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Simple Savings

10-Second Recipes: With a Will - and a Clever Way - You Can Waste Less

(10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare)

By Lisa Messinger
Food and Cooking at Creators Syndicate

Always - but especially during these times that are rough economic ones for many - wasting is a no-no. In fact, in a study published in August, the National Resources Defense Council reported that $165 billion of food is wasted in the United States each year, with the average family of four wasting $2,275 annually. They estimated that, if just 15 percent less food were wasted, 25 million more people could be fed. The financial arm of Yahoo! Shine found that some foods are wasted much more often than others, such as produce and bread.  Check out the top four wasted foods and some 10-second ideas to reverse that trend below.

Fun fare like this also proves food and beverage preparation can be easy, nutritious, economical, fun - and fast. They take just 10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare. The creative combinations are delicious proof that everyone has time for tasty home cooking and, more importantly, the healthy family togetherness that goes along with it! Another benefit: You effortlessly become a better cook since there are no right or wrong amounts. These are virtually-can't-go-wrong combinations, so whatever you - or your kidlet helpers - choose to use can't help but draw "wows" from everyone.

Make Your Produce Produce More
Produce is No. 1 when it comes to waste. EatingWell magazine analyzed this as well and found, in addition to celery in general, one prime area to be "fronds," those leafy parts at the top of vegetables (like celery, beets, radishes and fennel) that are often chopped off and discarded. Nutrition and flavor await you if you use them. Wash, chop and add to store-bought low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth, season a chicken with them before cooking, or sprinkle in tuna or chicken salad and wrap up in whole-grain tortillas.

Fresh Herbs: In Fashion, Not in the Trash Bag
Have you found fresh herbs soggy and forgotten at the bottom of your refrigerator's produce drawer? Or maybe you've thrown out those chives for the third time in a row after using them just once in a recipe. Instead, EatingWell advises that you mash them up in cream cheese for a fast spread or dip.

Beat the Odds with Bread
It's a no-brainer: Freeze bread in a double bag as soon as you buy it to preserve freshness and defrost single slices when needed. If it's too late and bread is slightly stale, make croutons by seasoning with spices, like curry powder, cayenne pepper and/or red pepper flakes, or ethnic blends, such as Cajun, Mexican, Italian or Chinese five-spice blend, and toasting.

Give Direction to Your Dairy Products
When it comes to certain dairy products, like the often-wasted sour cream, since recipes only call for a dollop or two, first buy smaller containers. Secondly, use leftovers immediately in a dynamically seasoned dip, such as one with fresh lime juice, freshly ground black pepper and finely diced black olives. It goes without saying, we hope you're purchasing fat-free varieties to begin with (except for children, who need fuller fat choices), since they have virtually no flavor difference.

QUICK TIP OF THE WEEK: For a quick, easy-to-fit-into-your-busy-day fitness routine, consider pushing your filled cart around the supermarket's parking lot a few times when you are done shopping.  If you don't have enough to fill a cart, carry whatever amount of bags you can comfortably and walk with those. You'll be getting an aerobic workout that is virtually invisible within your regular shopping time. If the kidlets - or your spouse - can tag along (bag free!), they too will reap the benefits.

Lisa Messinger is a first-place winner in food and nutrition writing from the Association of Food Journalists and the National Council Against Health Fraud and author of seven food books, including the best-selling The Tofu Book: The New American Cuisine with 150 Recipes (Avery/Penguin Putnam) and Turn Your Supermarket into a Health Food Store: The Brand-Name Guide to Shopping for a Better Diet (Pharos/Scripps Howard). She writes two nationally syndicated food and nutrition columns for Creators Syndicate and had been a longtime newspaper food and health section managing editor, as well as managing editor of Gayot/Gault Millau dining review company. Lisa traveled the globe writing about top chefs for Pulitzer Prize-winning Copley News Service and has written about health and nutrition for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Reader's Digest, Woman's World and Prevention Magazine Health Books. Permission granted for use on 

Tags: 10 Second Recipes, Budget, Eat Less-Move More, Exercise, Recipes, Stay-at-Home Mom
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