Waste Not, Want Not

I grew up in a house with seven other children and my parents, we wasted NOTHING! Mom shopped on Saturday morning and the groceries lasted all week. Friday night was the only regular exception to the grocery budget. We snacked on chips and store brand ice cream served up in a blue bowl so small the cat was laughing because her food bowl was bigger. I think Mom took seriously the ½ cup serving size on the carton of ice cream.

We all watched the Brady Bunch, the Partridge Family and if she didn’t think it was too late or the episode too “Risque”, the Sonny and Cher show. Oh my how times have changed. I loved Cher’s costumes. Seriously, who didn’t want to wear the Cherokee outfit that totally exposed your navel, complete with headgear?

Although Mom’s eyes were glued to the T.V. set she was sure to bestow upon us her motherly wisdom… “Real women don’t wear clothes like that Kathleen”.  Umm, Mom?  YES they do, AND they get to be on T.V.!

Anyway, I remember on a handful of occasion’s not finishing what was on my plate (liver and onions night, to be specific). My mother would always offer up “there are children in poor countries that would love to have that food” to which I would venture to say, ALL of my siblings (myself included) at one point or another would respond with a smirk and a “gimme’ a stamp and I’ll send it to ‘em!”

I clearly remember the searing pain of the “evil eye” shrapnel that bore holes into my cheeks.  With one cast, the evil eye could tell a quick and silent story which usually implied “Try it again and you’ll be knocked into the middle of next week”.  My mother had a calm and sweet presence but we still had the fear of God in her. As it should be…love and respect your Momma.

As I got older I rarely ate the leftovers in my own refrigerator, especially produce. I fell victim to the “buy one get one” sale in the grocery store feeling once again wasteful, and the sting of the evil eye. Given the current economy I am trying to teach my kids that “Money really doesn’t grow on trees”.

 “Mirror, mirror on the wall, I am my mother after-all”

Now down to business! Last week I posted a recipe for a Balsamic Vinegar Reduction.  I used it on the Pork Tenderloin with Strawberry Salsa but still had at least a half a bottle left in the refrigerator. So once again, in honor of some motherly advice I was once given “waste not, want not”.

The following are a few things to try it on and although I don’t have any pics of these two items in particular, it is absolutely fabulous on hot roast beef or roast pork sandwiches and fresh strawberries and vanilla ice cream. Hey now! Don’t knock it until you try it!

Make some of these appetizers below and use it up, then let me know what you think by leaving me a comment. Hey! I’m just trying to save you from waking up in the middle of next week trying to remember your name and how to tie your shoes!  I’m just sayin’…

Tomato and Mozzarella


Slice fresh mozzarella and tomato’s about 1/4″ thick and layer on a small platter. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Drizzle with a little olive oil and the balsamic reduction and for goodness sake try not to smack your lips, it’s rude!




Drizzle it on!

Marinated Mushrooms

Slice up one container of Baby Bella mushrooms and mix with three tablespoons of olive oil or just enough to coat. Sprinkle on some Kosher salt and grind some fresh pepper over them. Mix well and set aside. If you can’t find Baby Bella’s use the larger Portabella version and chop into smaller pieces.

Slice, add Olive Oil and Salt and Pepper

Next mince up the leaves from several stems of rosemary and thyme. Note: In the picture they are pulled from the stems then chopped. If you run your fingers tightly against the direction the leaves grow they will come right off for you.

Strip leaves of both the rosemary and thyme from their stems

Mince leaves well.

Sprinkle the rosemary and thyme over your mushrooms and mix together. Let stand for 15 minutes to marinate.

Sprinkle herbs and mix together, let stand for 15 minutes

Drizzle about 3 tablespoons of olive oil into a frying pan and heat until the oil starts to ripple a little.  Add your mushrooms and saute for about 15 minutes.  Depending on your stove you may have to turn the flame up or down so they don’t cook too fast and stick to the pan.  If you see this start to happen pour a small amount of water into the pan to release them and cook until there is no more water but they look nicely browned and slightly wet.

Into the pan with oil heated and rippling

Mmmm almost ready, starting to stick so I turn down the heat and add a little water

Ready to assemble

Slice up a baguette into whatever thickness you prefer. I like them a little thinner.

Slice baguette to preferred thickness

Spoon mushrooms on top of the bread slices and drizzle with the balsamic reduction, YUM!


A couple of quick tips for you.  A sharp knife is a great investment. I bought the knife you see here at HomeGoods which is part of the TJMaxx companies.  I paid less than half the price for the same knife you can find at Williams Sonoma.  I suggest googling HomeGoods to see if you have a store near you.  Admittedly I am a HomeGoods addict! Just keep checking out the plates and glassware in my blogs! O.K. on to the next delight.

Roasted Potato’s

I love roasted potato’s and I know I am not alone. When most people think of roasted potato’s, they fret the work of chopping large whole potato’s and the rest of the work that goes along with them. In this recipe use small creamer potato’s available in almost every grocery store and no prep is required…unless preheating an oven is work for you.

I start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees and tossing the potato’s in olive oil (about 3 tablespoons for a small bag of potato’s) and a roasted vegetable seasoning I purchased at HomeGoods. Can we say “FABULOUS”? You can also use Italian Seasonings with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Then pop them in the oven for 30-45 minutes and drizzle with the balsamic reduction.  If you eat french fries with malt vinegar you should try it with the Balsamic reduction. I’m getting hungry again…

Roasted veggie seasoning from Home Goods

After 30-40 minutes in the oven, test to see if they are done...eat one silly! If its yum, its done!

Once again drizzle with the balsamic reduction and share...or ...NOT!

Caramelized Onions

O.K., one last recipe. I think when you caramelize onions you should do a whole bag.  You can freeze them and warm them up when you need them. Start by slicing an onion thin. Absolutely no more than ¼ inch thick.  Sprinkle with Kosher salt. Heat a frying pan with about 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil until the oil looks like it rippling. Put the onions in the pan and sauté until they are a caramel color. If at any point the heat is too high and they start to stick, add a small amount of water to separate them from the pan.

Slice thinly, no more than 1/4"

Oil in the heated pan until it ripples. start with medium heat

Once the onions are ready, top a piece of baguette with some and drizzle with the balsamic reduction. Freeze the leftover onions in baggies.  Fill several baggies with small portions that can be used as individual servings.

By the way, cherries go perfectly with these. Treat yourself right...

Please don’t hesitate to ask me questions…I love to cook and I will always answer you.

About fnfkathy

Author of www.fridaynightfamily.com
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10 Responses to Waste Not, Want Not

  1. Michelle says:

    All of these recipes are making me SO hungry! Another wonderful blog entry, friend…

  2. April says:

    Looks Amazing…I am now starving! And it looks like the type of cooking I can handle! xoxo

  3. Jackie says:

    Once again, delicious recipes and great pictures! The mushrooms and the caramelized onions were awesome! All of it was amazing! LOVE!

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