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Sunday, February 25, 2024

Use it Up Food Challenge: 2/25/24

 What is a 'Use It Up Food' challenge?

 It's about food waste or more specifically not wasting food ...

 It's about repurposing our leftovers into another dish,

 It's about using every part of fruits and vegetables,

 It's about using up the really small amounts of food ...

It's about using up food scraps, peels and stems ...

It's about being mindful of every bit of food that comes in and through our kitchens and finding a use for it ... all of it!

That's our purpose for this series, so, how did we do this week?

I had some leftover steak in the refrigerator that I needed to use.  It wasn't enough for steak for two, so I turned it into a stir-fry dish ...

I started out with a large skillet and a little oil.  (I used cooking oil, but you can use bacon grease, garlic oil, any kind of fat that you think will go with the stir fry.)

I sliced up some onion and chopped up some carrots I had on hand and sauté them in the skillet over medium heat.

Then I added a cabbage from our garden that I chopped up and continuing sautéing right along with the onions and carrots.

Next, came the sliced up steak, fat and all.  I didn't add any seasoning to the skillet other than salt and pepper for the vegetables because the steak was already seasoned just right for our taste.

Since the steak was already cooked, all it had to do was sauté along with the vegetables until everything was done and the steak heated through and through.

Oh my goodness, it was lip smacking good!  Stir fry is typically served over rice, but this was eaten as you see it!  Yum!  Yum!

I was able to take what wasn't enough for one meal and turn it into 2 meals using leftovers and what I had on hand!


What leftover, bits and bobs, etc of food did you use up this week?

until next time,

mrs. patsi @ A Working Pantry

She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27 

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  1. I love this challenge! With just two of us at home these days I find I have a lot of bits and pieces leftover from meals. We usually eat the leftovers for lunch or a second dinner. With this challenge I have been looking for ways to repurpose leftovers to avoid eating the same thing over and over. One area I have been searching for additional recipes is for my potato flake sourdough starter. I hate pouring the excess down the drain. Because it is more watery than traditional sourdough starter I have found it difficult to adapt recipes with this much moisture. Patsy to the rescue! Last week you included a link to a website with recipes specifically for this potato flake starter. I have made pancakes and dinner rolls using recipes from the website you provided. Both turned out perfectly! I am anxious to try some of the others. Thank you for putting your time and talents to A Working Pantry. I find it encouraging and educational. Many blessings to you. Marley

    1. Marley, a big thank you for your encouragement! I made bread with my potato flake sourdough starter today and it turned about perfectly too!

  2. I forgot to mention that I had 4 apples on their last leg so I diced them up (with peels) and cooked enough to soften then blended them up for applesauce. We have been enjoying this for a couple of days. The cores go into the compost.

    1. Marley, isn't homemade applesauce just the best!

  3. That is a winner dish for sure! I love cabbage in stir fry. My Mom's trick for a little steak was to chop it in the food processor and then add it just long enough to warm it to a pan of sautéed peppers and onions and then pile it on a roll and top with cheese to melt. That little bit of steak magically becomes enough for two when chopped up.

    I had a doozy of a week in the food department. I was down in a lot of pain and back to sleeping 16 hours out of 24 so food was on the back burner but we made it by using freezer meals and a few trips through the drive thru where we had BOGO coupons. The little cooking I did was one of those weeks where the biscuits did not raise and we could have patched our driveway with them and a recipe for air fried cabbage was a hard burnt mess. We are going to do what we need to do to get through this period of healing even if we have to stock the freezer with some frozen meals. Sometimes that is what it takes!

    1. Lana, I'm sorry you are having pain and hope and pray that it will soon pass.

      Your mom's steak trick is brilliant. I'm going to add that to my ongoing collection of way to use up bits and bobs of food.

      You are wise to do what you need to do to get through this period of your overcoming, frozen meals gets my vote or whatever is the absolute easiest!

  4. We must have been on the same wavelength this week Patsi, as I did the same thing with left over chicken. And, yes, we had leftovers from it as well. This left me with some cabbage that needed to be used up and I found a recipe that would use it up plus a few tablespoons of leftover no'mato sauce and just enough mozzarella to make it called ",pizza eggs", and we had that for brunch. One of the miracles of using it up and hunkering down, even in this time of rising food prices is that my grocery costs have been reduced close to $100 per month and sometimes more. This has allowed us to add that to our emergency fund do it quicker than expected.. Thank you for starting this series.

    1. Cookie, I'll have to try chicken the next time we have cabbage.

      If things old as they have been thus far this month, we will come in at having spent under $100 for groceries this month. It sure is helping us with our financial goals for this month! It's amazing what you can do when you pull out all the stops with using what you have on hand isn't it?

  5. That stir fry sounds delicious! Sadly this week saw some food waste in my fridge, but all is not lost, as now I have a pig to feed it all to. I will try to do better though, as I'd rather be eating the groceries I buy!
    One thing I have been doing is eating out of the pantry and freezer more and staying away from the grocery store as much as possible. I feel like my decluttering efforts have spilled over into the food department, as I'm using up things that have been in there a little too long. It's also showing me the foods I reach for last, what I keep passing over in favor of something else, and what I will/won't buy in the future, no matter how good the sale. It's best to stick to the tried-and-true favorites/staples and not stock up on things until you have sampled them to be sure you and your family actually want to eat them. Always learning!

    1. Kelsey, when all else fails with food that can't be salvaged, our compost bin gets it! Like you though, I prefer to eat our groceries, but in the end it all comes back to us in the form of compost which is used to grow our food.

  6. Had a good week here using it up. I try hard not to waste anything.

  7. It was a good "use it up" week here. I'd purchased 6-8 small acorn squash in October; they winter perfectly in a basket in my garage over the winter, and I'm trying to use up the last few before the weather gets too warm. On Thursday, I made stuffed acorn squash. The stuffing recipe I use with my squash includes Italian sausage, diced celery, chopped onion, diced apple, seasonings, a little bread crumbs, and some grated parmesan. My celery was starting to get a little wilted, but it was still servicable. I also pulled out all of the partial bulbs of onion taking residency in my crisper drawer, trimmed them back, and chopped them all. I cut the recipe in half, but after stuffing 2 squash halves, I still had half of the ground meat mixture left over. So, on Friday, I used the leftovers, mixed with a pint of home-canned spaghetti sauce for a spaghetti dinner. I figured the breading, parmesan, and apple would just work as a thickener, and I could thin it with water to get the right consistency. After having a spaghetti dinner, and setting aside a container of extra noodles and sauce for my lunch, I still had half of my spaghetti sauce left over. For Sunday dinner, I made a half-recipe of lasagna in a loaf pan and my daughter joined me for dinner. For the lasagna filling, I simply added another pint of sauce to the leftover sausage mixture from Friday's spaghetti, and browned a little leftover sausage mixture from when I made stuffed banana peppers in the Fall (it was getting a little long in the freezer and needed to be used up; it simply made the sauce a little meatier). So from 1/2 lb. of sausage + a little extra--maybe 1/8# added on Sunday, 2 pints of home-canned spaghetti sauce, and a couple of wilted ribs of celery, I made enough for 3 meals (stuffed squash, spaghetti with meat sauce, and lasagna) + enough leftovers for my own lunch for 3 days + a serving of lasagna to send home with my daughter.

    1. Lori, you did it again! Lots of inspiration and know how in your comment! Thank you for sharing!