Welcome to Week 8 of the Eat the Rainbow Fruit and Veggie Challenge!
TODAY’S TOPIC: LET’S TALK ABOUT SNACKS!!
How many times have you purchased something at the grocery store, only to come home and find you already had it in your pantry?
How about those times when you buy produce with the intent to use it, only to place it in your fridge and find it a week later once it has gone bad?
Inefficient and unorganized food storage can often lead to food waste and lack of inspiration in the kitchen. Here are some tips to reorganize your pantry and refrigerator for optimal function!
Tips to reorganize your pantry:
- Throw away expired items that are creating clutter
- Use clear storage containers – this way you can see everything
- Group like items together. Categories can include:
- Dried food: pasta, rice, dry beans, flour, sugar, baking items, etc.
- Canned/jarred food: beans, tomato sauce, vegetables, etc.
- Keep things you use often in easy to reach places
- Incorporate shelves or turntables for easy viewing
- Consider purchasing jars or well-sealed containers: taking pantry items out of their packing and placing them into containers instead can keep things better organized and extend shelf life
Tips to reorganize your fridge:
- Place produce where you can see it! Hiding it away in drawers can lead to forgotten and spoiled fruits/veggies
- Clean it out weekly – throw away old leftovers and spoiled food – this will prevent the fridge from getting too full
- Only refrigerate what you need to! Many fruits and vegetables actually do not need to be refrigerated – leaving these items out of the fridge can clear up space. Some examples are: lemons, garlic, onions, tomatoes, and peaches.
One last tip: Take stock of your fridge and pantry before you grocery shop – this helps avoid purchasing duplicates of an item that you may already have.
Week 8 Challenge: Take one actionable step to rehab your pantry or fridge this week! Try out one of the tips above or use a tried-and-true method. Take a picture of your newly organized pantry/fridge and share it to our Facebook page!
Produce Highlight of the Week: Beans
Technically not produce, but beans are a vegetable and an essential component of a healthy plant-centered diet. Beans are a great source of plant-protein, are packed full of fiber, and contain polyphenols and flavonoids (antioxidants) that can protect your cells from free radicals.
How to Use
Beans can be bought canned or dried, and can be incorporated into many different dishes. They are a great cost-effective way to add extra protein and fiber into your meals. Put them on top of salads, cook them in soups or stews, blend them into dips, or even make them into veggie burgers! There are endless options.
This is a great recipe to use lots of pantry staples like canned beans!
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 2–3 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cans (14 oz. each) diced tomatoes in juice
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 cups frozen sweet corn
- 2 cans (16 0z. each) black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cans (16 oz. each) other beans, drained and rinsed (kidney, garbanzo, pinto, etc.)
- Heat oil in a skillet. Add the onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Sauté for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Add chili powder and cumin. Sauté for 2 more minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add the sautéed mixture to a crockpot along with all other ingredients EXCEPT for canned beans.
- Stir well, and cook in crockpot on low all day.
- Stir in the canned beans about 1 hour before serving.
- Remove the bay leaf and serve with desired garnishes like shredded cheese, avocado, sour cream, green onions, etc.
-Julie & The Interns
PS – This is the same chili recipe I used in my “One Pot Meals” cooking class. Check out the recording!