Here’s a horrible, but not really surprising, statistic. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, our food waste triples in the United States.
OMG! The frugal gourmet /latent Chinese old lady in me shudders at the mere thought.
Another informative article “The Energy Cost of Food Waste” discusses the economic, humanitarian and environmental costs of widespread food waste.
A study claims 40 percent of all food in the United States is wasted, which translates into $47.2 billion of our nation’s food supply.
The Mother Nature Network article’s 10 Steps include planning more carefully; smaller plates; composting; and of course, making meals of left-overs.
I love composting. And, I’m ALL about left-overs.
Yes, I have ‘saved’ turkey carcasses from friends’ and family dinners and even from the nursing home where I interned as part of my dietetic tech training. The nursing home kitchen was very proud of its tradition of roasting turkeys for their home-made holiday meal, but were going to just toss the tasty bones of 5 giant turkeys. Whaaa?! Criminal. Me and my deep freezer to the rescue.
I don’t know why they didn’t plan on making soup. The Food Director prided herself on meeting tight budget restrictions, after all. Those seniors and patients in rehab would have hopped out of their wheelchairs and ran to the dining hall for home-made soup. I worked in that kitchen, I should know. Talk about food waste.
My blogpost “Random Cooking Tips” from yesterday included suggestions to add frozen corn cobs to any soup stock; and making simple quick Mafe Stew w/ Sweet Potatoes.
You can adapt those same tips for twists on Thanksgiving left-overs. Here are a few ideas:
1) Turkey Chowder — make turkey broth w/ frozen corn cob. Then, throw in the green bean casserole, the brussel sprouts, plus frozen corn and diced white or sweet potatoes. If you have wild rice casserole, throw that in, too. The sauce from the traditional Midwestern casseroles will provide a bit of creaminess. Add a little milk too if you want.
2) Thai Turkey Chowder — same as above except add ginger & lemongrass when simmering stock. Then add coconut milk, lime juice and cilantro. If you like Thai spice, add a few TB of Thai curry paste.
3) Indian Turkey Curry over Mashed Potatoes. Combine some broth, some turkey, onions, garlic, curry powder, a can of diced tomatoes and either some yoghurt or coco milk. Simmer. Throw in green bean casserole and stir. Heat up the mashed potatoes.
4) Turkey & Sweet Potato Mafe stew. Combine some broth, some turkey, onions, garlic, can of diced tomatoes, some tomato paste, left-over sweet potatoes and any green vegetable, and a slurry of melted peanut butter + broth. Simmer. If you have mashed sweet potatoes, mix some into the sauce. See previous blogpost for more on Mafe.
5) Stuffing Croutons and Italian Bread Salad. Spread out the stuffing on a cookie sheet and bake til crispy. Bread salad, a Mediterranean staple which relies on stale bread, is cubed bread plus fresh tomatoes, onions, minced herbs and a simple olive oil vinaigrette.
PS: #1 – 4 are gluten-free. #1-2 can be adapted to be dairy-free.
Join me in giving profuse thanks that we have food, period, let alone food to wantonly waste.
Whether you made the meal or not, savor your left-overs, not only because they taste good but also in the knowledge you are doing your part to reduce waste. And, Happy Holidays!