Frugal Eco Farm Fresh Feasting
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
Everyone knows these 3Rs as the basis for being ecologically-minded these days. It's nothing new, though. Frugal cooks have been practicing the 3Rs for ages. If you practice these 3Rs as I outline below, you'll be kind to your body, to your wallet, and to your planet.
Reduce portion size, especially of expensive ingredients like meat.
To stretch a pound of ground meat into 6-8+ servings, I like to add finely chopped or grated vegetables such as
- bell peppers
Use that veggie mix in tacos, meatloaf, casseroles, etc. My kids have taken to asking me if there is any meat in the meatloaf--I've pumped it so full of veggies.
Reusing, or more correctly repurposing leftovers, provides you with 2 meals with the bulk cooking done once, saving time and energy. This doesn't apply only to meats. If you have extra cooked rice, for example, you can wrap a serving in a patty shape and freeze it. It's ready when you need just a serving for a snack, with a bit of meat or vegetable or added to soup for a meal.
Instead of composting, garbage disposaling (?), or throwing away your onion and garlic skins, your celery tops and ends, your carrot peels*, your summer squash ends, pepper tops and the like as you head into soup season, try this. Start keeping a gallon-size zip top bag in the freezer, and add to it every time you've got flavorful goodies that would otherwise go to waste. Did you get a large bunch of parsley or thyme for a recipe, but didn't use it all? Toss that in there too. Pretty soon you'll have enough to make a vegetable stock (recipe here), a chicken stock (recipe here), or a beef stock (recipe here).
You've made something out of nothing.
And you can eat it.
That's pretty cool, no?
*Always feed your carrot tops and ends to your guinea pigs. What? No guinea pigs? They are excellent additions to your compost routine, and far cuter than worms. Rescue some today.