It happens to the best of us. You go through your pantry to rotate your stockpile or just happen to check the expiration date on something in the fridge when you suddenly realize an item is about to expire.  There is not even enough time to donate it to a food bank or pawn it off on a family member! So what do you do?

Throwing away perfectly good food is absolutely not an option in my home. It's like throwing away a wad of cash and time well spent cutting coupons and strategizing for the best deals.  The only option, in my opinion, is to use it fast! Here are some suggestions on how to use large quantities of an ingredient in order to save it from ending up in a landfill.

PEANUT BUTTER

  • Toss it in the blender with some bananas and milk for a healthy smoothie.
  • Make a tasty Asian-style peanut sauce (great on chicken and pasta!)

MAYO

  • Use it as an intense hair conditioning treatment (not my favorite use, but to each her own!)
  • Make one of a dozen types of salads–macaroni, potato, tuna, etc.

SALAD DRESSINGS

  • Vinaigrette-style dressings make fantastic marinades for veggies and chicken, especially if you're grilling.
  • Creamy dressings can be flavor-packed substitutes for mayonnaise in potato or macaroni salads or even as a pre-bread crumb coating for chicken or pork.

CANNED SOUPS

  • Casseroles generally call for at least one can of cream-style soups. Double or triple a recipe and invite friends over for an old-fashioned favorite, or use a freezable recipe to save for future meals.
  • Jazz up broth or tomato-based soups with vegetables, pasta, and/or rice for a heartier soup that can be paired with a garden salad or crusty bread for a lighter dinner.

MILK

  • Instant puddings and mashed potatoes will deplete your jug in a snap!

EGGS

  • Hard-boil those babies and whip up some egg salad or deviled eggs. (If you also have the soon-to-be-expired mayo, you've killed two birds with one stone!)
  • Omelets and frittatas use a lot of eggs and are a yummy change to a boring breakfast routine, or make for a meatless meal for dinner.

BUTTER

  • All I can say is, Cookie baking time! If you don't want all those calorie-laden goodies sitting around the kitchen tempting you, send them to school with your kids as a treat for the often under-appreciated secretarial or custodial staff.

FRUIT JUICE

  • Pour into popsicle molds or paper cups for a frozen treat.
  • Citrus juices, such as orange or lemon, make great marinades for chicken and fish when mixed with some olive oil, garlic, and herbs.

COLD CUTS

  • Julienne, slice, or chop up just about any lunch meat to turn a side salad into a protein-packed meal.
  • Use ham or salami as a pizza topping or calzone filling.

Hopefully, this list of examples will inspire you to "repurpose" your aging groceries, salvage your stockpile, and save you a few bucks in the process.

This has been a guest post by Michelle from Port Charlotte, FL
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