Sunday, February 8, 2009

Got Leftovers? Make Garbage Pizza!

As part of Crunchy Chicken’s Food Waste Reduction Challenge, she asked us to either eat or catalog what leftovers we end up throwing away. Well, I hate to sound Greenzilla on this, but throwing out leftovers or spoiled food is something that rarely happens in The Condo.
Food Waste Reduction Challenge - February 2009And it’s all Husband’s fault!


Husband’s biggest beef is wasting food and throwing out leftovers. Fortunately, Husband is the King of Cooking with Leftovers. I’m constantly amazed at how he takes a little bit of leftover this and that and makes a wonderful dinner that I never would have known that it contained or started with leftovers. Maybe this is why Husband is the main cook at our house.

I get into the using up leftovers act too. In fact, I’m the one who came up with The Garbage Pizza. No, we don’t actually top a pizza with trash but make a pizza and use it as an opportunity to use up any leftover bits in the refrigerator. That’s why I named it Garbage Pizza – because usually we end up with a pizza with a mound of toppings on it unlike than the usual one or two toppings we traditionally eat if we order a pizza in a restaurant.

Garbage Pizza is also a great quick meal when we don’t have a lot of time to cook dinner due to our flurry of activities or if it’s one of those days where we don’t have the energy to cook a regular meal (for us, this is usually falls on a Lazy Sunday.) 


I have a bread maker, so I usually keep a homemade batch of pizza dough in the freezer and defrost it when the need arises. I might also add that if you have some yeast that’s close to or just past the expiration date where the cultures are alive as they used to be (yeah, did you know that yeast is alive? Kinda creepy, no?) that using it for pizza dough is a great way to use it up and not toss it in the trash. That’s how the whole Garbage Pizza thing started anyway. I had half a jar of deadish yeast that I didn’t want to toss but made for very flat bread.

If we don’t have leftover spaghetti sauce, I make a simple red sauce using a can of tomato sauce, and add garlic, basic, oregano, and salt to taste. Then comes the fun part – topping the pizza.

Usually we root around in the cupboards, refrigerator, or freezer to find pizza toppings. We usually come up with something that you’d find at a California Pizza Kitchen. Here’s a list of a few things that we’ve yanked out of the cupboards or frig and plopped on a pizza:

  • Black olives

  • Bean sprouts

  • Cheddar cheese

  • Mozzarella cheese

  • Monterrey Jack cheese

  • Corn (I call this version Hong Kong Pizza because I first had corn on pizza while I was in Hong Kong)

  • Turkey sausage

  • Basil leaves from the garden

  • Leftover garlic shrimp

  • Pesto made from frozen spinach & basil instead of a tomato sauce

  • Chicken breast

  • Mushrooms

Another thing that’s great about Garbage Pizza is that it’s an easy way to get fussy eaters to eat foods that they’ve decided that they hate because they want to drive you insane. I have 8 nieces and nephews and some of them try to pull the “I know I ate that the last time I was at your house but today I’m going to whine and swear that if I eat that green vegetable that I will die a horrible death” tantrum. By getting them involved in deciding what goes on the pizza and helping me put the toppings on it, those picky eaters are less likely to pull a hissy fit and eat the food that I put in front of them.

If you don’t have a bread maker, the time, or even the desire to make your own pizza dough, you can easily purchase any number of premade pizza doughs to keep on hand when you need it.
How do you repurpose leftovers?

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