Garbage Day~ways to eliminate waste and save money~lunch meat

For my newer readers, I try to do a weekly post about garbage. Yes, garbage. Well, trying to use up food so that it doesn’t become garbage. Throwing food away is just like throwing money away. Tuesday is our garbage day, so on Mondays & Tuesdays I try to use up what will go bad, and together with my readers collaborate on ideas on how to use it.

This week I want to focus on lunch meat. And here, it’s lunch meat, not cold cuts. We’re lunch meat snobs. I know that with coupons and catalina deals, I could get much of the prepackaged stuff much cheaper than what I purchase. But we just don’t care for it. We prefer the D&W, Boar’s Head and other premium brands. And since I’m already buying into the philosophy of bringing our lunches to work instead of eating out, I’m saving money. But a few weeks ago, on garbage day, I realized I was tossing a few slices of this, a few pieces of that……..and it can quickly add up to $10 or more. I don’t know about you, but I don’t care to toss a $10 bill into the trash every week.

So here’s how I started saving money on lunchmeat-first step, buy less. Instead of purchasing a whole pound, I cut back to 3/4 of a lb. If we run out, we take PB&J or leftovers or something else.  I’m saving money two ways, not only am I not throwing out a few pieces each week, I’m not spending the money in the first place. Instead of spending $10 on a lb of something, I’m only spending $7 or $8 and my weekly grocery bill is less.

In the event I do have a few pieces left over, here are some ideas that I use for Monday or Tuesday night dinners.

Hot sandwiches: I use the lunch meat to make a hot/grilled sandwich and we have it for dinner. A hot sandwich is inherently fancier than a cold sandwich. Grilled cheese & tomato, hot ham & cheese, grilled turkey-add in some swiss, some sun dried tomatoes, some pesto….and it’s much better than the usual turkey sandwich.

Omelettes: Uses up eggs too. Take whatever lunchmeat and cheese you have, dice it up and toss it into an omelette.

Fritatta/Quiche: same as above, just as a whole dish instead of one serving. A quiche has a crust, a frittatta does not.

Easy Quiche recipe-I modify what ingredients I put in it. Easy fritatta recipe.

Dogs: When my lunch meat is a bit older, not completely rotten, but a day or two past when I would eat it, I give it to the dogs. I have one dog who takes 12 pills a day and I am always looking for creative ways to get her to take them, so I often use lunch meat. No, I don’t feed my dogs rotten food and they’ve never, ever gotten sick. Just like, cheese that is maybe a bit dry around the edges, moreso than what we would eat.


It’s Garbage Day-reusing/repurposing fruit

I am very pleased that today when I was looking through the pantry and the refrigerator, there was no food to toss! And I don’t mean that I’m just hoarding it until next week when it will get thrown out, I legitimately did not waste any food this week. I’ve already done a post on some things to do with almost-spoiled bananas. Today I thought I’d focus on other fruit items, non-citrus.

Berries-go through the container and toss the bad ones of course. For larger items like strawberries, you can cut bad spots off. There are lots of good recipes online for blueberry muffins. Or, toss the fruit into a blender with a few ice cubes, some yogurt, and you’ve got a smoothie.

Make breakfast tarts-just choose what your crust will be-an English muffin, bagel thin, waffle. Make a frosting with cream cheese and powdered sugar, or just cream cheese, or just jelly. Spread your ‘frosting’ on it, then arrange the fruit. Kids will love making designs out of it if you have them do it themselves, or make a smiley face with the fruit.

Apples, pears-cut the bad spots off if there are blemishes. It’s very easy to whip up a baked apple or pear crisp or cobbler, many recipes to be found online. I really like the recipe from the side of the box of Cinnamon Corn Flakes. I use that one all the time and just modify it. I’ve used pears instead of apples and I dislike nuts and nutmeg so I leave those items out.

If you find yourself with an abundance of apples or pears, here’s an easy dessert. Just peel it and core out the middle of the fruit. Put in a tbsp or two of butter, pack it with brown sugar, some cinnamon. Take a refrigerated pie crust and wrap it on the outside of the item. Bake at 350 for about an hour and yum! Serve with vanilla ice cream, pudding or whatever. Very easy, it can bake while you’re cooking and eating dinner and it makes the house smell wonderful.

Fruit pizza! Serve it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Hey, why not? Here’s another recipe from Pillsbury. Although I’ve eaten cookies for dinner on several occasions, I don’t know that I would serve it to my kids. But it would be a good dessert or snack, and at least the recipe gives you a good baseline to work with for adapting and modifying to suit your needs.

My friend Barb has this idea to share: Had blueberries, strawberries and mangoes to use up so I diced the mangoes and sauteed them down with a little butter and a sprinkle of brown sugar. I also added a little vanilla and some pumpkin pie spice. Then I added the blueberries and strawberries. Cooked for a few minutes then added some Mojito mix and simmered for another 5 minutes to cook off the alcohol. Will be serving it either over French toast or pancakes.

Feel free to share your ideas for fruit!

Note: This is a post from 3/29/11. Got it out, dusted it off, added some ideas & checked the links–good as new!