Many items we buy have a shelf life. We can not always use these items within the time they will be at their freshest. It is important to all of us to use and not waste what we spend our hard earned money on. Of course freezing is a good way to keep food but there are other ways of lengthening their freshness.
Bread is an item that we all buy but a loaf of bread does not seem to stay fresh as long as it used to. If your bread is starting to become a little stale and you think it is only good for toast, pop it into the microwave for 5 to 7 seconds and it softens right up. It does need to be eaten immediately. This works great for BLT sandwiches. The warmth of the bread adds to the taste. Of course any kind of bread can be saved this way. If you buy hamburger or hot dog buns and do not use them all, cube and toast them for croutons. Grind them in the food processor for bread crumb toppings or make garlic toast out of them.
Another good tip would be, if you buy items to make a special dish but know you will not use all of them, plan a second meal to use up the items later in the week. A good example of this is, cabbage rolls. You should use all of the meat and tomato sauce but not the cabbage. Keep what is left in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it later in the week. There are many things you could do with this. A simple idea is sautéed cabbage.
1/2 head cabbage
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
Chop the cabbage in to bite size pieces. Melt butter in a large skillet. Add cabbage, sugar, vinegar if using and salt an pepper. Sauté until cabbage is done. This is a great side dish with pork chops or chicken. Other ideas can be found at cabbage recipes.
Some of the other items we tend to buy for one dish or seasonal recipes is spices. Instead of having a cabinet full of unused spices, experiment with them. Add different flavors to family favorites. A good example of this would be to add cinnamon to chili. It adds a heat and different taste. If you buy extracts for the holidays or other special occasion, use them in other dishes such as lemon extract to a chicken dish. Use it lightly or it will overpower the dish. 1/4 teaspoon replaces 2 teaspoons lemon zest in any recipe. Add rum extract to your coffee or just a regular cake mix.
Just be creative and use everything you can. This will definitely stretch your budget and amaze you with all of the new dishes you can create or just jazz up old dishes. Your family will love it and your what is in your wallet will last longer.