I hate wasting anything, food wise. I mean, ANYTHING. If I can find a use for it, I make sure I do it right away before it goes bad or I change my mind. Recently, during the big NJ blizzard of December 2010, my little trait became more useful than annoying.
When we leave for a trip, I always try to make sure that anything perishable is used up. Milk, sour cream, etc, are all used to the best of our ability if they are close to their expiration dates or have just a tad bit left in the container. I do this for one main reason: you never know if you will end up stuck somewhere and can’t get home to use up those odds and ends. Plus, I know that the week that we are back from a trip, I’ll be at the grocery store and can replenish anything that we need. This can also backfire on us, as I soon found out. We made it home about 3 hours after we should have been home, the night of the blizzard. We were relieved to be inside, and stay inside, for the next 2 to 3 days, but we didn’t think about how empty we left the fridge and the fact that there was no way I could get my buns to a store the day after the blizzard. Plus, most stores were closed so that was that. I then had to think fast about the next few days of dinner. I scavenged through the cupboards and they weren’t helping to much. Without my staples from the fridge, it seemed like it was a lost cause. Then, behind the shortening and olive oil, I saw it. A lonely box of italian salad dressing. I knew there had to be some way I could build on this.
Time was ticking; I had two kids stuck in the house, a husband stuck at work for at least 48 hours and laundry to take care of from the trip. I needed to figure this out fast and move on with my business. Unfortunately, the dressing packs were expired. Ugh! Guess what I did? I still used them. I didn’t have a choice and I didn’t like to waste anything. I found a few cans of tomato sauce, stirred in a packet of the dressing mix and let it simmer in the crockpot for the rest of the day. I didn’t have time to fuss with chopping veggies and all that, like I usually do for my slow cooker marinara sauce. I had Dr. Seuss books to read and diapers to change.
I have to say, it turned out to be the best pasta sauce I’ve ever had. It was so simple to make but had a great bang of taste! I’m quite sure the expiration of the mix had no difference; I mean, it’s a powder so how much of a problem could it have caused? I hate having to use my “ingenuity” when it comes to things like this. It’s the Lazy Mom in me. But hey, I also hate to waste. Man, life is hard lol.
Have you ever had to use up an item that you weren’t so sure about? Ever used something that was way past the expiration date but turned out to work well for you?