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Tips and recipes for a smart kitchen

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Learn from Leket Israel’s Director of Nutrition and Food Safety, Smadar Hod Ovadia, how smarter use of everyday surplus food products can save you time and money.

How Smarter Use of Food Products Can Save Time and Money:


How often have you discarded products and dishes into the trash? How can one prepare new dishes from leftovers? Smadar Ovadiah, Leket’s Director of the Nutrition and Food Safety Department introduces some smart ways to make good use of surplus foods.

Food waste occurs not only among large manufacturers, dining halls or farmers, but also in our private kitchens. Here are some tips and recipes for smarter use of products, or in other words: how things can be different.

1.      Food Storage

How many times have you looked in your pantry and found a product that is past its expiration date? This can be avoided easily with smart placement of products on your pantry or refrigerator shelves. All you need to do is arrange them with closer dates in front and further expiration dates deeper in the shelf. It sounds simple… and it works. This arrangement facilitates the use of products before their expiration date and thus eliminates waste of the products and saves money.

2.      Shopping

Arrive in the market with a prepared list to prevent temptation or the buying of products that are redundant or still in stock at home.Beware the ‘specials’ and ‘sales’ retail chains, which often advertise products that are fairly close to expiration dates in order to maintain their inventory.Check the product’s expiration date before purchase and consider whether or notyou will use it in time.

It’s also recommended to conduct a monthly appraisal of your pantry and accordingly build your shopping list and weekly menu.

3.      Leftovers

Try and make use of your leftovers! Here are some good ideas to make your food taste as tasty as it did the day before:

Baked Pancakes

Leftover mashed potatoes don’t taste the same the next day? Why throw them away? You can prepare pancakes baked in the oven.

To the mashed potatoes you can add grated carrots, onion, egg and spices, form flat discs and bake in a moderate oven until browned.

Vegetable stock

What to do with the vegetable peels left aside during cooking?

Use the peels of carrots, potatoes,squash and sweet potatoes. Edges of carrots, Outer leaves of cabbage and cauliflower (yes, you can use the leaves that surround the cauliflower) everything removed from the celery which wasn’t placed in the pot … You can make vegetable stock!

Put the remaining vegetables in a pot with 2 liters of water, add salt and pepper, add onion and even a few leaves of parsley and / or cilantro and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and continue cooking over low heat for about an hour. Remove from heat. Cools lightly and strain the stock. Toss the vegetables, and refrigerate the stock for a few hours. Remove from the refrigerator divide the liquid into four or five portions and freeze.

Excellent for use as a base for soups (instead of soup powder!) and can also be added to pasta sauce or rice …

Breadcrumbs and homemade croutons

Why throw away the excess bread or challah? You can recycle them by drying and grinding to make toasted breadcrumbs or croutons. To make breadcrumbs, slice bread and toast it in the oven, until both sides are browned. After cooling off, grind the slices in a food process or at medium speed. Add a little salt to absorb moisture. You can add spices to taste.

Making croutons for soup or salad: cut the excess bread into cubes, and place in a large bowl. Mix with salt and garlic. You can add chopped herbs to taste. Drizzle with olive oil. Mix thoroughly until cubes are nicely coated. Place the cubes on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until well dried.

Tomato soup with rice

Even day old white rice loses much of its flavor … you can add it to soup or salad.

Tomato soup with rice is a great option for utilizing over-ripe tomatoes and leftover white rice.


2 carrots, peeled and diced

1 large onion, diced

2 stalks celery, peeled and diced

2 cloves of garlic

2 tablespoons tomato paste

5 ripe tomatoes, diced

Half cup of cooked rice, leftover white rice can be used

Tablespoon sugar

Black pepper, sweet paprika andsalt

2 tablespoons plain oil



Fry onion (crudely diced) in 2tablespoons oil. Add diced 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks, and 2 cloves garlic.

After a minute and a half, add 2tablespoons tomato paste, stir and add about 5 diced ripe tomatoes. Cover and let it simmer for about 5 minutes then add half a liter of water.

Continue to cook over low heat for about another 30 minutes. Add half cup of cooked white rice.

Add the black pepper, salt, paprika and a spoon of sugar. Taste and adjust the seasoning to a sweet and sour flavor.

Continue to cook for about 15minutes and towards the end add chopped fresh cilantro.


And for dessert . . . what can you do with the over-ripe fruit that no one wants to eat?

Flavored oatmeal

Put overripe fruit like peaches,apples or pears into water and bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes for apples,and less soft fruits. Then cook the oatmeal as usual. Add brown sugar at last minute of cooking.

Banana Cake

Beat 2 eggs in a bowl; add a cup of sugar and 3/4 cup canola oil. Add 3-4 mashed ripe bananas, a cup and quarter cup of white flour (to increase the nutritional value you may convert to wholewheat flour), 1 teaspoon of baking powder and a quarter teaspoon of baking soda.Mix all ingredients in folding motion.

Transfer to pan, place in a medium heat oven and bake for about 30 minutes.

Watermelon Peel Jelly

Place 3 cups watermelon (white part of the peel) cut into cubes, in a bowl. Pour 2 cups sugar over it and leave fora few hours to rest.

Transfer the contents of the bowl into the pot, add 4 thinly sliced ​​lemons and cook for about an hour and a half. You can add mint before the end (optional) and remove from heat.


When using surplus cooked food you must follow a number of food safety rules:

·        Keep the rules of personal and environmental hygiene – remember to wash your hands with soap after going to the toilet and before and after preparing food.

·        Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly with water and soap.

·        Keep the food at a suitable temperature (below 5 degrees or above 65 degrees, prevents bacterial growth) – for this purpose you must not keep cooked food cooling over two hours!

·        Assuming that food was cooked properly, and then stored in the refrigerator it is best to eat it within two days. Try not to heat cooked food more than once. It is preferred to heat up the required portions only.

·        Storing cooked food should be done with clean hands and into clean containers. Keep cooked food away from dirty surfaces.


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