5 ways to use up leftover fruits, veggies, and more

As much as we try really hard in the EatingWell Test Kitchen to use the entire “thing” when we call for an ingredient (e.g., we like to call for a whole can of broth, an entire vegetable, etc.), sometimes we just can’t. And since I cook at home most nights, often from recipes, I know how annoying and wasteful that can be if I don’t think of a good way to use the leftovers before they go bad. I’ve composted my share of wilted celery bunches, dumped out moldy marinara sauce and forgotten about more than one half-used lemon in the back of my produce drawer. Here are some recipes to help you use up common leftover ingredients so you can eat well and save money.

Use up your leftover cabbage… After you cut into a head, wrap it up tightly and stick it in the refrigerator for up to a couple of weeks. When you use it again, trim off any of the cut side that turned brown then start chopping. Southwestern Corn & Black Bean Salad (recipe follows) is one of my favorite ways to use up leftover cabbage. I often have all the ingredients at home, and leftovers are great to take for lunch the next day! Click here for more great cabbage recipes.

Use up that leftover celery… How many times have you actually used a whole bunch of celery in a single recipe? I’m going to guess your answer is (almost) never. And while celery is handy to have on hand for making soups and such (and Ants on a Log is always a yummy treat!), celery can be used in more sophisticated dishes too. Try fragrant pears tossed with crunchy celery, Cheddar cheese and pecans inCrunchy Pear & Celery Salad. (Look for Anjou and Bosc pears, which are in season right now.)

Use up that leftover lemon… I love using fresh lemon juice, but often recipes call for just a tablespoon or so and a good-size lemon usually yields about 1/4 cup. What to do with the rest? Try making a quick and easy salad dressing, like Creamy Garlic Dressing. (Find more delicious salad dressing recipes here.) Enriched with low-fat buttermilk and reduced-fat mayonnaise, this thick, garlicky dressing makes a sumptuous topping for potato, pasta or romaine salads. (Storage trick: Squeeze the whole lemon at once, even if you just need a bit, and freeze the rest until you need it again. I put mine in a small jar and just keep squeezing more on top of it!)

Use up that leftover marinara sauce… It seems that my husband and I can never use an entire jar of marinara sauce in one sitting. They’re not exactly made for two people, right? I usually stash the jar in the freezer for when I need it next. Try using some of your marinara sauce in this Polenta & Vegetable Bake, a healthful and comforting vegetarian casserole that is perfect on a cool spring night.

Use up that leftover tomato… Slice it up for your brown-bag sandwich. I like to wrap the slices separately so it doesn’t sog out my sandwich.

What leftover ingredient do you want ideas for?

Southwestern Corn & Black Bean Salad
High Fiber Healthy Heart
Active time: 25 minutes | Total: 25 minutes | To make ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.
Here’s a great make-ahead dinner—and leftovers are welcome for lunch the next day. If you make it ahead, don’t add the salt and pepper until just before serving. That way, the salt won’t render the vegetables soggy and the pepper won’t lose its bite. Make It a Meal: Scoop up this salad with warm corn tortillas.

3 large ears of corn, husked
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed
2 cups shredded red cabbage (see Tip)
1 large tomato, diced
1/2 cup minced red onion

1. Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a Dutch oven. Add corn, cover and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes. When cool enough to handle, cut the kernels from the cobs using a sharp knife.
2. Meanwhile, place pine nuts in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat and cook, stirring, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.
3. Whisk lime juice, oil, cilantro, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the corn, pine nuts, beans, cabbage, tomato and onion; toss to coat. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Makes 4 servings, 2 cups each.
Per serving: 410 calories; 16 g fat (2 g sat, 8 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 57 g carbohydrate; 16 g protein; 13 g fiber; 482 mg sodium; 537 mg potassium.
Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (80% daily value), Iron (25% dv), Vitamin A (20% dv), Potassium (15% dv).

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Posted by on Apr 20 2016 Filed under Cooking T I P S. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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