Food waste. Wasted food.
While unnecessary, it also seems inevitable. Yet, we can always strive to do better. There are many ways to keep food out of the trash can and on the table. One of my favorite ways to waste less is a strategy I call “kitchen creativity.” Creativity is defined as the formation of something new or valuable. Therefore kitchen creativity is the ability to put together an edible dish (and hopefully a tasty one) with ingredients you have on hand.
Even if you don’t consider yourself a creative person or good “cook”, you too can boost your creative capacity. Cultivating kitchen creativity will save you money, protect the environment, and nourish your family. Here is how you can put this strategy into action:
Minimizing food waste can simply look like combining one food with another. For example, I will add wilted spinach into scrambled eggs or incorporate my toddler’s untouched turkey burger into spaghetti sauce. For most of us, we are never truly out of food before we grocery shop. As you make your grocery list, assess what you have on hand. Plan upcoming meals with those foods in mind. Here is a concrete example how kitchen creativity could be implemented:
Ingredients: Fresh spinach, cottage cheese, eggs, refried beans, marinara sauce, leftover taco meat.
Meal 1: Mexi scramble: Scrambled eggs with spinach over refried beans with taco meat
Meal 2: Italian melt: 2 slices whole-wheat bread topped with marinara sauce, cottage cheese and spinach – melted in oven toaster or oven
Start simple. Create a yummy meal. Boost kitchen creativity confidence!
Google can help you find recipes that incorporate random ingredients you have on hand. While you might not have all of the ingredients necessary for the recipe, give yourself permission to omit, add, or substitute other foods. The stuffed acorn squash recipe is one I created based on a similar recipe I found online.
Googled items: Acorn squash & spinach
Recipe I found: Spinach and Parmesan Stuffed Acorn Squash
The recipe called for acorn squash, fresh spinach, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and eggs. The following are the modifications I made:
For the breadcrumbs, I used leftover cooked rice. I omitted the egg, subbed crumbled goat cheese for the parmesan cheese, and added roasted nuts for a crunch factor since I did not have crispy breadcrumbs.
I aimed to use similar portions of the ingredients, as well as following the recipe directions. The result was a totally tasty stuffed squash that I will make again – my way! Enjoy this kitchen creativity recipe in your home, and keeping trying on your own creativity hat!Print