>Recycling… Food


I’ve mentioned before how I do alot of planned overs. Making one meal and planning on turning it into another meal. This week ended up being the ultimate planned over week quite by accident. I know that I put up my menu for the week on Monday so this is a little repetitive but the menu plan doesn’t actually show how the parts of the meals can be carried over or ‘recycled’.

Sunday was a roasted home raised chicken that was a gift from our neighbor using this recipe (minus the rosewater). It was quite delicious served with a green salad, rice and preserved lemons (I made a 1/2 gallon of these back in December and use them every chance I get). I picked the remainder of the meat off the carcass and put that in the crock pot for broth.

Monday night we had a yummy chicken salad (made with homemade mayo) over greens from the chicken meat that was left.
Tuesday the broth was ready and became Chicken Coconut Soup which is a delicious thin soup (drink it from a mug) that includes coconut milk (recipe in Nourishing Traditions) and I started a second batch of broth. I use the same bones but add more veggies, water and vinegar. Click here for better instructions.

Wednesday night was to be Majadareh but instead of using straight water in it I used the rest of the soup from Tuesday night and a little water. The results were delicious (even though I do feel a little guilty for messing up Wardeh’s recipe). I served it as Wardeh suggested in the comments of her recipe with (homemade) yogurt and a green salad with a dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. AMAZING. I think it is my favorite way to have lentils.
Thursday night, the second batch of broth was ready. The broth along with a few carrots, potatoes and about 2 cups of the Majadareh (lentils) from the night before became the base of a soup that was topped with dumplings. The flavor was outstanding and perfect with sauerkraut on the side.
The rest of the Majadareh is in the freezer for future use and the leftover Dumpling soup will be lunch for Friday and Saturday.

By cooking this way I feel that I can still provide fairly nutrient dense food and be able to keep our budget under control. If I would have purchased the chicken, I believe that our dinners, (including sides) Sunday through Thursday would have ended up costing around $30 (there is a ranch a few hours from me that sells pastured chicken in the fall $15 for a roaster so that is what I’m using for the chicken cost) or $6 each meal or $1.20 a person (of course, one person is only 16 months old but he does eat quite a bit). As you can see the meals aren’t very glamorous- except that Morrocan Chicken was quite pretty- but they are filling and were delicious. Adding in the bone broth really ups the nutrition value too. And to think in my previous cooking days I would have just chucked those bones in the garbage. tsk tsk.

I have to admit, when I was working on my menu plan, I hadn’t realized the potential for planning over the meals. I do a menu plan for the entire month and do try to think about how things will be used but by being flexible and not 100% set on my menu plan or the ingredients that a recipe stipulates we can save in surprising ways. I treat both my meal plan and a written recipe as a ‘guide’ and go from there. Plus I love the creativity of creating a semi-new and tasty food. The problem with that creativity is that often times I’m not sure what I did so recreating it is a challenge.

I’d love to hear about some of your kitchen creations. Especially since I’m working on my May menu and looking for great ideas.
Millie Copper
Millie Copper is a Wyoming wife and mama. After reading Nourishing Traditions in early 2009, her family began transforming their diet to whole, unprocessed, nutrient dense foods—a little at a time while stretching their food dollars. Millie is passionate to share how, with a little creativity, anyone can transition to a real foods diet without overwhelming their food budget. Millie began blogging in late 2009 and has amassed a collection of frugal recipes and methods. Her specialties include cooking with wild game and creating “Stretchy Beans”. Discovering a love of writing, she has penned four books focusing on healthy eating on a budget and is trying her hand at fiction writing. Learn more at MillieCopper.com.


  1. Wardeh

    >Hey, don't feel bad about using leftover soup to cook the lentils! It sounds wonderful! I'm glad you liked it with the salad and yogurt. I agree. AMAZING. 🙂

    Millie, I keep having trouble w/ your search function. Searching for anything tends to reroute me back to the main page of your blog, leaving me still to read through everything rather than getting right to the post I need (today I was looking for your minimal knead bread). Is there something I'm doing wrong? This has been happening for quite awhile. Hee, hee, I come here more often than you think even though I don't always comment. 🙂

  2. Millie

    >Hi Wardeh,
    I put up a new version of the search option that blogspot has built in. Try this one and let me know if it is better. It should show the search at the top of the screen and then the regular postings below. Sorry that you were having trouble with it and thanks for letting me know.

    I LOVE it with the salad and yogurt. We ate so much yogurt that night I had to make another batch the next day. 🙂

  3. Anonymous

    >I soaked some dough overnight with some water, a little bit of chicken stock, and about half a cup of yogurt. It was an experiment in not wasting food! My question for you is whether or not you ever made soaked dumplings. I Google-searched for "soaked dumplings" and "real food", and your blog was the only result 🙂 I saw that back in November you mentioned making soaked dumplings. Do you have a recipe or even just tips to help me? I've never even made "regular" dumplings! 😀 Thanks!

  4. Millie

    I have been trying to make a soaked dumpling for months now. So far the results have been no where near the regular light and fluffly dumplings that we are used to. I don't mind them but my teenagers do. Here is the most recent way I've been making them with okay results (if you do not mind slightly heavy and slightly chewy dumplings)

    1/2 cup milk
    1 Tablespoon kombucha (or apple cider vinegar)
    1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

    Mix together and cover with a cloth. Leave on counter for 7-24 hours (I start them in the morning to make in the evening).

    2 Tablespoons coconut oil
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon sugar
    2 eggs
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda

    Mix these ingredients in a separate bowl. Then combine the flour/milk mixture with this mixture. The batter should be thick but not like a bread dough. You can add a tablespoon or so of milk if needed.

    Drop on top of your boiling soup, cover and turn down to a simmer. Let cook covered for 20 minutes.

    I used this recipe as a starting point for making dumplings.
    and based my soaked recipe off of it. We have some kind of soup with dumplings a couple times a month. It's kind of like comfort food for us 🙂

  5. Anonymous

    >Thanks! I'll try them tonight. I'll try whipping the egg whites separately just to see if it makes them fluffier.

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