I like to make use of my odds and ends of food so I can save money and avoid food waste. I’ve come up with ways to bring new life to tortilla chip crumbs and and leftover scrambled eggs and even found ways to turn leftover Thanksgiving stuffing into breakfast.

As I was reading over the food news this morning on Google, I came across two articles from over the weekend that were about wasting food and money with tips on how not to be wasteful. One was on Huffington Post. As I read it, I patted myself on the back a little as I checked off in my mind the tips I already embraced — every single one them.

The other article was on Fox News, but this time I didn’t get a perfect score. I hit four out of five of their tips. One tip — make homemade stock — I don’t do. Here’s their tip.

Keep the bones from chicken and save the tops from onions, celery leaves, and carrot scraps that don’t end up in whatever you’re preparing. Store them all in the freezer and make a big batch of stock whenever you save up enough.
I know making my own stock seems like something I’d do, but, I don’t. In fact, in the Fox News piece, the photo they use is of Pacific Foods Organic Broth, and that’s the brand I most frequently use. Why don’t I make my own stock? Here’s why.
  • My freezer is small. I don’t have the room to store the bones and vegetable tops.
  • If I did make it, I’d have to store it in pre-measured, small amounts in the freezer so I’d have it not just for soups but to add to recipes. Again, my freezer is small, and there’s not a lot of room for a bunch of containers of frozen stock.
  • I’ve tried making stock before, and I have failed every time. It either turns out gelatinous, flavorless, too salty or something else unappealing.
  • One time, when I was determined to make stock from the Thanksgiving turkey carcass, I forgot to put a pot under the colander as I was straining out the bones and vegetables. The stock went all over the counter and floor. I’m not kidding. I was so stunned that I kept on pouring.
  • Stock is not very expensive, and I watch for sales and stock up on it.
  • When I use the boxed stock or broth, my chicken noodle soup tastes the same way every time. The one time I tried making it with my own stock, no would eat the soup. That was a lot of wasted soup. 
When I’m trying to make home-cooked meals five or six nights a week, I whole-heartedly believe it’s OK to take some shortcuts without feeling any guilt. Boxed organic broth or stock is one of my shortcuts. For those who have the method of making homemade stock down to a science and have the room to store it, I’m impressed. It’s just not for me.

What are some shortcuts you give yourself permission to use in the kitchen?

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Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Why I don't make my own stock
I embrace the short cut of using boxed stock and broth, and my chicken noodle soup is the better for it.