I’m on a very annoying and very necessary mission.
The mission is to reduce waste, and you’re joining me today. I HATE food waste. I hate all waste, really, but I also know that it’s a part of life (don’t even get me started on the unnecessary packaging that is involved in having children), and since I’m not yet ready to go full no-waste (have you seen documentaries about those people? It’s inspiring and also seems hard), food waste is really where I focus my efforts, mainly because it’s easily avoidable compared to other things. A little bit of thought and creativity can go a long way, and today we’re tackling condiments. Specifically, salsa! I was rummaging around the fridge a few weeks ago and realized we had four types of salsa. Some in little ramekins from takeout (you can use that stuff you know…) and a few jars with an inch or two of salsa. Not quite enough to put out for chips and dip, but not bad or old at all.
By the way, expiration dates literally have nothing to do with food going bad or being unsafe, even with meat and dairy. Literally nothing. They are dates used for the producer to “talk” to the grocer and to give the consumer (you) some information about when the food might not be perfect anymore. Imperfect food is not unsafe to eat, and usually doesn’t even taste different. This is not my opinion, this is a fact. Food is bad when it has a strange smell, grows mold or something else, or has a physical sign that it is bad. You of course are in charge of when you throw things out, but throwing things out because they have passed an arbitrary date is willful waste, so keep that in mind when doing purges and cleaning out. If nothing else, it’s a money saver to not constantly throw away things you purchase.
SO WITH THAT, I had all of this salsa and no plan for it. And I had chicken, and I always have rice. So I made this super duper quick seared chicken, reduced the salsa together into a sauce, and served it over rice in half an hour. I’ve made this several times since with other salsa, and the fun thing about this is that it tastes different but familiar each time. Salsa usually involves a base of onions and garlic which add tons of flavor without any chopping on your part. I’ve also chopped up extra onions, peppers, and random veggies (see: no waste!) and simmered them in the sauce, and they turn out delicious as well with zero effort. This is all about use-what-you-have, with delicious results. It feels GREAT to get a few items out of the fridge without throwing them straight in the trash.