How To Use Up All The Items In Your Fridge

This summer I bet you purchased enough bagged salad that you promptly threw away three days later after it started to look sad, water logged and wilted. Don’t feel too bad, one third of all food produced worldwide goes to waste. At Stomping Ground, we have a very strict no waste policy. Everything that can be reused, does get reused. It is better for the farmer that produced the product, the truck that got it to us, the cook that prepped the items, the owner that purchased the items and the guest that gets to enjoy the fruits of all of this labor. Below are a couple of my favorite “use it up” techniques and recipes that you can do at home:


Photo Credit: Keirnan Monaghan and Theo Vamvounakis Courtesy of James Beard Foundation Book, “Waste Not” 


Salsa Verde aka Herb Chutney

Think beyond Pesto. This is a great way to use up any leftover herbs from your garden! Just blitz ’em in a food processor or blender with with garlic, lime juice, a green chile, salt, and a pinch o’ sugar and a few drops of water to get the entire mixture into a paste. You can put a chutney on anything —salad dressings, as a sandwich spread, and as a sauce for roasted vegetables (see my previous post for cooking tips). It also freezes really well, and adding lime juice provides zip even if your herbs have lost a bit of their freshness!


Smoothies, Seltzers and Banana Ice Cream

 Freeze that sad mango, banana or berries even when they look ugly, brown or soggy! They will keep well and you can drop them into smoothies (a great way to use up that yogurt that is about a day or two away from spoilage). Over smoothies? Puree the fruit and mix with seltzer for refreshing homemade soda. I also like to put just a frozen banana with a few shots of vanilla into my blender to make ‘ice cream.” Seriously, just a brown frozen banana and a few drops of flavor. Pulse till smooth. Eat with a spoon. Yum!



Frittatas are best way to turn sad bottom-of-the-crisper produce into something good enough to eat. Chop ’em up raw, roast them, boil them. Literally anything. Fold into eggs, salt generously and bake! They are also a great way to use up leftovers that aren’t necessarily veggies — try fried rice, crispy ground meat from taco night, or even that half jar of kimchi you don’t know what to do with!


Photo Credit: Keirnan Monaghan and Theo Vamvounakis Courtesy of James Beard Foundation Book, “Waste Not” 


All ‘dem Tomaters

If you overdid it this summer, roast your cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet until the liquid becomes syrupy. Cool, package in ziplock bags and freeze. Use later for tomato sauce or even top on toasted bread with garlic for sweet bruschetta!


Parmesan Rinds, Veggie Trim and Bones

Do not throw them away. Freeze them and toss into soups and broths this winter! Even more, you don’t have to purchase new veggies to make your stock. Make veggie stock with wilting produce or the trimmings from your salad prep. Keep a ziplock bag in your freezer until you have enough to make stock. Buy your meat and poultry on the bone. Use the bones to make broth, don’t fall for that $10 jar at Whole Foods! You can even use the cooked bones, roasted bones create more richly flavored broths!


Bacon Drippings

Save all of your bacon grease, ham drippings or chicken fat in a glass jar (down South they use coffee cans) and use it in other dishes for richer flavor. Use it instead of oil to cook your proteins in a pan. Use it as a base to cook your veggies for your soups. Use it to make gravy. Use it to fry eggs. Just use it!


  • The latest from Nicole
Head Janitor, Chef, and Proprietor | Stomping Ground
Nicole’s cooking style is rooted in, but not limited to, her love of southern biscuits and her diverse culinary upbringing. A military brat, she spent her childhood in the Chicago suburbs enjoying her great-grandmother Mae’s Lithuanian cooking. As a tween, she moved to Paulding County, Ga. where she begrudgingly fell in love with the charmingly perplex small towns of the Deep South. She fondly remembers grubbing on Martin’s biscuits, late-night Waffle House debauchery and cooking with her family. After graduating from the University of Georgia, Nicole started a marketing career at an art nonprofit in Atlanta. At 25 years old, she became the youngest executive at the local Atlanta NPR affiliate. Chasing her dreams, she moved to Alexandria, Va. where she took a short post in the Whole Foods marketing department. Realizing that cooking had been her true love all along, she began night courses at L’Academie de Cuisine. She completed her apprenticeship at Blue Duck Tavern where she was promoted to a line cook after graduation. From there, Nicole worked as a private chef for busy Washington D.C. executives and their families. As grown-ups tend to do, Nicole realized something about her childhood — the best parts were enjoying small town communities, cooking with her great-grandmother and sharing meals with family and friends. She opened Stomping Ground to build a safe and welcoming community around yummy, handmade food from local sources. As her first foray running her own kitchen, she has shamelessly hired better, smarter cooks to fill her kitchen and your bellies. Her great-grandmother’s recipes often appear on the Stomping Ground menu without advertisement and, no, she won’t tell you the secret ingredients. Nicole lives in Del Ray and won’t shut up about how much she loves living there.

If you wander down Del Ray’s, “The Avenue,” you won’t miss the farm-red building with a rustic fence bordering the patio. Stomping Ground opened two years ago and quickly became popular for its made-from-scratch biscuits and its neighborhood vibe. On weekends, excited guests line up before Stomping Ground opens hoping to be the first to get a just-out-of-the-oven biscuit or a fresh salad. Stomping Ground is mostly known for its fast casual breakfast and lunch but on Thursdays and Fridays they provide a full dinner service after 5:00pm. All meals are built from local, seasonal food that is organic whenever possible.

2309 Mt Vernon Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22301


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