Hack: Place any leftover guacamole in a sealable bag. Roll to press out as much air as possible and seal tightly. Store in refrigerator for up to two days.
Hack: Ever wonder how to tell if an avocado is ripe? How long it will be good after you buy it? Check out these tips to find out!
Hack: Fresh herbs can easily be frozen. Lay flat in a single layer and freeze. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and seal tightly. Store in the freezer for up to 12 months. Alternately, herbs can be chopped and placed in ice cubes trays. Cover in oil and freeze for future use.
Heat balsamic vinegar in a small pot or saucepan over medium heat.
If adding sugar*, combine both into the pot and heat together.
Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to medium-low heat and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vinegar thickens and is reduced by half(about 20 minutes). It should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
*If simmering with sugar, it will take about 8-10 minutes to reduce.
Remove from heat and allow to cool completely before serving (about 15 minutes).
When I post recipes, I’ll often post hacks at the end of it to give some helpful information in regard to storing leftover ingredients. I hope this has been beneficial but I also thought it might be great to have all those ideas in one place. Yep, right here.
Print ‘em out and stick ‘em right on your fridge for the next time you need to buy that whole knob of ginger for a recipe that calls for 1 teaspoon…
Ready? Let’s GO!
Anchovies can be covered in oil and sealed in a sealable sandwich bag in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. Alternately, they can be spread out in a single layer and frozen (still in the sandwich bag, if desired). I suggest you double bag the fillets before storing.
Bacon: Separate uncooked bacon slices and roll into individual pinwheels. Place on cookie sheet in freezer to freeze bacon slices. Place in sealable freezer bag or container. The frozen slices can then be used in the portions desired.
Bananas: If your bananas have reached maximum ripeness, remove peels and place on cookie sheet in freezer. Once solid, place in sealable freezer bag and store in the freezer for use in recipes that call for mashed or pureed banana. Try them in this delicious smoothie!
Berries: If you purchase fresh berries, the leftovers can be stored in the freezer. Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet and place in freezer until solid. Place in sealable freezer bag and store in the freezer for use in recipes that call for mashed or pureed berries.
Broccoli: Check the produce department of your local grocery store for pre-cut broccoli florets to avoid having to buy an entire head. Frozen broccoli florets would also work in cooked recipe.
Butternut Squash: Fresh peeled and cubed butternut squash can be purchased in the produce department of the grocery store, making you life just a little bit easier. Frozen butternut squash can also be used in most recipes.
Burgers: Shape ground meat into 4 oz patties. Place burgers on a cookie sheet and place in freezer until frozen. Put individually into sealable sandwich bags and then into a sealable freezer bag or freezer container. The rolls can also be frozen in the same manner.
Eggs, Cooked: Make more than one egg and store them for later use. For the best quality, I suggest cooking scrambled eggs in an egg ring as this provides for uniform cooking and reheating. Cook just until set. These eggs can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
To freeze eggs, place on cookie sheet and place in freezer until firm. Seal in freezer bag or container and store in freezer.
To reheat, thaw in refrigerator overnight and microwave at 20 second intervals, just until heated through.
Eggs, Hard Boiled: Hard boiled eggs keep in the refrigerator for one week so consider making a few extra while you’ve got the water boiling! They make a great snack alone, pickled, deviled or in egg salad.
English Muffin: Slice English muffins in half horizontally and return to original packing. Place in sealed freezer bag and place in freezer for up to 3 months.
Fruit/Berry: Take advantage of the wide variety of fruits and berries that can be found in the frozen foods section of the grocery store. If the pieces are too large for your purpose, simply let a few thaw so you can mash them or puree the desired amount in a blender.
Ginger: Do you know that you can freeze fresh ginger root? Grating it in it’s frozen state is easier than grating it fresh and, if you choose organic ginger, you don’t have to peel it! Simply place in a sealed freezer bag or container and pop it in the freezer.
Guacamole: Place any leftover guacamole in a sealable bag. Roll to press out as much air as possible and seal tightly. Store in refrigerator for up to two days.
Herbs: Fresh herbs can easily be frozen. Lay flat in a single layer and freeze. Transfer to a freezer safe container and seal tightly. Store in freezer for up to 12 months.
Alternately, herbs can be chopped and placed in ice cubes trays. Cover in oil and freeze for future use.
Pine Nuts: Pine nuts can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 months or in the freezer for 6 months.
Rice: Place leftover rice while still warm (to retain moisture) in serving size containers and freeze for future use.
Romaine Lettuce: To keep romaine lettuce fresh longer, separate leaves and wash. Dry in a salad spinner or with paper towels. Place lettuce leaves in sealable plastic bag or container with paper towels between each layer to absorb moisture. Store in refrigerator and replace paper towels if they become soggy.
Salad Bar: Shop the salad bar if you just need a small amount of an item that you don’t think you’ll use again before it “goes over”.
Seafood: Although seafood purchased from the seafood counter is often priced by weight, it is perfectly acceptable to ask for only what you need, such as 6 shrimp or half a fillet of haddock.
Alternately, many of these items can be purchased frozen in larger portions if you wish to keep some on hand. Thaw desired amounts before cooking.
Seafood can be thawed overnight in refrigerator. It can be thawed more quickly by placing it in a sealable bag and submerging in a bath of cold water for about an hour.
I do not recommend freezing seafood that is purchased from the seafood counter. Many seafood items are flash frozen after being caught to retain their freshness. Refreezing will compromise the quality.
Sesame Oil: Once opened, sesame oil can be stored in a cool, dark place (kitchen cupboard away from the stove) for up to six months. It can be stored in the fridge for a year or more.
Heat oil in saute pan over medium heat. Add chorizo and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan.
Saute onion until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Turn heat to high. Add lentils and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add wind and simmer until almost evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add the broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until lentils are soft, 40 – 45 minutes. Add more broth if necessary.
Squeeze juice from two of the oranges and set aside. Remove peel and pith from the remaining oranges and slice fruit into ¼” rounds.
Add chorizo to lentils and stir in orange juice. Season with salt, pepper and dill. Remove from heat and gently stir in orange rounds.
4 servings, 350 calories per serving
Hack: Place any leftovers in serving sized sealable freezer bags or containers. Store in freezer for future use.
½ cups fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes (2 ounces)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
5 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced, (1 pound)
1 tbsp vegetable broth
5 cups Swiss chard, leaves thinly sliced, stems chopped and kept separate (1 bunch)
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted and chopped*
6 lasagna noodles, cooked
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes (4 ounces)
⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375°.
Combine squash, 1 cup broth, milk and garlic in a medium saucepan, heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer until squash is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
Place squash mixture in a blender. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg and blend until smooth. Add Gruyere cheese and 2 ounces of mozzarella. Blend until cheese is well incorporated. Pour into a bowl.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add oil. Add onion, mushroom and chopped Swiss chard stems. Turn heat up to medium-high and cook until browned and liquid evaporates (7-10 minutes).
Add chard and 1 tbsp vegetable broth. Cover and cook 2-3 minutes or until chard wilts. Place vegetable mixture into a cheesecloth-lined colander and allow to drain for 10 minutes. Place mixture into a bowl and toss in pine nuts.
Mix ricotta and egg until well incorporated.
Coat 11 x 7-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Spread ½ cup bechamel sauce on the bottom of the pan. Lay two lasagna noodles on top of the sauce.
Spread ¾ cup sauce on top of lasagna noodles. Top with ½ of the vegetable mixture (about ¾ cup),
½ cup ricotta and ⅓ cup mozzarella cubes. Top with 2 lasagna noodles.
Repeat the above step for the second layer.
Put remaining sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese on top of the lasagna. Spray aluminum foil with cooking spray and lay over top of the pan.
Cook, covered, for 25 minutes. Remove aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes, until lasagna is bubbly and internal temperature is 160°. Put lasagna under the broiler to further brown top, if desired.
Allow lasagna to rest a minimum of 20 minutes before slicing and serving.
*Roast pine nuts in saute pan in a single layer until lightly browned.
6 servings, 480 calories per serving
Hack: Place individual portions of cut, cooled lasagna into individual containers (or one container, separating portions with parchment paper) and store in the freezer for a quick grab-and-go lunch!
Hack #2: Fresh peeled and cubed butternut squash can be purchased in the produce department of the grocery store. Frozen butternut squash can also be used.
Hack #3: Pine nuts can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 months or in the freezer for 6 months.
Hack #4: Make a double recipe of Bechamel sauce. Freeze extra portion in 1 cup portions to serve over pasta or vegetables! If the sauce separates after thawing, give it a whirl in the blender before heating.
Hack #5: Bechamel sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Cover surface with plastic wrap to avoid forming a skin.
I have recently found myself thinking a lot about the waste problem we have in this country, most specifically about single use plastics. It’s been receiving tons of press and I find that the subject comes up in conversations more often, both in my social media feeds and at social gatherings.
I don’t see plastics going away anytime soon but I DO think that we all, as individuals, need to do our part to make the world just a little less toxic. While we don’t all have the funds to buy an electric car or convert our homes to solar power, each one of us can look around and see what can be changed in our own homes to make a difference.
I recently ran across an interesting website called MightyNest and I thought you might be interested.
So What’s The Story?
When I first took a look at Mightynest.com, I was impressed by their story and their commitment to helping us (just regular folk) live cleaner, healthier lives. They’ve done the research so you don’t have to! They only offer items of the highest value and integrity.
This website has it all — Kitchen items, cleaning supplies, bath and body, wellness, even a kids and pets section. As you can guess, I zeroed in on the kitchen section where they offer food storage, serve wear, cooking implements and cook wear. The prices are very reasonable and members get up to a 30% discount on listed prices!
There are also different buying options:
Just buy the thing you want. Search it, click it, check it out, done.
One-time gift boxes. They have lots of gift combo options, many for under $10.
Monthly subscription boxes starting a less than $10 a box
I was excited to get some new products but I wasn’t sure where to start. I looked over the options, did some research and decided to try the MightyFix monthly subscription box. For $11 a month, I would receive a box with one (or several related) items to get me started on refitting my kitchen with new, eco-friendly items. While this first box would be a surprise, I did fill out a profile to indicate what categories of items I was specifically interested in receiving. Because I don’t have a dishwasher. Or a cat.
I placed my order on the 31st. The automated response let me know that I would be billed on the 2nd, which is what happened. The box actually shipped on the 7th and arrived on the 14th. I didn’t care for the lag time but, as Andy Warhol said, “Waiting for something makes it more exciting!”
The Big Reveal
When the package finally arrived the first thing I noticed was heavy paper packaging, unwaxed, not corrugated, perfect for recycling. It was a great first impression.
Since my granddaughter Lily was with me that day, she insisted that she do the honors of unveiling my big surprise. Why not?
When she pulled out My MightyFix, I was excited to see that it was a set of 5 reusable produce bags. They were also packaged in the same heavy, untreated paper so that was a plus.
The bags themselves are generous in size (12’x14”) and made from a quality, heavy-duty mesh with a drawstring closure.
The informational card inclosed pointed out that I would be replacing the use of 400 or more plastic produce bags a year. My first thought was that number may have been exaggerated but when I did the math, 400 bags come out to 7-8 bags a week. That’s a reasonable number.
The price listed on the website is $12.99 so I definitely saved a little bit of money since the My MightyFix box only cost $11. There was no shipping charge so I saved even more. (Shipping it as a single purchase would have cost $5.95, although shipping is free with purchases over $50).
And now…a confession. When I was looking at their website that first day, I was so excited by what I saw that I had to order a couple of additional items.
The first was this set of two avocado huggers. Once again, they came packaged in untreated card stock. They’re made from top-grade FDA food-grade silicone, are 100% BPA and Phthalate Free and dishwasher safe.
I initially wondered why they came in a two-pack…like, why would I cut a new avocado in half if I already had half an avocado hugging some silicone in my fridge?
When Lily opened the box, I found the answer: One is for a Hass (California) avocado and the other one is larger to fit a Florida avocado. I guess that means I’m going to have to try the Florida avocados!
The second item I ordered were these food huggers which, as you can see, preserve food without using disposable wraps or bags. They can also be used to seal the tops of bowls, glasses or jars.
They’re made from heavy-duty food grade FDA silicone, are BPA- and phthalate-free and dishwasher safe.
And, if you’re a 3-year-old pretending to be a pirate, they make a great eye patch.
They come in a 5-pack of various sizes and they nestle together for easy storage, although I don’t see that I’ll be storing them anywhere but in the fridge, preserving my food!
My one regret is that I don’t have a size small enough to fit over the opening of my toothpaste tube. I dropped the cap today in my morning fog and it ended up in the…well, let’s just say it’s gone, shall we?
Your Adventure Awaits
So what are you waiting for? I’m so excited to see you get started on this new adventure, I’ve teamed up with Mighty Nest to get you your first MightyFix Subscription Box for only $3! Just use the promo code MIGHTYNOW at checkout!
Mighty Nest guarantees that the item(s) in each box are worth MORE THAN the normal $11 price tag so that’s at least a 73% discount right out of the gate!
And I’m not done yet. For a limited time, you can pick the item you receive in your first box. Choose from the selections below:
A set of the 5 produce bags reviewed above ($12.99 value), promo code PRODUCEBAGS3
Line baking sheet with parchment paper or waxed paper.
Bring the sugar, milk, butter and cocoa to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, then let boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Add the oats, peanut butter, vanilla and salt, and stir to combine.
Drop heaping tablespoons of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet, and let sit at room temperature until cooled and hardened, about 30 minutes.
Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Bacon Wrapped Crackers
(Courtesy of Ray and Irene Horn)
8 Keebler Club crackers
4 slices bacon, cut in half
8 teaspoons brown sugar OR grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 250°.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper and put wire rack on top of parchment paper.
Arrange crackers on rack and place on teaspoon brown sugar OR Parmesan cheese on the cracker (or do 4 brown sugar and 4 Parmesan cheese).
Carefully wrap ½ slice of bacon lengthwise on the cracker over sugar/Parmesan, tucking ends under cracker.
Bake in the oven for 2 hours. Serve warm.
2 servings, 170 calories per serving
Hack: Store leftovers in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave for 20-30 seconds.
Hack #2: Separate any remaining uncooked bacon slices and roll them into individual pinwheels. Place on a cookie sheet in the freezer to freeze. Place in sealable freezer bag or container. The frozen slices can then be thawed in the portions desired.