Other than resisting the urge to grocery shop when I do not need to grocery shop, here are 5 ways I have found I can stop my food wastage, as well as make what I do have spread out further.
1. Have left over vegetables from tonight's dinner? Finely chop them up, and mix into your spaghetti or chili for tomorrow's dinner.
If I saute some zucchini, squash, and onions for a veggie side dish with dinner, i usually end up with about 1/2 a cup left over. My husband and son won't be requesting seconds on vegetables, and the leftovers if placed in the fridge will go to waste. But, if I finely chop those bad boys up and add them to my pot of spaghetti or chili, it adds another whole serving that the family will want seconds on...and they don't even realize there are veggies in there!
2. Bake a whole chicken or turkey for dinner.
Even if you're serving just one or two people for dinner, do this a couple of times a month. Whole chickens are $1 or less per pound and turkeys, when Thanksgiving is approaching, will go on sale for as low as 69 cents a pound at Publix! With chickens, all I do is take out the innards, season with salt, pepper, garlic, and chopped onion, and place it in the slow cooker on low for a few hours. I'll serve it for dinner with rice and vegetables, then I shred the leftover meat and freeze for future dinners requiring cooked chicken. Oh! And when I'm done I mix water in with the juice and freeze in quart ziplock bags to use for soups for the winter! As an alternative you can also buy the precoooked chicken in grocery stores and use it for a few meals.
3. Do you have left overs for dinner, but not enough for the whole family to eat again? Freeze in single servings portions for future quick meals during busy weeknights.
Shane was sick last weekend and this was so beneficial for me. He could not eat anything, and my parents were babysitting the little guy, so it was just me for dinner. I had one hearty serving of tortilla soup I had frozen from a couple of months ago. I just fried a couple of corn tortillas and heated the soup in a small pot like I would if I had bought the canned stuff. It was just as good as the first time I served it for dinner (and cheaper and WAY better than the canned stuff).
4. Did you buy a 5 lb bag of russet potatoes because they were on sale and have about 3 -4 lbs left of potatoes that are going to go bad? Here's something you can do to prevent that and further your quick meals...
5. In general, save money on food by meal planning. Plot out ways to use up all those ingredients on hand, and make the freezer your best friend.
In addition to meal planning, I like to make and freeze the things my family likes to eat for breakfasts and deserts. I make and freeze biscuits for quick baking in the morning. I make cookie dough, pre-freeze in single serving balls on a cookie sheet, then throw them all into a ziplock bag and refreeze for those nights where we want a little something for dessert. It's so much cheaper to do this than buy the pre-made frozen stuff at the store, plus you can control the ingredients!