Me: You gotta do it.
Alter Ego Me: No, no, no. The risk is too great.
Me: You are just afraid of a real life remake of GoT where they shame Cersei, right?
Alter Ego Me: No comment.
Me: There is nothing for it. Bob is out of town so you won’t get this chance for months.
Alter Ego Me: I know, I know but the shame of it…
Me: Suck it up buttercup.
Alter Ego Me (opening the fridge): Shame, the shame…
This is generally how I start my cleaning out the fridge projects, talking to myself and my alter ego self about how this needs to get done. It is never as bad as I think, it is generally a bit worse. And while I don’t often throw food away because it has gone bad, I do find myself with a heaping pile of food that needs using up and I do mean quickly.
As one can see via the photo above, I have a smattering of stuff that needs using up rather quickly. I generally take most of the veggies, run them through my veggie chopper and use them up in scrambled eggs and rice bowls. In the winter, I use the veggies for a warming soup. Of course, I already have chicken stock so making the soup is easy.
I like to separate all the dairy and cheeses out so I can add as many of them as possible into my artichoke (stem) dip. I have published a standard version of this delectable dip but another version is simply to gather up all the bits of cheese you have, some cream cheese, a bit of mayo and add in cooked artichoke stems into your food processor and process until the stems all but disappear. Then bake for 20 minutes or so at 350-F deg. Top with cheese of course. I bring this dish to my daughter’s house as a surprise and she loves it. It’s our treat and it is basically, wait for it, something from nothing.
I then use up bits of mustard in a salad dressing or sauce of some sort and I do the same with other condiments. This time around I made a cheesy rice casserole, some vegetable patties (mine are like latkes but made with carrots and other spare veggies along with a bit of leftover potatoes) that I eat like hamburgers, peach ice cream and a peach cobbler. I then treated myself to a big ole rice bowl for dinner, topped with a heaping pile of crunchy vegetables. I usually have meat and poultry to use up as well but since Bob has been out of town, I didn’t have protein to worry about.
Tonight I will take the rest of the diced veggies and treat myself to some cheesy scrambled eggs. I am still working my way through chunks of unused cheese. I will top it all with a spoonful of spicy salsa and warm up some tortillas. Oh yeah, good time, good times.
Part of frugal living is taking stock of what you have. Frequently. So use cleaning out the fridge as part of your weekly meal planning. You can generally get a couple of meals out of cleaning out the fridge, spread them over a week or two. This saves you a lot of meal planning efforts because you simply empty the fridge of anything that is nearing the end of its shelf life or that you need to use up. This is what drives meal six, let your fridge be your culinary muse.
Clean Out the Fridge Soup
Ingredients: Leftover veggies, chicken stock and cheese. Seasoning to taste.
Method: Sauté the leftover veggies, add in a chopped onion or an additional carrot if you need to. Pour veggies into a slow cooker along with 4 cups of chicken stock. Cook on low heat for four hours. Top with grated cheese, season to taste.