 cup dairy or dairy substitute: cream, milk, sour cream, ricotta, creme fraiche, plain yogurt, cottage cheese use up what you have; 2 cups / 300 grams
  • 1 tsp salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp pepper and spice to taste
  • 1 cup cubed, cooked meat use up what you have; 1 cup / 150 grams
  • 1 ½ cups vegetables (uncooked or cooked) use what you have, or one package of frozen; 1.5 cups / 200-250 grams
  • ½ cup cheese use what you have; 0.5 cup / 75 grams
  • 1 sheet shop-bought pastry – puff pastry or pie crust or made a quick pastry from your pantry

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Directions

Prepare the Crust

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F / 180 C
  2. Line tart/pie dish with rolled out pastry (rolled out at 5 mm or thickness of a nickel thick)
  3. Put parchment paper over the dish and fill with ceramic baking beans/rice/lentils
  4. Bake for 5 minutes; remove from oven; remove parchment paper and baking beans/rice/lentils
  5. Brush pastry base, interior sides and top crust with egg white, OXO Good Grips from Amazon has excellent pastry brushes and more
  6. Bake again for 5 minutes until golden – your crust is now “Blind Baked” and ready to be filled

Make Filling

  1. Lightly beat eggs and egg yolks in a bowl
  2. Add dairy (cream; sour cream; ricotta; crème fraiche; plain yogurt; cottage cheese; milk) and salt, pepper, spices (to taste) and continue to beat until mixed together

Assemble the Quiche

  1. Place the cubed, cooked meat and vegetables inside the blind baked pastry crust
  2. Pour in the egg mixture
  3. Bake for 30-45 minutes until golden brown and fully set

Serve slices warm or cold. Keeps well refrigerated for up to 4 days.

Notes

Great Combinations Include:

  • ham and cheese
  • spinach, cauliflower or broccoli and cheese (cauliflower & broccoli and other tougher vegetables are best cooked first)
  • roasted vegetables
  • asparagus and salmon
  • roasted potatoes, cubed or sliced thinly
  • fresh tomato and cheese
  • mushroom and onion, with cubed steak/pork if you like

Be inspired to bake your own creative combinations from your favorite foods.  Perhaps taco meat and cheese.  Whatever you enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 1 slice

Sodium: 310 mg

Calcium: 16 mg

Vitamin A: 51 IU

Sugar: 1 g

Potassium: 9 mg 

Cholesterol: 25 mg

Calories: 16 kcal

Saturated Fat: 1 g

Fat: 1 g 

Protein: 1 g

Carbohydrates: 1 g

If you have a recipe you would like to share with us for #whywastewednesday, please email christian.bearden100@gmail.com.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger, help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

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Whay Wate Food Wednesday InternFood Waste

An Interns Journey to Fight Food Waste and Reduce Hunger

#WhyWasteFoodWednesday

By Kelly Alarcon

As a full-time Nutrition and Dietetics student and intern at Food Finders, nutrition and reducing hunger and food waste are an important part of my life.  I learned in my junior year of school at California State, Long Beach how many people in the United States go to bed hungry every night, so many of them children, and my heart broke.  I knew then that my passion for nutrition and eating for wellness was not all I was passionate about.

 I quickly became vested in learning how I could not only educate people on the benefits of healthy eating but also help reduce food waste while getting that food to those in need. 

Student, Kelly Alarcon

I realized that in addition to my love of nutrition, my knack for meal planning and shopping on a limited budget was something that could play a big part in helping people to reduce food waste. The question for me was how could I combine these two skills and make a bigger impact? 

Food Waste is a Problem

Food waste is a huge problem in the United States with the vast majority of waste occurring in the home.  Poor planning and expiration dates on the food we purchase are large contributors.  Many would rather toss food they aren’t sure about, which affects the environment and wastes billions of gallons of water each and every month.

43% of food waste stat

Food Finders is an amazing solution to the food waste problem. They have a mission to “eliminate hunger and food waste” through the rescue of food in Southern California, and then they repurpose that food through a network of local community partners. I especially like the final part of their mission: “…while improving nutrition in food insecure communities.”

That is why I am an intern and a Nutrition Talks Educator with them. I have seen some amazing things while working here and for me, the most impressive is that last year, in 2021 they rescued 15,917,982 pounds of food!

Food that became over 13 million meals.

Resources and Education

USDA Food Keepers App

We are working hard to provide education and resources that explain not only how to properly store food but how to interpret the various expiration dates we see on food such as “use by”, ‘sell by” etc.  

The FoodKeepers application supported by the USDA is a great resource to help people sort through the confusing world of labels and dates.  It can help you not only interpret the varying expiration date labels but can also explain the best storage methods for various foods to reduce waste.  

Meal Planning

Meal planning is one of the biggest ways that all of us can stop food waste.  Who hasn’t gone to the grocery store hungry and bought more than they needed?

When you plan your meals, or even just your shopping, it reduces food waste.  And don’t forget that planning ahead is also easy on your wallet–a big plus!  Planning your meals for the week and then creating your shopping list based on your meals can cut food waste by 15% or more.  Imagine if we all did that?!

Tip For Cutting Food Waste

  • Shop the grocery store weekly ads. With the cost of food up by 25% or more, finding proteins that are on sale that week is where I start my meal planning.
  • DO NOT go to the store hungry. Going grocery shopping hungry guarantees I will buy some overpriced and over-processed snacks that I promptly eat on the way home.  This not only takes me out of budget but is unhealthy.  
  • I stick to your list that coordinates with the meals you want to make for the week.
  • Prepare your fruits and veggies for the week–so they don’t go bad.  If I have salads planned I pre-cut and wash my lettuce, carrots, red cabbage, and cucumbers. I also wash and cut up any melons or fruit for the week as well.  Doing this makes busy weeks easier and allows for a nutritious snack of fruit that is easy to grab.

Nutrition Talks Program

nutrition talks from Food finders1

This is all information I use when in a Nutrition Talk event with one of our partner agencies.  I do a basic overview of nutrition and its importance with interactive tools that keep people engaged in what they are learning. One example is my Nutrition Facts Label workshop which starts with a scavenger hunt looking for a pantry item with a nutrition facts label and ties up with a Q & A on what was learned.  This coming week’s talk will also have Isabel Gallegos, my supervisor and co-creator of the Nutrition Talks Program. We will be looking in the partner agencies’ refrigerators and pantries to create a meal with what they have deemed as surplus foods that they have indicated typically go to waste.  It is an eye-opening event!

This is just one more of what Food Finders does to reduce hunger and food waste.  It isn’t enough that we are getting food into the hands of those who are in need but also to educate them on the many nutrient-dense meals that can be created while reducing waste.   

Resources for Seniors

#StopFoodWasteWednesday #nutritiontalks #tipsforzerowaste #foodfindersinc

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Kelly Alarcon, a Student at California State University, Long Beach with a concentration in Nutrition and Dietetics has a passion for showing others the path to wellness through nutrition while reducing hunger and food waste.  https://www.linkedin.com/in/kelly-alarcon-194313220/

Nutrition Talks Cooking Demo image 1
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Food Waste

Can Wilted Spinach Be Saved?

#WhyWasteFoodWednesday

Is There Any Way to Use Wilted Spinach?

Sometimes the vegetable drawer can turn into a mystery box with groceries and produce forgotten at the bottom. When it comes time to clean it out, coming across a bag of wilted spinach lost at the bottom can be a big source of annoyance; a whole bag of spinach is forgotten and now its only destination seems to be the trash. What a waste!

Wilted spinach doesn’t need to be thrown out and is still safe to eat. The greens can even be used as an appetizing breakfast favorite.

According to The National Capital Poison Center; Lutein and its close relative, zeaxanthin, are pigments called carotenoids that are related to beta-carotene and lycopene. The name lutein comes from the Latin word, lutea, meaning yellow. At normal concentrations in food, it is a yellow pigment but can appear orange or red at high concentrations. Lutein and zeaxanthin are made only by plants, so animals normally get them by eating plants. The highest concentrations are found in dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, swiss chard, and mustard and turnip greens − although these nutrients are also found in a variety of other vegetables. Lutein added to chicken feed intensifies the yellow color of egg yolks. – 1 cup of spinach contains 20 mg of Lutein.

wilted spinach food finders

Scrappy Skillet

#WhyWasteFood Wednesday is a call to action to take those almost-in-the-trash food items and turn them into a delicious meals!

At least 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted every year around the world—in fields, during transport, in storage, at restaurants, and in our homes! If each individual made a call to action to stop their own food waste–the planet benefits, we have less hunger, and your own grocery bills will go down through the savings.

UN Food & Agricultural

Let’s Start With This Simple Scraps Recipe

The scrappy skillet recipe can use that wilted spinach very nicely. No spinach wilting on the bottom of the fridge? Turnip greens can be used just like any sturdy greens and they might be sweeter than you’d expect.

Take wither wilted leaf and add it to a breakfast skillet that also makes use of wilting spinach you don’t know what to do with. Turnip greens and sautéed spinach make a delicious nest for baked eggs and feta. Feel free to make it your own too! You can add in any bell peppers or ham you may have, and mix in any other favorite veggies. (Go ahead–clean out that veggie drawer!)

This recipe works just as well for dinner and has such a nice protein boost. Don’t forget the toast! 

Here’s a tip: Baking the single slab of feta results in a texture that’s a little chewy on the outside, and soft and creamy on the inside. If you can only find crumbled feta, wait to add it until the very end of the baking time or right before serving.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp (15 ML)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp (2g) fresh thyme leaves, removed from stems
  • 1/2 cup (125g) turnip greens, leaves roughly chopped, stems finely chopped (about 1 bunch)
  • 91/2 cups (283g) wilted baby spinach
  • to taste fine salt
  • 1/2 cup (113g) feta (block, not crumbled, ideally around 1/2-inch (1cm) thick)
  • 4 eggs

Optional Garnishes

  • splash hot sauce
  • 1 small heirloom tomato, sliced
  • 1 small cucumber, sliced
  • 1/4 cup (45g) Kalamata olives

The Step-by-Step from Ikea Scraps Book

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). 

Step 2

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet (ideally one that fits in your oven) over medium heat. Add the garlic and thyme leaves, cooking until the garlic is fragrant and starting to soften, about 1 minute. 

Step 3

Add the turnip stems and leaves, stirring occasionally until the stems start to soften and greens begin to grow tender, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach in 2 to 3 batches, stirring occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes. Lightly season to taste with the sea salt. 

Step 4

Make 5 indentations in the greens to create nests for the feta and eggs. Place the feta in 1, and carefully crack an egg into each of the other 4. Bake until the egg whites are set and the yolks are cooked to your liking, 5 to 10 minutes. If your skillet is too large for your oven, or isn’t ovenproof, use a smaller skillet, split the ingredients between 2 skillets, or use another ovenproof dish. 

Step 5

To serve, divide the eggs, greens, and feta between 2 plates. If desired, sprinkle with hot sauce and garnish each plate with half of the tomato, cucumber, and olives.

Share any pictures you have of making this or other #WhyWasteFoodWednesday meals!


Who is Food Finders?

Food Finders is a food rescue nonprofit organization with a primary focus on reducing hunger while also reducing food waste. We coordinate the daily pick-up of donated excess food from grocers, restaurants, hospitals, schools, manufacturers, and more; food is then distributed directly and immediately to nonprofit recipients, such as pantries, shelters, youth programs, and senior centers, to be used for serving hot meals or as grocery distribution for people who are struggling and food insecure.
Our Food Rescue program ensures millions of pounds of wholesome food helps feed people, not landfills. Operating from a single headquarters in Orange County, California, we serve multiple counties within Southern California. By engaging a huge network of volunteers, we’re able to quickly scale and rescue enough food for 30,000 meals per day.

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MEATLESS MONDAY RECIPE BURRITOFood Waste

Meatless Monday Recipe

Meatless Monday, A Thoughtful Approach to Preventing Food Waste

Every other Monday we’ll be spotlighting a #meatlessmonday recipe. The Meatless Monday movement started several years ago to encourage people to reduce their meat consumption for their personal health and the health of our planet. We thought that starting each week by practicing Meatless Monday, the focus at home may also lead people to think more thoughtfully about the food they buy and eat–throwing less away which helps our planet even more!

Vegetarian Burrito Bowl

Vegetarian Burrito Bowl with avocado crema. The Modern Proper. (n.d.). Retrieved June 27, 2022, from https://themodernproper.com/vegetarian-burrito-bowl-with-avocado-crema

For this #meatlessmonday, we’re sharing a delicious recipe for Vegetarian Burrito Bowls. This easy, nutritious meal is packed with flavor. Ideal for meal preppers and vegetarians and anyone who has some veggies in the pantry that may begin to look like they will be thrown away!

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans waste nearly 40 million tons — 80 billion pounds — of food every year. That’s estimated to be 30-40 percent of the entire US food supply and equates to 219 pounds of waste per person. Having a Meatless Monday menu can help us to treat our vegetables with more focus–since so many are thrown out because they go bad. This Vegetarian Burrito bowl can be made with any combination of vegetables. We hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients

  • Cauliflower (or any other vegetable in the pantry)
  • Bell Peppers, make this burrito bowl as colorful as possible with a combo of red and green peppers
  • Onions
  • Olive oil 
  • Limes for topping and the avocado crema
  • Taco seasoning – homemade or store-bought
  • Beans – Pinto or Black 
  • Jarred Salsa – or homemade 
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Cilantro-lime rice

Directions

Making a burrito bowl is mostly an effort of assemblage. Most of the ingredients can be prepped beforehand, and in doing so make the meal much easier to assemble. Here’s one way to approach this burrito bowl recipe:

  1. Make the cilantro-lime rice. Burrito bowls are always a great use for leftover rice—either from takeout or from a homemade meal—so you can also just season some leftover rice with a little cilantro and lime juice.
  1. Roast the veggies! Roast cauliflower florets, peppers, and onions—all seasoned with a little taco seasoning—for about 30 minutes. This can also be done at least 2-3 days ahead of time if you’re meal-prepping.
  1. Buckle up for one of our very best tips, ever! Season your beans by simmering them for a few minutes with some salsa. Voila! Instantly delicious beans! You could do this ahead, we supposed, but it takes only a couple of minutes, and the burrito bowl is best if the beans are freshly warmed, so this is a step we reserve for the day of.
  1. Avocado crema time! (easy to make, find the recipe below) Mix this up while the beans simmer.
  1. Assemble! Have everyone assemble their burrito bowls however they see fit, and ta da! A super-healthy dinner loaded with fiber, vitamins, and whole grains that everyone will love

DIY Avocado Crema

The burrito bowl itself is already flavorful and delicious. However, if you want to go that extra mile and spice it up a little, whip up this easy-at-home avocado crema and add on top. 

  • Avocado
  • Garlic
  • Sour cream (or, if you want to keep your burrito bowl vegan, just use a vegan sour cream—they’re easy to find at the store, usually close to the traditional dairy sour cream, or near the tofu.)
  • Lime juice
  • Cilantro

If you have a recipe you would like to share with us for #meatlessmondays, please email christian.bearden100@gmail.com.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#meatlessmonday #foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #improvenutrition #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #Volunteer #Charity #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

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Why Waste Food Wed potatoFood Waste

Are Sprouted Potatoes Safe to Eat?

#WhyWasteFoodWednesday

What Can We Do With Old Potatoes?

We have all done it. We cannot resist buying that big bag of Idaho potatoes, yams, or delicious sweet potatoes.

It is sometimes cheaper to buy that whole bag of potatoes, so we do it with the best intentions to make delicious and nutritious meals. But then reality kicks in–that bag sits on the counter for weeks sprouting little round ‘eyes’. And sometimes, if it sits long enough, some of them will have a green color. Is this safe to eat?

According to the National Capital Poison Center (poison.org):

Potatoes contain two kinds of glycoalkaloids, both natural toxins, called solanine and chaconine. Exposure to light greatly increases the formation of chlorophyll and glycoalkaloids. Chlorophyll is responsible for the green color of many plants and is not toxic. However, the green of chlorophyll is a marker that can let you know that there could be an excess of glycoalkaloids. The entire potato plant contains glycoalkaloids, but the highest concentration is found in the leaves, flowers, “eyes,” green skin, and sprouts. The lowest concentration is found in the white body of the potato.

Sprouted spuds aren’t necessarily destined for the landfill: the potato itself is likely still safe to eat, so long as you cut away the little growths and green spots. And you can cook it up, and mash it with salt and butter, but what if you made something even more fun?

Homemade Chips

Homemade-chips

Making your own potato or vegetable chips, whether you fry or bake them, is easier than you think. We have found that once you do make your own, it is hard to go back to the oversalted store version!

Here are the advantages: You get to pick which vegetables to use. And you choose the spices and seasonings you want to use for your homemade chips. And: Making your own chips is fun and easy.

Some Tips: Root vegetables are best, such as carrots, parsnips, potatoes, and beets. Not only are they colorful, but they each also have a flavor of their own. Just make sure you remove those little “eyes” and cut off any part of the skin that looks green.

Recipe

Ingredients
1 large carrot, trimmed
1 large parsnip, trimmed
1 sweet potato
1 Yukon Gold potato
1 large beet
Canola oil, for frying

Basic Seasoning Mix:

2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder

The Step-By-Step from Spruce Eats

There are plenty of recipes out there to make your homemade chips, but Spruce Eats is one of those sites that is always thinking about food waste. Here is this weeks recipe:

Step 1

Get all of your ingredients together first. This makes the whole at-home cooking process much easier. So start by pulling all of those potatoes and questionable veggies. Get your seasoning choices out. Bowls, oil, pans, and peelers too!

home-potao-ships-why-waste-food-wed1

Step 2

Peel off the skin, making sure all those little ‘eyes’ are gone as well as any green tone on the Idaho potato.

Step 3

Now slice them thin. It helps if you have a mandoline, a food processor fitted with the 2 mm slicing blade, but if don’t have one then a sharp knife works just as well when cutting the vegetables into very thin slices (1/16-inch thick).

home-potao-ships-why-waste-food-wed1

Step 4

Fill a large bowl with ice water and transfer the carrot, parsnips, sweet potato, and either Yukon gold or Idaho potato to the ice water. [Note: do not miss this step! soaking any starch produce item in cold water like this makes an absolute difference!]

Now, fill a small bowl with ice water and transfer the beet slices to the smaller bowl of water. Let the vegetables sit in the water for 30 minutes.

home-potao-ships-why-waste-food-wed4

Step 5

Line 2 baking sheets with several layers of paper towels. Drain the vegetables and arrange them in a single layer on the towels. Pat the vegetables to remove any excess water.

homemade-potato-chips-why-waste-food-wed5

Step 6

First, Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.

Second, line 2 plates with paper towels.

homemade-potato-chips-why-waste-food-wed7

Step 7

Heat three (3) inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it reaches 350 F using a deep-frying thermometer. This will take about 8 to 10 minutes.

homemade-potato-chips-why-waste-food-wed8

Step 8

Add about 1/2 cup of vegetable slices to the oil and fry until crisp and golden brown, about 2 minutes.

homemade-potato-chips-why-waste-food-wed9

Step 9

Remove the vegetables to the paper towels to drain.

homemade-potato-chips-why-waste-food-wed10

Step 10

First, remove the paper towels from the baking sheets and spread the fried vegetable chips in a single layer on the baking sheets. then place in the oven to keep warm.

Repeat with the remaining vegetables in batches, making sure to maintain the oil temperature of 350 F.

homemade-potato-chips-why-waste-food-wed11

Step 11

Put the warm chips in a large bowl, add the seasoning mixture of your choice, and toss lightly.

Our basic seasoning mixture from above: In a small bowl, combine the salt, garlic powder, and onion powder. Feel free to be creative here and try different spices on different batches.

homemade-potato-chips-why-waste-food-wed12

Enjoy!

Benefits of NOT Wasting Potatoes and Vegetables

In addition to saving the planet we all live on, when households save food through consumption, you personally save money. But more important is gaining the knowledge that one small action (throwing out just one potato with ‘eyes’) has a ripple effect in your own neighborhood.

  • Water is conserved
  • CO2E is contained.
  • Landfills grow smaller.
  • Your family learns an important lesson in community action–because not everyone in your neighborhood has enough nourishing food on their plates tonight.

Remember: Think before you buy food. Plan your meals and use every part that is edible to #StopFoodWaste.

For more benefits of stopping food waste go to the EPA.gov site here.

*************************

Who is Food Finders?

Food Finders is a food rescue nonprofit organization with a primary focus on reducing hunger while also reducing food waste. We coordinate the daily pick-up of donated excess food from grocers, restaurants, hospitals, schools, manufacturers, and more; food is then distributed directly and immediately to nonprofit recipients, such as pantries, shelters, youth programs, and senior centers, to be used for serving hot meals or as grocery distribution for people who are struggling and food insecure.
Our Food Rescue program ensures millions of pounds of wholesome food helps feed people, not landfills. Operating from a single headquarters in Orange County, California, we serve multiple counties within Southern California. By engaging a huge network of volunteers, we’re able to quickly scale and rescue enough food for 30,000 meals per day.

READ MORE
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