Food

What to Do with Your Kitchen Scraps

Making a meal without making a mess is nearly impossible. Chopping, peeling, grating and cutting in the kitchen are all tell-tale signs that there will be scraps. Rather than throwing them away, Rachael is a firm believer in holding onto that food so you can repurpose it later. Not only is it a great way to reduce waste, but it’s also an easy way to help save money!

Check out some of Rach’s top tips for your common kitchen scraps:

Parmigiano-Reggiano

Parmigiano-Reggiano is a cheese Rachael uses almost daily. Once she’s gotten to the rind, instead of tossing it, she adds it to soups and stews for extra flavor. If you aren’t making one of these dishes in the near future, simply throw your rind in the freezer wrapped in wax paper and foil for easy storage.

Pro tip: Plan ahead! Rachael often buys pieces of Parmigiano-Reggiano with big rinds so she knows she’ll have the leftovers.

Use the rind in: Mushroom-Farro Soup with Kale

Photo by The Rachael Ray Show

Carrots, Onion and Celery 

We can’t get through the week without making a dish with carrots, onion, or celery. They’re amazing bases for countless recipes. But do you ever find yourself with leftovers that aren’t enough for the next batch – say, half an onion or carrot, or just a few stalks of celery? 

Don’t toss ’em out; they’re great additions to stocks or soups. Simply put them in a plastic bag or food storage container in the fridge and save for later. You can also freeze them, although remember that carrots require a quick blanch before you toss ’em in the freezer.

Make your own veggie stock for: Spicy Butternut and Vegetable “Stoup”

Photo by The Rachael Ray Show

Bread 

Bread ends get a bad rap. We can all say that there may have been a time or two when we have tossed out those two lonesome pieces at the end of the bag, or trashed a stale heel of baguette. Take a note from Rachael on this one and save the ends. They’re ideal for home-made breadcrumbs or meatballs. Leftover bread is surprisingly useful in the kitchen!

Use your breadcrumbs in: Chicken or Turkey Parm Meatballs with Caesar Slaw

Meat

Saving meat scraps doesn’t cross the mind often, but when done right, it can be a game changer! If you’re cooking meat, like pork or chicken, hold onto the trimmings. Simply save them in a plastic storage bag or container and store them in the fridge. They’re great in things like stir fry!

Add your leftover meat to: Stir-Fry Beef with Broccolini and Tangerine or Blood Orange

Photo by The Rachael Ray Show

Corn on the Cob

Oftentimes you won’t think to save the cobs of corn. But they do come in handy from time to time! Next time you get to chomping, save the cob to make a broth for delicious corn soup. Store it the same way you would carrots, celery, or onion – put it in a storage container and keep in the fridge for peak freshness. When you’re ready to make the stock, make sure the cobs are bare, then cook them in well-salted water.

For extra corny soup, substitute the chicken stock with homemade corn stock in: Smoky “Chowda” with Fire-Roasted Corn

As for any food debris that can’t be reused, that’s where Rachael’s garbage bowl comes into play. As referenced in the title, it’s one bowl where you can toss all your peels and scraps as you cook. It’s an easy way to make cooking in the kitchen organized and much less chaotic.  

How do you reduce your waste in the kitchen? We’d love to know on Facebook!

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Rachael Ray