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THE FRONT BURNER

FLS reporter Katie Thisdell serves up news on local food finds, tales from home cooks and inspiration to help you have fun in your own kitchen.

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How to clean out your fridge before grocery day

When I plan my menus for the week, Tuesday night is always left blank, or with some placeholder like ????. It’s the last night before my weekly grocery trip, and it’s usually slim pickin’s in the fridge and pantry.

Wilting remnants of pre-washed lettuces, half-used, wrapped-up onions, peppers that are starting to give a little too much when squeezed–you know the drill. The challenge: avoid wasting what can still safely be eaten (even if it doesn’t look too appetizing) and put together a satisfying meal.

There was a good discussion thread on this last month on the food blog Serious Eats. Commenters there brought up a lot of good ideas. I try to keep a few basic options handy when planning the fridge-cleaning meal.

A lot of vegetables on their way out can be either roasted in the oven or caramelized on the stovetop in a sautee pan. Leftover greens can be thrown into a soup or sauteed to top pasta.

But one of my favorite fridge-cleaning techniques is using eggs as a glue to bring lots of things together. I make quiche quite often, but you don’t really even need to fool with a crust (it’s often the least healthy part of the dish, anyway). Here’s last night’s egg concoction before it went in the oven (this photo was taken before the beaten egg mixture was added).

Contents:

5 eggs

the last of a container of plain yogurt

leftover stale cornbread from the weekend chili dinner, crumbled

frozen chopped broccoli

leftover sausage from pizza two nights ago

the rest of a packet of shredded cheese

salt, pepper and paprika

It baked for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees and made for a satisfying dinner atop a salad cobbled together from the rest of what was in the fridge and pantry. Today is grocery day.

What are your favorite techniques for making meals that use up leftover ingredients?

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