Tag Archives: cooking

saving leftover wine for cooking

Here is yet another way that I reduce/eliminate food waste in my kitchen. I saw an episode of Nigella where she froze her leftover party wine in baggies to use later in soups and sauces. I tried it, but always ended up losing the baggies in the mess of the small freezer. Then, I saw this at The Greening of Westford. I’ve been keeping leftover wine like this ever since. It’s so much handier to scoop some out of a jar than it ever was to get it out of a baggie. Plus, less baggies to wash is always a good thing in my mind. And using glass over plastic is better too, wherever possible.

Not that there is often much in the line of leftover wine around here, but when there is, I do this with it. I’m not a big fan of leftover red wine and unless we have guests, we don’t usually have wine with dinner. So it would just sit there and go to waste otherwise.

The nice part of all of this is that the wine doesn’t freeze solid because of the alcohol content, so it’s easy to scoop out the amount that you want. I emptied the better part of the jar last week when I was making some marinara sauce, then topped it up again with the leftovers from dinner with the city cousins this past weekend. It’s a never ending wine slushy (which might have some possibilities as well).

Linked to Frugally Sustainable, A Pinch of Joy

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using up that last bottle of Steamwhistle beer in the fridge – chocolate chip banana beer bread

It was experiment time again in my kitchen last night. I needed something snack-ish to put in the kids’ lunches and the chief cookie maker was away at 4-H with the tall hormonal kid. I hate making cookies. I’m definitely a short list of ingredients and all in one pan kind of cook. I thought I’d make an easy banana bread, but instead of going to my usual recipe, I decided to try a sweet variation of my beer bread. It turned out great and is nicely tucked away in the lunchpails right now (what little I was able to save from the hungry adults). It’s got a nice crunchy outer crust (not squishy like the usual banana bread) – this one is perfect for toasting. It got a thumbs up from Uncle John when he dropped by for coffee and a taste test (and he’s got a serious sweet tooth – he’s been known to put ice cream in coffee).

Chocolate Chip Banana Beer Bread

  • 3 cups self-rising flour (If, like me, you don’t have this in your cupboard, make your own)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 mashed banana
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle beer

Stir together dry ingredients and mashed banana, add in beer and stir just until all ingredients are wet; pour (or more likely pat – it’s a pretty thick doughy batter) into a lightly greased loaf pan. Sprinkle with some cinnamon sugar just before baking just for some added oomph. Bake at 350° for 1 hour.

It’s good just as is, once it has cooled, but try if there is any left over, definitely give it a try toasted with butter the next morning.

Linking to Frugally Sustainable, Sorta Crunchy

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cooking shortcuts

image credit :realtarotrealpeople.wordpress.comThis is less than exciting, but it’s how I keep myself from saying a lot of bad words out loud at the end of the day. We have a few easy shortcuts to getting dinner on the table. It’s not just a way to speed up getting dinner on the table – it’s also one way we reduce food waste and manage to keep our grocery bills low. We can keep eating from our garden all winter long. It’s also great if you find onions and peppers on sale – buy enough to keep you going for a while. We keep the veggies chopped in baggies in the freezer. I chop them individually and combined in mixes. Mirepoix mix is one we rely on a lot.

Mirepoix is the impressive sounding french word for chopped carrots, celery and onions in a ratio of 50% onions, 25% carrots and 25% celery. I assemble all the necessary components, run them seperately through my food processor and mix it all together in a big bowl in the approximate proportions.  I usually freeze 1 or 1 1/2 cups in each freezer bag, label the mix and the amount, lay them flat on a cookie sheet in the freezer until they are frozen, then stack them away in a little corner of the freezer until they’re needed. It saves time in chopping and washing up. And I really do say less bad words in my head. Mostly.

The same basic idea can be used for freezing individual veggies – I freeze chopped green, red and jalapeno peppers, onions, and just about anything else. If the stuff in the veggie drawer is starting to look a little dicey, I chop it up and throw it in the freezer for later use. I usually freeze them on a cookie sheet for a few hours and then scrape them into a freezer bag for storage afterwards – it helps keep them from all sticking together in a clump. I’ve even done it with fresh spinach that I knew I wouldn’t get around to using. I can always hide it in a sauce or pasta dish later on. The peppers, onion and spinach are great to sprinkle on pizza before cooking.

Don’t forget that you can freeze whole tomatoes too – keep them in freezer bags and run them under hot water for a few seconds until the skin slides off, then use them in any cooked dish that calls for canned, stewed or diced tomatoes.

Linking to Cups by Kim, A Pinch of Joy, Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms, Frugally Sustainable, Sorta Crunchy, White Wolf Summit Farmgirl

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