First, I'll say up front that I totally used Scrappy Doo as a Scooby Doo reference to make you click this link. Some of us have fond memories of Scrappy Doo and that pulls on your nostalgic strings. You're obviously delusional and wrong because the true response is one of hate and anger for all things Scrappy Doo.
But this is a safe space and we can all move beyond our Scrappy Doo differences to talk about what we do with scrappy food. Otherwise known as food scraps.
Because I'm relatively poor-ish and hate to waste, here are a few things I do to try not to waste food and stretch out my food budget. These tips will not be for everyone because I am currently an unemployed (but don't want to be) graduate student that likes to cook.
o Veggie Stock: I save up my bits of tomato, onion, garlic, celery, and carrot peels and ends (if I have them also parsnip bit and stems from kale, collards, mustards as well as stems from herbs). I collect them in a gallon size freezer bag and toss in freezer until it is full. Once full, I then dump in a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for about 20-30 minutes then turn off heat and let steep for another 30 minutes. Strain and put in freezer containers. For a twist you can thaw and roast the trimmings for a deeper, more complex stock before following the above steps.
o Meat Stock: take meat bones (if not already bones from a cooked meat, then consider roasting the bones a bit to deepen flavor) and put them in a pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a slow simmer and let cook for about 1 ½ to 2 hours. Skim off the 'scum" periodically. Strain and put stock in fridge overnight. The fat will have rised to the top. Skim off the fat, place in freezer safe containers and place in freezer
o BONUS: The solidified fat you just skimmed off the meat stock can be blotted dry on paper towels and stored in an air tight container in the fridge for future use.
Potato Skins: If you are peeling potatoes then don't throw away those peels! Unless they are green in which case peel all the green off the potato and proceed with your original dish. But, if the potatoes aren't green, then take those peels and toss them in a little oil. Layout in a single layer and place in oven until cooked. You can then eat them right then and there OR put in a freezer container and place in freezer for a future time when you want to reheat them (in the oven, the microwave will make you sad).
Chicken Skin: Some of my dishes don't need to added bonus of extra fat from the chicken skin so I take the skin off. I don't throw the skin away because I make crackling. Grab your favorite oven safe skillet (I use my caste iron skillet), lay skins in a single layer, and place in oven. Roast until the fat is rendered and the skins are crisp. I take out the crackling and drain on paper towels and pour of the rendered fat for use in other dishes. Seriously, I eat crackling like chips, but it can be used to add crunchy goodness to any dish.
o BONUS: Rendering fat is super easy, so any meat you cook or cut the fat from, you can render and save for later uses.
What are your tips and tricks for using up scraps of food?