Earth Friendly Leftovers
Did you know being eco-conscious in the kitchen involves more than using fewer ingredient recipes or buying local? Little changes, such as cutting back on refrigeration and using compostable food tray lids, make a big impact on your carbon footprint. Even the cooking method you chose can conserve energy by simply reducing the amount of heat released into your home. If your family is searching for ways to save money and still eat healthy, Earth-friendly meals, a few simple changes will make a big impact.
Grilling for Dollars
Grilling is a great way to cook large amounts of food while using minimal Earth resources. Prepare all your ingredients in advance and take advantage of your grill’s versatility. Meats, potatoes and other vegetables can be grilled simultaneously when added in stages. Grilled stone fruits make delicious desserts while bread and pizza are amazingly crisp and toasty off the grill. With a little experimentation, you’ll be a grill master in no time.
Another alternative cooking method is a pressure cooker. Once a kitchen standard, for some reason pressure cookers fell out of favor for several decades. Now, though, these kitchen workhorses are making a comeback and are being touted as time- and energy-saving appliances. Reduced cooking time results in less heat escaping into the kitchen, thus cutting down on potential air conditioning bills.
When it comes to Earth-friendly meals, cooking larger quantities not only saves energy but also gives you tasty leftovers to eat throughout the week. We all know foods such as tomato-based sauces, soups and stews taste better the next day since the herbs and spices have had time to work their yummy magic. Adding fresh herbs from your garden to leftovers will brighten the flavor or, depending on the dish, create a completely new dish. Don’t be afraid to experiment with second-day meals; sometimes the most delicious dinners occur from outrageous food combinations.
Weekends are the perfect time to prepare larger meals. Spending a lazy Sunday in the kitchen is a satisfying way to stock up on weekday meals. Use compostable food trays and food tray lids to make your homemade take-out a healthier, more Earth-friendly alternative to fast food. Portion out the leftovers for grab-and-go lunches or for simple dinners on those nights you just don’t want to cook.
One last thing, remember some foods such as jams, peanut butter and certain condiments do not need to be refrigerated. Keep this in mind when it’s time to replace your family’s refrigerator; a smaller model might be big enough once you remove these items.
Patrick Whalen is a part of an elite team of writers who have contributed to hundreds of blogs and news sites. Follow him @2patwhalen.