Fabulously Frugal: What to make when it’s time to clean out the fridge

Photo by Nicolas Rueda.

Waste not, want not!

With the high price of groceries these days it’s even more important to use every bit of food we buy. In my home, Sunday is THE DAY I make my infamous: Clean out the fridge soup!

I’ll have a look at the fridge and see what needs to be eaten ASAP.

I do utilize a drawer for ‘eat me first,’ but sometimes… well, life happens, and I don’t remember to put everything in that drawer. Or, like today, it’s full and there are other things that need attention, too.

Today, I hauled the Easter turkey carcass from the freezer (I had kind of broken it up and stored it in a large freezer bag). It’s wet and cold out and the perfect day to make soup. Into the pot that turkey carcass went, covered in cold water. I brought it to a boil and then turned it down to a simmer to separate the meat from the bones.

Turkey soup in the works. Photo by Sarah Cronk.

Aha! I found some soft apples — not so nice to eat out of hand, but still safe and perfectly edible — and some strawberries in the same shape. Unattractive, but no mould or anything, just ugly! The cantaloupe I swore I’d eat for a snack (instead of chocolate) has some spots on it, but there’s still a lot of good on it, too.

I cleaned the fruit, put it in my magic bullet (but any blender will do), and pureed it up. This will be frozen in tiny muffin tins and then the resulting pureed fruit pucks will be stored in the freezer to make breakfast smoothies later this week, with the addition of some milk or water, and some flax seeds for added fibre. You can do this with pretty much any fruit and left-over cooked veggies, too. Bananas work well and we all have bananas that are too soft to eat. This is a super cheap way to have breakfast on the go that costs very little.

I have some parsley that is wilting also, but it’s still not a hazmat situation, so that will get pureed with oil and frozen in ice cube trays. Those cubes will be stored in the freezer in a large freezer bag, too. This works with any herbs.

Back to that soup! Once most of the meat is off the turkey carcass, I’ll drain it, reserving the broth and picking the meat out, putting these two things in separate bowls. In a clean pot, I’ll fry up my veggies (celery, onion, carrots diced) in some oil until they’re lightly browning (this caramelization gives the soup a robust flavour), then pour the stock into the pot I lightly browned the veggies in. Scrape the bottom to get those tasty bits into the soup! I’ll add in more chopped veggies (frozen mixed are perfect, or whatever you have on hand — this week, it was zucchini diced up and a soft red pepper, for me), some garlic, and some parsley, salt, and pepper, and let it simmer until the veggies are cooked. Then I’ll add in my reserved turkey meat. I have half a bag of rice noodles that I’ll add to the broth, then turn the heat off so they cook in the hot broth. You can add leftover cooked rice, leftover cooked veggies, etc. – and flavour soup as you wish. A dash of sesame oil, soya sauce, and hot sauce, and it’s an entirely different flavoured soup. I’ll have a huge pot of homemade soup from nothing but scraps and stuff that could have been thrown out. That’s free food!

My pot makes about six pint jars, so I’ll freeze five in mason jars (filling them only 3/4 full) and I’ll have a go-to lunch for when I don’t feel like packing one.

Other tips for using scraps:

  • If you love those rotisserie chickens, freeze a few of those carcasses and when you have enough for a pot full of bones, make chicken soup.
  • Milk or cream that’s nearing its best before date and won’t be used can be made into ricotta. Recipe here: https://www.shelovesbiscotti.com/creamy-homemade-fresh-ricotta-cheese/#recipe
  • Spinach that’s wilting is an add-in to your soup or smoothies.
  • And if things are too far gone, there’s always the green bin or your own composter to see that rotting food become free compost for your gardens, starting the cycle all over again.

And speaking of the ‘waste not, want not’ philosophy, don’t forget the City of Kingston’s first giveaway day of the year takes place on Saturday, Apr. 20, 2024!

Weekly flyer deals:

Some of the best deals this week!

Metro:

  • Pork loin, fresh: $2.99/lb
  • Panty items: Bicks Pickles, Frank’s Hot Sauce or Hellman’s Mayonaise: $3.33 each
  • Frozen veggies, Green Giant brand, assorted varieties: $2.99/750 g

Giant Tiger:

  • Broccoli, fresh: $1.88 each
  • Margarine, Parkay brand: $1,88/427 g (you can freeze margarine and this is a stock-up price)
  • Mini pot pies, frozen, Schneiders brand: $3.97/6 pack
  • Breakfast sausages, frozen, Schneiders brand, $3.97/375 g

No Frills:

  • Croissants, President’s Choice brand, ready to bake: $4/box of 4
  • Apples, Naturally Imperfect brand: $3.99/6 lbs
  • Juice, Allen’s, apple juice or fruit cocktail: $0.88/litre
  • Wings, frozen, Schneiders brand: $5.95/615g
  • Dishwasher tabs, Finish brand: $9.99 assorted kinds and sizes
  • Soup: Campbell’s brand, assorted varieties: $1/can (stock up price)
  • Kraft Dinner – every kid’s favourite! $1/box (stock up price)
  • Gravy and sauce mixes, Club House brand: $1/package
  • Fries, frozen, Cavendish Farms brand: $2/800 g

Food Basics:

  • Chicken drumsticks, fresh: $2.99/lb
  • Pork chops, fresh, bone in: $2.88 lb
  • Eggs, Selection brand, large white: $5.48/18
  • Cereal, Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes or Quaker Life Cereal: $2.88/425 g box
  • Cheese, Black Diamond brand shredded or bricks: $4.88 each
  • English muffins, Dempster’s Brand: $2.49/6 pack
  • Strawberries: $1.88 package (puree in muffin tins and save for smoothies)
  • Fresh veg: Selection brand baby spinach or green beans: $2.88/package
  • Pasta, Selections brand: $1.99/900 grams (stock up price)
  • Bagels: get 4 for $0.99 if you use the Food Basics app

Happy Frugality!


Kingston resident Sarah Cronk offers tips on money-saving strategies and the best deals to be found in local grocery stores in her bi-weekly Kingstonist column, Fabulously Frugal. Have any questions for Sarah or things you’d like her to investigate in terms of cost savings? Let us know! Email Kingstonist Editor-in-Chief Tori Stafford at [email protected].

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