How to Reduce Food Waste and Use Those Leftovers in the Fridge

September 22, 2022

Disclaimer: this post was sponsored by SWACO. Photos and opinions are our own.

Making the Most of Leftover Night

Let’s cut to the chase: ours is a busy family, what with work, school, extracurricular activities, a new puppy. So meal planning is a necessary part of our weekly routine. We have a small chalkboard menu taped to our fridge listing the week’s tentative menu, so the boys know what to expect and so we can best plan shopping trips.

We typically plan at least one night – often a Thursday or a Sunday – for leftovers. And there is nothing more satisfying to us than getting to the end of a busy work week, seeing “leftovers” on the meal schedule, and actually being able to use them up. And, if we can transform them into something new and delicious, even better!

I think every family is in the same boat when it comes to home cooking. By the end of the week you  often have small containers of ingredients like sautéed onions or peppers, a mostly empty bag of shredded cheese, maybe half a can of black beans, or even a take-out carton of rice. It’s painful to see these go to waste, but it’s so easy to push them to the back of the fridge – and if you’re not careful, eventually toss them out when you get around to cleaning things out.

An Easy Recipe for Catch-All Quiche

But we try our best to eliminate food waste in our family, and one of our tried-and-true methods is to take these separate items and make them into something our kids won’t turn a nose up to: we mix them into a delicious quiche! We’ve found that most foods go well with eggs (add bacon, and it’s even better!). We usually have a frozen pie crust on hand (maybe for our family favorite dessert Chocolate Angel Strata?), and eggs are a staple in our house.

Ingredients

Although there are no hard and fast rules for quiche, we always try to include three ingredients (besides the eggs):

  1. a cheese
  2. a seasoned/spicy item
  3. a veggie.

We haven’t yet found a cheese that doesn’t work with quiche, so throw in whatever you have – most recently we found a chunk of aged cheddar.

For the seasoned item, this can be a meat like bacon or sausage, or maybe an excess recipe ingredient from the week. In our dish, we used spiced and sautéed poblano peppers from a taco night. And, finally, some type of veggie adds great texture and a bright flavor. This can be as easy as a few tablespoons of salsa or an over-ripe tomato that didn’t quite make it into the bowl earlier in the week!

Directions

  • Sprinkle the ingredients evenly in the pie crust first
  • Mix in 7-8 eggs (seasoned with salt and pepper), and then pour over the ingredients in the pie crust
  • Top the mixture with a little extra cheese
  • Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes, or until the middle doesn’t jiggle. (Pro-tip: set the pie crust on a large cookie sheet, to catch any overflow from the quiche.)

Quiche can be served either hot or cold and ALSO makes great leftovers!

How to Save Food and Reduce Waste with SWACO!

If you are interested in more food-saving ideas, SWACO offers loads of ideas on their Save More Than Food page. Can you believe that Central Ohioans send a million pounds of food waste to the landfill every single day? SWACO has put together simple and intentional steps that are easy to make part of your daily routine, such as:

  • Fridge Night prompts families to collect leftovers and look for creative ideas to bring them together. It also lets families properly freeze and date any leftovers they can’t use right away.
  • Label foods and leftovers that need to be eaten soon or place them within eyesight.
  • Make leftovers new again by visiting SaveMoreThanFood.org to find a leftover recipe to demonstrate or try.
  • Shopping more frequently and with a list reduces cost and waste. Creating meal plans makes those trips much easier.
  • Proper food storage allows herbs, milk, cheese, fruits, and vegetables to have a much longer life in refrigerators.

Disclaimer: this post was sponsored by SWACO. Photos and opinions are our own.

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FOOD + TRAVEL WRITER

I go by Dr. Breakfast, but in addition to restaurants and recipes, I write about family travel, breweries and distilleries, the arts, outdoor fun, and so much more.

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