Christine Park

Monday, July 23, 2012

Cooking on Empty

As the consumer reporter for my station, I have a subscription to Consumer Reports Shopsmart magazine. In it, are great tips on being a savvy, frugal shopper. But a recent article in the Sept 2012 issue about turning the last bits of food in jars, bottles and bags into delicious dishes caught my eye.

I think it's because we've all been there, trying to scrape as much peanut butter as possible from the sides of an empty jar before getting frustrated and throwing it away.

Here are some great ideas:

-Microwave the sticky stuff. For example, nuke the almost-empty jar of peanut butter for a few seconds to soften it, then add soy sauce, giner, garlic, vegetable oil, then shake it up to make an Asian marinade or salad dressing. Same goes for honey.

-Recycle olive and pickle juice: the brine can be substituted for the vinegar in a vinaigrette. Or slice pickles and add to the juice and let it sit for a few hours to make your own pickles.

-Ketchup, mayor or mustard: add a splash of cider vinegar and shake up the bottle then mix with barbecue sauce for a marinade.

-Wine: mix with a little olive oil to braise veggies or sprinkle on fish

-Crumbs: pretzel and chip slivers can make a great breading for chicken or fish. Cookie crumbs make good piecrusts.

-Stale bread: Make croutons or bread pudding. 

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