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UpCycle Food Right In Your Own Kitchen

Jack’s Smack Note:

I just learned a new term: Upcycled Food. For those of us who are unaware there is a movement underway to minimize food waste. The Specialty Food Association Trendspotter Panel included upcycled products as part of its predicted top 10 food trends last year. (Not sure where I was hiding.) “We’re already seeing pressed juice made from imperfect fruit, chips made from fruit pulp, and snack bars made from spent grain from the beermaking process,” the panel stated in a press release.

Rachel Crowell, at Rewire, a non-profit publication that serves to inspire curious young adults, writes: “Here in the U.S. alone, we’re throwing away an estimated $162 billion in food each year, and most of it isn’t even spoiled.”

Even though I’m not ‘young’ anymore, I hate throwing leftovers away and often re-purpose them in subsequent meals. Apparently upcycled food (which is a way better term than ‘food waste’ is showing up on supermarket shelves and on restaurant menus. The literature, what there is of it, focuses on repurposing ingredients in the category of ‘waste products’ as opposed to the last third of the salad dressing bottle you are likely to toss. But, who’s to say we can’t upcycle in the comfort of our own kitchen.

Here, Akaisha shares one of her ‘Upcycled Recipes’ utilizing a handful of ‘almost gone’ ingredients she frequently finds in her refrigerator. I was pleasantly surprised by the notion that something I frequently, mindlessly, do in my kitchen can be shared with all us KUEL women in a way that can be replicated. The following is Akaisha’s ‘Upcycled Recipe’ for Toasted Cheese Bread.

Upcycled Toasted Cheese Bread – Akaisha Kaderli

Sometimes we find ourselves with a selection of nearly used up salad dressing bottles, and jars containing a few green olives, capers or Italian pepperocinis in the door of the refrigerator. We always have various small pieces of cheese like cheddar, blue, cream cheese or mozzarella in our cheese bin. All this “stuff” takes up a lot of needless room, but we don’t want to throw any of it out.

Here’s what we do.

We pull out all these seemingly mismatched ingredients and put them on the counter. Chop the olives, capers, and/or a fewpepperocinisinto small pieces and toss them into a large mixing bowl. Grate up some of the cheeses into this bowl (the small pieces first to use them up) add some capers and pour a little of one or more of the salad dressings into this odds-and-ends concoction.

Mix well.

It helps if the cheeses are room temperature because they will blend better, and you don’t want the “spread” to be too soupy. You are looking for the consistency of a light paste. Taste for flavor. Need some garlic? What about freshly ground black pepper? Add some paprika for color or maybe some dried or fresh parsley, real bacon bits or very finely chopped green onions. Maybe chop some sun-dried tomatoes – not too many!

Mix well and let sit for about 5 minutes for the ingredients to blend. Stir and taste again. You can’t really make a mistake. Each time the flavors will be different, depending on what you have in your refrigerator.

Now take a loaf of sour dough French bread, or better yet, get some of those mismatched hamburger or hot dog buns!

Spread this powerfully tasty and nutritious cheese spread onto the bread (parmesan cheese on top?) and broil it the same as you do garlic toast. The cheese will bubble and maybe turn a little brown. When it looks how you want it, take it out, cut and serve!

People are always astonished when they eat this bread, and we rarely have any left. If you do, cut it up and make croutons and use them on top of your next salad!

These toasts are really good as a side dish to a salad or soup meal, too.

Don’t forget to save the jars of liquid from those olive, capers, jalapenos or pepperocinis and use them to marinate vegetables. I’ll explain about that another time!

About the Author:
Having retired at the age of 38 in 1991, Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, world travel and medical tourism.
They have been interviewed about retirement issues by The Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine, The Motley Fool Rule Your Retirement newsletter, nationally syndicated radio talk show host Clark Howard, Bankrate.com, SmartMoney, Minyanville, FOXBusiness and countless newspapers and TV shows nationally and worldwide.
With the wealth of information they share on their award winning websiteRetireEarlyLifestyle, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991.

Jack’s Smack Note:

I just learned a new term: Upcycled Food. For those of us who are unaware there is a movement underway to minimize food waste. The Specialty Food Association Trendspotter Panel included upcycled products as part of its predicted top 10 food trends last year. (Not sure where I was hiding.) “We’re already seeing pressed juice made from imperfect fruit, chips made from fruit pulp, and snack bars made from spent grain from the beermaking process,” the panel stated in a press release.

Rachel Crowell, at Rewire, a non-profit publication that serves to inspire curious young adults, writes: “Here in the U.S. alone, we’re throwing away an estimated $162 billion in food each year, and most of it isn’t even spoiled.”

Even though I’m not ‘young’ anymore, I hate throwing leftovers away and often re-purpose them in subsequent meals. Apparently upcycled food (which is a way better term than ‘food waste’ is showing up on supermarket shelves and on restaurant menus. The literature, what there is of it, focuses on repurposing ingredients in the category of ‘waste products’ as opposed to the last third of the salad dressing bottle you are likely to toss. But, who’s to say we can’t upcycle in the comfort of our own kitchen.

Here, Akaisha shares one of her ‘Upcycled Recipes’ utilizing a handful of ‘almost gone’ ingredients she frequently finds in her refrigerator. I was pleasantly surprised by the notion that something I frequently, mindlessly, do in my kitchen can be shared with all us KUEL women in a way that can be replicated. The following is Akaisha’s ‘Upcycled Recipe’ for Toasted Cheese Bread.

Upcycled Toasted Cheese Bread – Akaisha Kaderli

Sometimes we find ourselves with a selection of nearly used up salad dressing bottles, and jars containing a few green olives, capers or Italian pepperocinis in the door of the refrigerator. We always have various small pieces of cheese like cheddar, blue, cream cheese or mozzarella in our cheese bin. All this “stuff” takes up a lot of needless room, but we don’t want to throw any of it out.

Here’s what we do.

We pull out all these seemingly mismatched ingredients and put them on the counter. Chop the olives, capers, and/or a fewpepperocinisinto small pieces and toss them into a large mixing bowl. Grate up some of the cheeses into this bowl (the small pieces first to use them up) add some capers and pour a little of one or more of the salad dressings into this odds-and-ends concoction.

Mix well.

It helps if the cheeses are room temperature because they will blend better, and you don’t want the “spread” to be too soupy. You are looking for the consistency of a light paste. Taste for flavor. Need some garlic? What about freshly ground black pepper? Add some paprika for color or maybe some dried or fresh parsley, real bacon bits or very finely chopped green onions. Maybe chop some sun-dried tomatoes – not too many!

Mix well and let sit for about 5 minutes for the ingredients to blend. Stir and taste again. You can’t really make a mistake. Each time the flavors will be different, depending on what you have in your refrigerator.

Now take a loaf of sour dough French bread, or better yet, get some of those mismatched hamburger or hot dog buns!

Spread this powerfully tasty and nutritious cheese spread onto the bread (parmesan cheese on top?) and broil it the same as you do garlic toast. The cheese will bubble and maybe turn a little brown. When it looks how you want it, take it out, cut and serve!

People are always astonished when they eat this bread, and we rarely have any left. If you do, cut it up and make croutons and use them on top of your next salad!

These toasts are really good as a side dish to a salad or soup meal, too.

Don’t forget to save the jars of liquid from those olive, capers, jalapenos or pepperocinis and use them to marinate vegetables. I’ll explain about that another time!

About the Author:
Having retired at the age of 38 in 1991, Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, world travel and medical tourism.
They have been interviewed about retirement issues by The Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine, The Motley Fool Rule Your Retirement newsletter, nationally syndicated radio talk show host Clark Howard, Bankrate.com, SmartMoney, Minyanville, FOXBusiness and countless newspapers and TV shows nationally and worldwide.
With the wealth of information they share on their award winning websiteRetireEarlyLifestyle, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991.