Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Waste Not, Want Not

I guess I will never get the hang of cooking for one person.  When you spend several years cooking meals to feed four hungry kids it is not easy to scale back, even when the kids have been out of the house and on their own for a goodly number of years.

I have had three meals of the turkey vegetable soup I made on Sunday.  That's pretty much my limit of how many meals of leftovers I can handle.  So I dumped the remaining soup into the crock pot this morning and added another quart of turkey broth.  I thought maybe some peas and corn would taste good in the soup, so I tossed in a pint of each, too.  Let it heat on the Low setting the better part of the day.

This afternoon after I had put my grocery order away and had the salad fixings in the dehydrators, I heated some pint jars and filled them with soup.  They went into the pressure canner and were processed at 10 lbs. pressure for 75 minutes.  I got 7 pints of soup to add to my canning shelves.  That might not seem like much, but I just hate to waste perfectly good food.  Those 7 pints equal a weeks worth of lunches.  I may be a bit tired of it now, but it will look pretty good to me after a while.

Remember when TV dinners first appeared in the stores?  I think every family on the block owned a set of TV trays and we would take our TV dinners and put them in front of us on the TV trays in the living room and eat supper watching the Ed Sullivan Show.

Mothers everywhere loved TV dinners because they could serve their family a meat and potato meal just by popping the frozen dinner in the oven.  My parents, being frugal, bought just enough TV dinners to collect maybe a dozen or so of the aluminum trays.  They washed them well and then filled them with leftovers, covered them with aluminum foil and stacked them in the freezer.  I have to say that the TV dinners made with home cooked food tasted way better than the store bought variety.

I sometimes think my parents were the King and Queen of Waste Not, Want Not!


  1. I remember tv dinners. We rarely had them, since my mom felt strongly about having home cooked meals. They were a real treat when we did get them. I still remember that my favorite was a little bit of meat loaf, some soggy potatoes, and apple sauce.

  2. HAHAHAHA-- They laughed at me when I made "home-made Hungry Man" dinners for times when I wouldn't be there to get my husband's supper (it happens, not often but it happens).

    Glad to know I'm not the only one who does it. Such a waste not to!!!!

  3. My wife grew up cooking for nine or more people, so she has the same problem. Luckily, I don't mind eating left-overs.

  4. TV Dinners are great, the problem is that it can take 2 or 3 to fill hungry kids.
    My favorite has always been pot pies again need 2.
    i was spoiled working at Disney World the kitchen I worked at had a chicken pot pie. Chicken tender chunks, with veggies and cream sauce on the plate with a puff pastry crust placed on top. Those days I was given a free meal that's what I had.

    My wife still wants to cook large, but we keep the left overs for the next days lunch. Baked chicken last night, I still have a second piece i will cut in half warm up and use as chicken sandwiches for my lunch today

  5. Harry...My mother was big on home cooked meals as well. I think we only had the TV dinners from the store until they had saved enough of the metal trays, and then made their own dinners. In our house, my parents made the dinners partly to use up leftovers and partly to have easy meals ready at the times when my mother's arthritis was getting bad enough to where simple chores like cooking a meal became difficult for her. I used to make dinners like that when I worked nights, and it was easy to pop one in the oven when I got home from work. Should really do that again, I suppose.

    My favorite was the fried chicken where the breading was thicker than the meat, the soggy potatoes and applesauce. :)

  6. MC...I'm guessing that your homemade Hungry Man dinners tasted a whole lot better than those from the store. Nowadays, there is a whole trend toward making meals ahead and freezing them, but if you look at it, it is nothing different than making homemade TV dinners. :) You were just ahead of the popular trend of the day! :)

  7. Gorges...When you cook for so many people, it is really hard to scale back to cooking for one or two. I don't mind leftovers. I will make spaghetti for supper and then have the leftovers for lunch the next day. It is just when I make way too much soup or stew that I have a hard time after about the third meal of it. Canning the leftovers seems to work well for me.

  8. Rob...That's the main reason I didn't buy them when my kids were still at home - took too many TV dinners to satisfy their appetites!
    I love pot pies as well. Your description of the Disney one made me hungry for them. Might have to make one over the weekend.

    When it comes to fried chicken, I will cook more than I need for a meal, just because I like the leftover chicken so much. I like to have a little snack at night before going to bed, and a piece of cold fried chicken is one of my favorites.

  9. I only remember TV dinners from when my mom and dad went out and I had a babysitter. My Mom was frugal and was a good cook. I don't remember her using very many convenience foods.
    I'm with you on learning how to cook for one. I, too, cook enough for 2 or 3 dinners at a time. Usually a pan of chicken or 3 pork chops. Then I only have to worry about the side dishes.
    My new thing - I made keifer (I'm not sure of the spelling)! I was at the local organic store and finally asked a clerk for help. The culture was in the dairy section. Finding the culture also coincided with a sale on milk. I love it! SJ in Vancouver BC Canada

  10. SJ...Convenience foods were rare when I was growing up, too. Both my parents were good cooks, my Dad taking over the cooking duties when Mother was so ill. They wouldn't have known what a prepper was, but both knew lots about preserving food and stocking up for the winter. I think one reason they made their own TV dinners - so there would be meals on the table will little fuss and bother when Mother's arthritis flared up.

    I have to admit my ignorance in not knowing for sure just what keifer is. I had to look it up. What I found says it is similar to yogurt, so I am afraid it might not be something I might try, as I am not a fan of yogurt. Good for you - trying new things. I love it when we can learn something new.

  11. Keifer is like yogurt but thinner and with a little bit of fiz. I found it much easier to make then yogurt. Frank and Fern were my inspiration to try and make my own. They have some posts on their blog about making it.
    It has a lot of probiotics which is something I have been trying to increase in my diet. I mixed it half and half with fruit juice. I was looking for something to make with my gallon of milk. A gallon is cheaper for me to buy then half gallons but I am challenged to get through a gallon before it goes bad. And, truthfully, I just wanted to try something new. Keep warm. We're having warm for us weather and lots of rain. No complaints from me. SJ in Vancouver BC

  12. SJ...Thanks for the explanation. I'm not sure it is something I would care for, but it is always fun to try new things. We are actually going to have some above freezing temps this week, which is really unusual for January. I'm not going to complain, either! Just try to get out and enjoy it.