Holiday meals and family gatherings can be stressful whether you're worried about your waste or not. While I know I can't control everyone's choices (despite still trying to...) I know I can at least reduce my own kitchen waste when hosting.
The pillars of our thanksgiving meal really came from prepping in advance, shopping in bulk and not being afraid of washing some dishes.
Here's P pictured with our main haul for 16 people + 8 dishes.
Our menu was vegetarian/nearly all vegan. Guests brought sweet potatoes, stuffing and turkey pieces though the turkey is never the star of the table.
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Kale Caesar Salad
Wild Rice And Mushroom Casserole
Brie Mac & Cheese
Chai Pumpkin Pie
Caramel Chocolate Cake
I started this endeavor by sussing out where waste would normally come from during a large feast. Most mushrooms come in plastic clamshells, veggie stock in tetra paks, cranberries in plastic bags, the list goes on...
My make ahead dishes were the pumpkin puree, salad dressing, gravy, cranberry sauce and stock as it's used in several recipes.
The Stock. So easy and so simple and yet for so long I would stock up on stock (pun intended) every time I went to a conventional grocery store. I would make my own vegetable stock every once in a while but I don't think it was until one of those last minute "shit! I need stock for this recipe!" moments did I grab a heaping of veggie scraps, herbs and water and toss them into the pressure cooker. Yes, it's really that easy. If you're not cooking at the moment you can freeze the various scraps until you're ready.
For my oh so slightly more involved stock recipe here goes-
1. With a splash of olive oil put in your onions skin side up on sauté mode if you're using an instant pot. Brown for a few minutes.
2. Toss in your veggies (celery, carrot, mushrooms, GARLIC) and cook for a few more minutes making sure to stir everyone around. Add herbs (bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, sage). I'd avoid greens in the brassica family like kale, cabbage, collard greens, bok choy as they can easily make the stock too bitter.
3. Set it and forget it! Kind of. Lock lid, set to 30 minutes and slow release pressure or manually release after 10 minutes of slow release.
4. Sift the stock and store in the fridge for about 3-5 days or freeze. I store stock in massive jars and in silicone bags (or old ziplocks) for the freezer. You can totally freeze stuff in glass- just make sure there's room for expansion. I actually prefer freezer bags because I don't have a ton of room. If you're using bags you can transfer once cooled and lay the bags on their side so it freezes flat and saves a lot of room!