Tag Archives: Love Food Friday

Love Food Friday Tip #8: Donate!

Love Food Friday!

ChrisNCBAkitchen2.jpg

Love Food Friday Food Waste Elimination Tip #8:

DONATE!

Chef Chris Giegel

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we wind up with an excess of food—canned goods, perishables, meal leftovers. The best way to minimize waste is to SHARE!

  • If you made too much for dinner and no one in your family wants to eat it anymore, bring it to work and share with co-workers. They often enjoy something new, especially if they don’t have to cook it themselves.
  • If you find yourself with an excess of perishable and canned goods there are always food banks, homeless shelters, and other organizations that would be more than happy to take your excess and use it for a good cause. A simple internet search will help you find resources in your area. It’s always a great feeling to know that you’ve avoiding wasting food and used it to benefit someone in need.

*Anne’s note: My crew of guys at the feed yard LOVE it when I bring leftover food and baked goods to work with me.  It’s a great way to both reduce food waste and make someone’s day just a little bit brighter 🙂

NCBAgrilled steak salad

Grilled Steak and Vegetable Salad!

This grilled steak and vegetable salad is a great way to use up leftover steak and vegetables for a tasty and healthy meal!

Leave a comment

Filed under Love Food Friday

Love Food Friday Tip #7: Make the Most Of Your Investment!

Love Food Friday

ChrisNCBAkitchen2.jpgFood Waste Elimination Tip #7: Make the most of your food investment!

Chef Christopher Giegel

Most of us spend a good amount of money on food each month, and own a refrigerator. However, most people aren’t making the most of their investments with either. One can get the longest shelf-life out of produce and other perishables if one stores things in their optimal place. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your investments and reduce food waste due to spoilage.

  1. Store potatoes, onions and whole garlic in a cool and dry (and dark, if possible) place away from direct sunlight. This will maximize the shelf life of these vegetables.
  2. Store produce and fruits in their appropriate drawers in the refrigerator. They are specifically designed to offer ideal environments for fruits and veggies.
  3. Store milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy items away from the door. While that gallon of milk fits nicely on the door, it’s actually going to spoil more quickly because of the temperature fluctuation when the door is opened and closed. The door is ideal for condiments and dressings that are less perishable.
  4. Store beef and other proteins in the coldest part of the refrigerator—usually the back.
  5. Check the temperature of your refrigerator. The colder the better, so long as it’s not freezing things. I keep my walk in refrigerator at work at 33°F. This maximizes the shelf life of all my products—especially the expensive beef I often have on hand.

These are just a few tips to help you maximize shelf life on your products and minimize waste.

Beef and Egg Breakfast Mugs: Click here for the recipe!

Beef and Egg Breakfast Mugs: Click here for the recipe!

Start your day with a protein punch eating Beef and Egg Breakfast Mugs: A great way to use up beef leftovers 🙂

2 Comments

Filed under Love Food Friday

Love Food Friday Tip #6: Buy “Ugly Ducking” Produce…

Love Food Friday

ChrisNCBAkitchen2.jpgFood Waste Elimination Tip #6: Buy “Ugly Ducking” Produce!

Chef Christopher Giegel

There is beauty in an “ugly duckling”…

We often have this idea in our heads that all produce needs to look perfect—uniform, shiny, without a single blemish. The reality is that produce comes in all shapes and sizes, just like people and cattle. Just because a tomato isn’t perfectly round or a pear has a minor blemish doesn’t mean that it’s any less healthful or tasty.

In America we waste tons, literally tons, of produce a year because it doesn’t meet the consumer’s expectation of perfection. In commercial food service, chefs can actually choose to buy cases of produce labeled “packer” that aren’t perfectly shaped, but are completely healthy and delicious. We often can save some money doing this, and it helps to prevent food waste.

I choose to do this from time to time for things that the shape of the whole vegetable or fruit is unimportant. Anything that’s going to be chopped up small or added to soup where the shape of the whole doesn’t matter. This is an opportunity to affect change and reduce food waste on a larger scale than simply not wasting what you purchase.

Next time you’re at the grocery store consider the “ugly duckling” produce and that it might actually be something quite beautiful!

2 Comments

Filed under Love Food Friday

Love Food Friday Tip #5: Purge the Pantry!

Love Food Friday

ChrisNCBAkitchen

Food Waste Elimination Tip #5: Purge the Pantry!

Chef Christopher Gigiel

Use it so that you don’t lose it!

While you’re getting into that habit of planning meals and menus and organizing your kitchen, be sure to plan one day a week that uses what you have on hand. No matter how well you plan there are always leftovers, and left over groceries that need to be used. I do this regularly in the Culinary Center at NCBA. I often have extra produce on hand and get creative with how I can use it instead of buying more. I look at my canned goods and dry storage and see what I have on hand already and plan something that utilizes those things with a minimum of additional purchases required. And, of course, if you have several kinds of leftovers in the fridge and haven’t frozen them it’s always great for the family to be able to “make what they want” for dinner, and if there’s still some left, freeze it.

Love Food Friday Recipe Share #5: Four-Way Slow Cooker Shredded Beef

1 Comment

Filed under General, Love Food Friday

Love Food Friday Tip #4: The Freezer Is Your Friend!

Love Food Friday

ChrisNCBAkitchen2.jpg

Food Waste Elimination Tip #4: The Freezer Is Your Friend!

Chef Christopher Gigiel

Don’t Waste it, Freeze it!

I like soup, chili, stew, and casseroles. I’m also single and making any one of those meals means that there are a lot of leftovers because I haven’t mastered the art of cooking smaller amounts in my personal life after cooking for large groups of people in my professional life. But, I don’t waste it, I freezer leftovers in single-serving size containers so that I can pop them out of the freezer and reheat them for a quick dinner, or pack it for a homemade lunch.

I use inexpensive “disposable” type plastic storage containers that you can find at the grocery store so that it’s not a large expenditure to have a plethora of them on hand when things need to be stored. I also label and date leftovers on the front edge so that I can easily find what I’m looking for in the freezer and know how long it’s been in there. This lets me use up the things that have been there for a while.

This is a great tip if you’ve made a large amount of something and you don’t want to eat it all week. Portion it and freezer it. It also gives you choices for quick meal options or lunch on the go. Additionally, you can freezer an excess of produce before it spoils. Particularly good for fruit for smoothies. If it’s more than you can eat before it spoils, chop it and freeze it and you’ll have delicious fruit on hand for that morning smoothie. Also works great for veggies from the garden or farmers market – freeze them and pop them out and into that stir fry.

Love Food Friday Recipe Share #4: Albondigas In Spicy Tomato Sauce

Leave a comment

Filed under Love Food Friday

Love Food Friday Tip #2: Organize Your Kitchen!

Love Food Friday

ChrisNCBAkitchen2.jpg

 Food Waste Elimination Tip #2: Organize Your Kitchen!

Chef Christopher Gigiel

Organize your fridge and pantry.  An organized kitchen is a happy kitchen, and also an efficient and less wasteful kitchen.

If you can easily see what’s in your refrigerator and pantry you’re much less likely to waste things.

  • I keep perishable things at the forefront of my fridge so that they don’t get shoved to the back and become a fuzzy science experiment-gone-wrong.
  • I regularly take mental inventory of what I have and make sure that I store newer groceries behind older ones so the older ones get used first.

In the restaurant business we call this FIFO – First in, First out, it ensures I use things in a timely manner and they don’t go to waste. I go so far as to physically do inventory and check things off the grocery list that I made before I go shopping so I know that I’m not buying in excess.

CornedBeef _0014_pwm

Celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day by organizing your kitchen and enjoying Chef Chris’s: Slow-Cooked Corned Beef in Beer with Red Currant-Mustard Sauce

Leave a comment

Filed under General, Love Food Friday

Love Food Friday #1: Get Organized and PLAN!

Love Food Friday

ChrisNCBAkitchen2.jpg

Food Waste Elimination Tip #1: Get organized and PLAN!

Chef Christopher Gigiel

One thing that sets professional chefs apart, as a group, is that we are planners. We don’t like flying by the seat of our pants. We have a plan, and a backup plan, and a backup plan for our back up plan.

When we’re talking about food, this means we plan a menu and shop for that menu. Most commercial food establishments operate on a very slim profit margin and food waste can make the different between profitability and loss. Therefore, food waste is often at the forefront of my mind.

I plan my menu and shop for what I need for that menu, and go to the store with a list. I do the same thing in my personal life – I’m much less likely to impulse buy or purchase things because they’re on sale if I have a list and stick to it. This also means that I’m not purchasing excess without a solid plan of what I’m going to do with it and what I buy is much less likely to go to waste.

I know in our busy lives it’s difficult to carve out the time to plan, and often the decision of what we’re eating for dinner is only made several hours before it needs to be on the table, but I promise you if you’ll start the habit you’ll waste a lot less, and save some money too.

Love Food Friday Recipe Share #1 : Asian Beef and Vegetable Stir-Fry

AsianBeefVegetableStirFryClick here for the recipe!

Beef, It’s What’s For Dinner 🙂

2 Comments

Filed under General, Love Food Friday