5 Recipes to Help Clean Out the Fridge
During this season of self isolation, we’ve all been limiting our trips to the grocery store to do our part to help flatten the curve of COVID-19. Sometimes, however, that means we may have stocked up on too much produce and now it’s about to go bad, or we bought an extra cut of meat we didn’t have a plan for. If you find yourself opening your fridge and facing extra food that you don’t want to waste, we have some great recipes to help you use the food you have and clean out the fridge in the process.
1. Dutch Baby
Dutch babies, sometimes known as a German pancake or Bismark, start as the perfect base for a delightful dish. It’s an incredibly versatile pancake that can be made for breakfast, lunch, or dessert. Dutch babies can become sweet or savory with just a few tweaks and additions to the basic batter recipe—and depending on the contents of your fridge. Do you have fruit that needs to be eaten? Use it as a topping and add powdered sugar or syrup. Want to eat a savory dutch baby for lunch? Sauté veggies, meat, and cheese first, then add the dutch baby batter on top for a twist that ends up almost like a puffy quiche.
Base: Eggs, flour, milk
Additions: Make it savory with vegetables, cheese, and meat, or go the sweet route with leftover fruit.
Recipes ideas: Basic Dutch Baby, Savory Sausage Dutch Baby, Apple Cinnamon Dutch Baby
2. Potato Hash
Looking for a hearty dish to feed your family that doesn’t take much effort? Potato hash is the answer. While several of our recipes call for cooking over an open fire, they can easily be adapted for cooking on your stovetop using your everyday dutch oven or skillet. If you don’t have frozen hash browns for those traditional recipes, grate some potatoes and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder for a simple base. Don’t like grating potatoes? No problem. Just cut your potatoes into small cubes so they can still get crispy and soft at the same time. For a little extra “oomph”, you can add protein in the form of eggs or meat or some vegetables for a nice crunch. Want to keep it simple? Use spices and herbs to season up the hash to your liking.
Base: Any potatoes, salt, pepper, desired seasonings
Additions: Use eggs for a nice breakfast hash, some bacon or meat for a dinner hash, and simple seasonings for a side dish.
Recipes ideas: Sweet Potato Hash, Mountain Man Potato Bacon Hash (cut the recipe in half), Corned Beef Skillet Hash With Eggs and Cheddar
Frittatas are well known for being the “whatever’s in the fridge” dish. These simple, one-skillet meals are a great go-to when you don’t know what to cook. Frittatas also provide an easy way to free up some space in your refrigerator by using those almost too-ripe fruits and vegetables. After all, we’ve all been guilty of losing a few vegetables in the back of the crisper. Have red peppers that are starting to wrinkle, or asparagus that’s looking a little limp? Throw them into a vegetable frittata. If you’re getting sick of eating deli sandwiches, dice the meat you have on hand—and some cheese, of course—and add it to your skillet for a meaty frittata. The eggs and cream are a blank canvas for whatever flavor you want. Another perk? Frittatas can be eaten for any meal.
Base: Eggs and cream/milk
Additions: Add some vegetables and a bit of cheese for veggie frittata, or add some meat for something more filling. You can even make it sweet with nuts and fruit.
Recipes ideas: Tomato Basil Caprese Frittata, Leafy Greens Frittata
Miss your favorite meal from your local spot? You’re not alone. Luckily, you can recreate your favorites, like stir-fry, at home using ingredients you already have. Stir-fry makes for a quick and enjoyable meal and can be adapted in taste and texture according to what you add to the dish. For example, our Beef & Broccoli recipe can easily be made with chicken or pork and frozen vegetables can easily be subbed for fresh. Using garlic powder and ground ginger instead of fresh are also perfectly acceptable alterations to this delicious dish. Don’t have rice? Just use any pasta you may have as a substitute.
Base: Fried rice, plain rice, noodles
Additions: Any vegetable or meat can be added and we recommend being generous with your spices and sauces, like soy sauce or sriracha, for an extra kick of flavor.
Recipes ideas: Beef & Broccoli, Vegetable Stir Fry, Mee Goreng Stir Fried Noodles
Pro tip from Test Kitchen Kris: “My mother used to sweeten stir-fry with a tablespoon or two of grape jelly. Don’t judge me until you’ve tried it.”
5. Chili and Stews
Chili and stews are begging to help you clean out your fridge. Do you have canned beans and diced tomatoes? If so, you’re halfway there! These beloved one-pot meals famously layer flavors and can be easily adapted to include vegetables and canned goods from your pantry and meat you already have in your fridge. If you’re looking for a healthy alternative to beef, ground turkey and shredded chicken are fantastic options.
Base: Onion, canned beans, canned tomatoes
Additions: Layer flavors with any vegetables and whatever meat you have on hand.
Recipes ideas: Winter Root Vegetable Chili, New Mexico Chili, Oven Beef Stew