My Foray Into Food Storage

A regular gal learning about Food Storage, Home Cooking, Canning, Gardening, and more!


28 Comments

Homemade Breadcrumbs a.k.a. I Hate Throwing Anything Away

It’s true.  I’m not a hoarder (at least not so much of a hoarder that you have to walk through tiny pathways through my house with your arms close to your body), but I do hate throwing perfectly useful things away.  Things like the heel on a loaf of bread.  My kids won’t eat them.  They’d rather not have bread than to eat a heel.  I don’t know why.  If I turn it with the heel side in, I cannot taste the difference.  But, apparently, my boys can.  So, they don’t eat them.  Ever.

 

Instead of throwing them away, I stick the heels in the freezer and wait.  After a month or so, I have a stack of heels and older bread that look something like this.

 

That's a lot of bags!  But, trust me, there's bread in there, too.

That’s a lot of bags! But, trust me, there’s bread in there, too.

 

That’s a lot of bread!  I was running low on breadcrumbs, so I decided to replenish my supply and clear out my freezer at the same time.  It’s super simple, and the breadcrumbs are fresh and yummy.  First, I put the bread on a cookie sheet and put it in a 275  degree oven until the bread was completely dry.

 

Lots and lots of bread, especially heels.  This has white bread, sourdough wheat sandwich bread, and other whole grain breads.

Lots and lots of bread, especially heels. This has white bread, sourdough wheat sandwich bread, and other whole grain breads.

 

After cooking it for a bit, I ended up putting the bread on two cookie sheets, but I didn’t snap a pic of that.  Sorry.  I did that to speed up the process a little.  If the bread is stacked, it takes FOREVER!  Once the bread was ready, I actually made a few bread crumbs for my homemade meatballs (recipe to come)…

 

Spaghetti sauce with homemade meatballs containing my homemade bread crumbs.

Spaghetti sauce with homemade meatballs containing my homemade bread crumbs.

 

…And I stuck the rest of the toasted bread in my breadbox until the following day.  Here it is.

 

See?  Nice and toasted, and ready to go into the food processor.  You can put this in a bag and crush it with a rolling pin or can, but it is so much faster and easier to use a food processor (or blender).

See? Nice and toasted, and ready to go into the food processor. You can put this in a bag and crush it with a rolling pin or can, but it is so much faster and easier to use a food processor (or blender).

 

I stuck several slices in my food processor and pulsed until the breadcrumbs were the right size.

 

I put several pieces into the food processor and pulsed until the bread became breadcrumbs.

I put several pieces into the food processor and pulsed until the bread became breadcrumbs.

 

Then, I stuck them in my old breadcrumb container and put them back in my pantry.  This was a pretty new container, so I reused it, but next time, I’ll stick it in a Tupperware something and store it that way.

 

Perfect breadcrumbs for free!  (Well, except for the electricity for the food processor.)

Perfect breadcrumbs for free! (Well, except for the electricity for the food processor.)

 

Now I have a huge supply of breadcrumbs and they didn’t cost me a cent (other than what I would have spent on bread anyway).  I consider this a win-win.  I didn’t throw away anything useful, and I didn’t have to buy something I use regularly.

 

Do you think you’ll try your hand at breadcrumbs? 

If not, what’s another way you prevent food waste?

* * * * Tomorrow is the LAST DAY to enter my April Giveaway.  Click here for a free daily entry! * * * *

Advertisement


17 Comments

Waste Not, Want Not: French Toast and Banana Bread

Quick Reminder: My April giveaway is in full swing.  Don’t forget your free, daily entry!  Click here to enter.

 

Today was a yummy food day at my house with French Toast for breakfast and Banana Bread for lunch.  Why is my family so lucky today?  I didn’t want to waste any food, that’s why.

 

I made two loaves of bread the other day, but I was experimenting with my recipe, and this version wasn’t my favorite.  It wasn’t bad.  You know how the Top Chef judges say, “That was WAY too salty.”  But no normal person would be able to taste it unless someone pointed it out to them.  Well, my bread wasn’t bad, but I know how good it can be, and I just didn’t want to eat this bread for a couple more days.  So, I decided to cut thick slices, like Texas toast, and make French Toast.

 

French Toast

French Toast

 

While making the French toast, I used evaporated milk instead of fresh milk, and I had 1/3 of the can left.  I stuck it in the fridge, but, when I noticed old bananas on my counter, I decided to use the evaporated milk and make banana bread.  YUM!

 

Mmm!  Banana Bread!

Mmm! Banana Bread!

 

My family is very lucky to have me.  🙂  And so are you.  Here are the recipes I used.

 

French Toast

 

7 eggs

1 cup evaporated milk (or regular milk, cream, half-n-half, etc.)

2 tablespoons sugar

cinnamon (to taste, I used about 3/4 teaspoon)

butter or oil for pan

1 loaf of Bread, cut into thick slices (Easy, Peasy Sandwich Bread recipe here)

 

Photo step-by-step instructions:

 

Beat eggs until well combined.  Mix in sugar and milk.

Beat eggs until well combined. Mix in sugar and milk.

 

Mix in cinnamon.  Then place your slices into the egg mixture and let the bread absorb egg.

Mix in cinnamon. Then place your slices into the egg mixture and let the bread absorb egg.

 

Make sure to flip the slices over.

Make sure to flip the slices over.

 

Melt butter in a pan over medium-high heat, then add bread soaked in egg mixture.  Let cook for about 2 minutes per side, or until cooked through.

Melt butter in a pan over medium-high heat, then add bread soaked in egg mixture. Let cook for about 2 minutes per side, or until cooked through.

 

When completely cooked, remove from pan and put on a paper towel lined plate.

When completely cooked, remove from pan and put on a paper towel lined plate.

 

Serve with your favorite toppings (butter, syrup, powdered sugar, strawberries, etc.).  I eat it plain, because it is super yummy just by itself!

Serve with your favorite toppings (butter, syrup, powdered sugar, strawberries, etc.). I eat it plain, because it is super yummy just by itself!

 

 

Later in the day, I started my banana bread.  Not only did I use the rest of the leftover evaporated milk, I also used my dried eggs.  Here’s the recipe.

 

Banana Bread

Adapted from a recipe by Betty Crocker, found here

 

1 1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup butter, salted

2 eggs (or dried eggs plus water to equal 2 eggs)

1/2 cup evaporated milk

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1 1/2 cups mashed banana (3-4 medium)

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup walnuts

 

Photo step-by-step instructions:

 

Before you begin, measure your evaporated milk and add 1 teaspoon of vinegar.  Let it sit for a couple of minutes.  Mix together the softened butter and sugar.  Then add your ripe bananas, dried eggs and water, and your evaporated milk/vinegar mixture.  If you prefer, you can use buttermilk instead of milk and vinegar.

Before you begin, measure your evaporated milk and add 1 teaspoon of vinegar. Let it sit for a couple of minutes. Mix together the softened butter and sugar. Then add the ripe bananas, dried eggs and water, vanilla, and the evaporated milk/vinegar mixture. If you prefer, you may use plain milk or buttermilk instead of milk and vinegar.

 

Add your salt and baking powder.  Mix until combined.

Add your salt and baking powder. Mix until combined.

 

Next, add the flour and mix to incorporate.

Next, add the flour and mix to incorporate.

 

Add nuts, if desired.  My hubby loves walnuts, so that's what I used.

Add nuts, if desired. My hubby loves walnuts, so that’s what I used.

 

When well combined, add mixture to loaf pans (greased on the bottom of the pan only).

When well combined, add mixture to loaf pans (greased on the bottom of the pan only).

 

Place pans in a preheated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 1 hour.  If you are using glass pans, lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

Place pans in a preheated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 1 hour. If you are using glass pans, lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

 

After an hour, the loaves look delicious!

After an hour, the loaves look delicious!

 

I waited until it was cool to slice the loaves.  As great as hot, fresh banana bread is, I hate it when it falls apart.  If I wait until it's mostly cool, it slices beautifully!

I waited until it was cool to slice the loaves. As great as hot, fresh banana bread is, I hate it when it falls apart. If I wait until it’s mostly cool, it slices beautifully!

 

And the Banana Bread is served!

And the Banana Bread is served!

 

I love that I have hot, fresh, yummy food for my family with no leftovers going to waste.  You better believe the banana bread will disappear FAST!

 

How do you use your leftover bits of food, milk, etc.?


18 Comments

Pork Chops Reborn or Vietnamese Pan Fried Pork Chops, Part Two

This is blog has a food storage emphasis, so why am I including so many recipes?  I never intended for this to be a recipe blog.  Yet, the more I post, the more I realize that cooking is an important part of food storage.  At least for me, learning to use my resources wisely is a key part of building and maintaining food storage.  Avoiding waste saves money which can be used elsewhere.  In my case, when I save money, I use the excess funds in my grocery budget to stock up on a food item, or I buy a gadget that will help me save money in the future (like my pressure canner, which I showed you here and here).

 

Yummy Pork Chops re-born as fried rice!

Yummy Pork Chops re-born as fried rice!

 

This recipe was born of my desire to use my resources wisely.  My boys love the pork chops pictured above, but they don’t like to eat them for more than one meal.  They do not “do” leftovers.  In exasperation one day, I threw them into fried rice and a tradition was born.  Pork chops one day; fried rice the next.  They like it so much that they request I make these knowing they get two great meals out of them.

 

If you want to make fried rice at home, you can use almost any leftover meat and/or veggies you want.  You can also cook fresh meat and veggies.  Just keep in mind that you will need to add more seasoning if your protein is not already seasoned.

 

Without further ado, here is my photo step-by-step.

 

I made jasmine rice in my rice cooker.

I made jasmine rice in my rice cooker.

 

Assembled the ingredients:  veggies, salt, soy sauce (I prefer La Choy), granulated onion, and pepper.

I assembled the ingredients: veggies, salt, soy sauce (I prefer La Choy), granulated onion, and pepper.

 

I usually use frozen broccoli florets, but I didn't have any today, so I used carrots (which I'm blanching in this pic)...

I usually use frozen broccoli florets, but I didn’t have any today, so I used carrots (which I’m blanching in this pic)…

 

And I used frozen peas.

And I used frozen peas.

 

I had 2 1/2 pork chops left, so I chopped them up.  And I was ready to start!

I had 2 1/2 pork chops left, so I chopped them up. And I was ready to begin!

 

I preheated some oil on the stove.  To keep the rice from sticking, you will need more oil than you're used to using.  Then, I added the pork to the pan and cooked it for a minute.  Next, I added the peas and let them heat through.

I preheated some oil on the stove over medium-high heat. To keep the rice from sticking, you will need more oil than you’re used to using. Then, I added the pork to the pan and cooked it for a minute. Next, I added the peas and let them heat through.

 

I added the drained, blanched carrots and let the ingredients cook for a minute or two.  I added salt (a few shakes of a shaker), some pepper (about 1/4 teaspoon), and several shakes of soy sauce.  This is a subjective thing.  Don't add too much now, because you will need to adjust the seasoning later.

I added the drained, blanched carrots and let the ingredients cook for a minute or two. I added salt (a few shakes of a shaker), some pepper (about 1/4 teaspoon), 1/4 teaspoon of onion powder, and several shakes of soy sauce. If I was using unseasoned meat, I would also add garlic salt.  This is a subjective thing. Don’t add too much now, because you will add more seasoning later.

Next, add the rice to the meat/veggie mixture. Stir gently to combine. Add more soy sauce, salt, and pepper, to taste.  Then create a well in the middle of the pan and add the eggs (well beaten).  Let the eggs cook for a minute or so, then begin to stir and incorporate the egg into the rice.  If it is not cooked all the way, don't worry.  Keep stirring with the heat on medium.  The egg will cook.

Next, add the rice to the meat/veggie mixture. Stir gently to combine. Add more soy sauce, onion powder, salt, and pepper, to taste. Once you’re happy with the seasoning, create a well in the middle of the pan by pushing the rice to the edges of the pan.  Add some well beaten eggs and let them cook for a minute or so.  Then begin to stir and incorporate the egg into the rice. If it is not cooked all the way, don’t worry. Keep stirring with the heat on medium. The egg will cook.

 

Next, add the rice to the meat/veggie mixture.  Stir gently to combine.  Add more soy sauce, salt, and pepper, to taste.

Stir the rice, so the egg is evenly distributed.  And when the egg is cooked, it’s ready to serve!

 

It's ready!  Enjoy!

Looks yummy, huh? Enjoy!

 

How do you re-purpose leftovers? 

What basic skills do you think are important in building and maintaining food storage?