What do I mean by the term “Shrink” when it comes to anyone in a kitchen? Give up? Shrink is what’s left over after you’ve bought your weekly groceries, made that fabulous Taste of Home meal and have a little of this and a little of that leftover. I constantly preach that if you’re throwing out food in your garbage and don’t re-utilize it in another way, then you might as well just open your purse or wallet over that same trash can, and throw your hard-earned money away. The average household in the US throws away approximately $500 worth of food per year, and I don’t know who can afford that, in these uncertain times. Just think of what you could do with that extra cash?
OK, I’m as guilty as the next person, and toss some things out because I felt like I didn’t have the time or energy to create something, but honestly, there’s plenty we can do! Think about it, bread pudding, bread crumbs, Italian bread salad, croutons, bagel chips, or Strata’s can all be created by using up leftover bread that got stale. TIP: Make sure bread is unwrapped and left in a dry area so as not to get moist and grow mold you can chop, seal & freeze also. The most financially successful kitchens in the world all have a handle on their shrink, and it’s how they control their food cost. YOU ARE NO DIFFERENT! I only tell you this because I care about you, your family and your financial well-being, when it comes to controlling your kitchen costs.
There is a happy ending to this unseen dilemma, and Taste of Home can get us there. Here’s a perfect example of a great recipe to use up those “Shrink” items in your fridge.
- 6 eggs
- 1/3 cup chopped onion
- 1/3 cup chopped sweet red pepper
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon California Olive Ranch® Olive Oil
- 1 can (6 ounces) lump crabmeat, drained
- 1/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese
- In a small bowl, whisk eggs; set aside. In an 8-in. ovenproof
- skillet, saute the onion, pepper and mushrooms in oil until tender.
- Reduce heat; sprinkle with crab. Top with eggs. Cover and cook for
- 5-7 minutes or until nearly set.
- Uncover skillet; sprinkle with cheese. Broil 3-4 in. from the heat
- for 2-3 minutes or until eggs are completely set. Let stand for 5
- minutes. Cut into wedges. Yield: 4 servings.
I also mentioned above an old world Italian dish called a Strata, it’s a savory dish using up old stale bread, veggies, cheese, herbs, or anything else that’s begging to be used. As I’ve told you… don’t be handcuffed to every written ingredient in a recipe. You know what you like, so substitute, and move forward.
- 1-1/2 pounds fresh asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 loaf (1 pound) sliced bread, crusts removed
- 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- 2 cup cubed fully cooked ham
- 6 Eggland’s Best Eggs
- 3 cups milk
- 2 teaspoons dried minced onion
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
- In a saucepan, cover asparagus with water; cover and cook until just
- tender but still firm. Drain and set aside. Lightly brush butter
- over one side of bread slices. Place half of the bread, buttered
- side up, in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Sprinkle with 1/2
- cup cheese. Layer with asparagus and ham. Cover with remaining
- bread, buttered side up. In a bowl, lightly beat eggs; add milk,
- onion, salt and mustard; pour over bread. Cover and refrigerate
- overnight. Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 50 minutes. Sprinkle
- with the remaining cheese. Return to the oven for 10 minutes or
- until cheese is melted and a knife inserted near the center comes
- out clean. Yield: 10-12 servings.