Everything Must Go! 10 Ways to Put Forgotten Ingredients to Use


Don’t think you’re getting out of this one. Even if it doesn’t feel like it in your neck of the woods, spring is officially here, and that means it’s time for some old-fashioned spring cleaning. Before we even get into deep-cleaning the floors, the shower or — dare we say — that closet of yours, you should be getting your kitchen ready for the season ahead. Tackle your fridge, pantry and freezer head-on by addressing common bought-and-forgotten foods. Instead of straight-up tossing them, put these ingredients to use in fam-favorite recipes (if they haven’t gone past their expiration dates).

For the bottle of chocolate syrup you bought that one night you were craving chocolate milk

Let’s take a wild guess: The big brown bottle has been sitting in your fridge door for months, heavy as ever, with no chance of being used any time soon. Think of Ina Garten’s Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes as a delicious way to fix that. It calls for 16 ounces of chocolate syrup, meaning you’ll likely use the whole bottle up by making her decadently chocolatey, coffee-spiked recipe.

For the giant squeeze bottle of ketchup you bought last 4th of July and never pulled out again.

You thought you needed a big bottle of the good stuff to get you through last summer. Now that it’s been months, don’t you think summer 2015 deserves a shiny new bottle? Use up last season’s goods when you make Ree Drummond’s ultra-easy Sloppy Joes. Adding a cup and a half of ketchup gives the beef the tangy, drippy and messy quality we dig about these classic sandwiches.

For the tuna you hoarded when it was on sale and proceeded to never, ever use for anything

Ellie Krieger’s lightened-up Tuna Casserole uses up a whole four cans of tuna for the hearty, satisfying recipe. Not only that, it also calls for frozen broccoli and peas, so you can use up your freezer’s veggies before they succumb to freezer burn.

For that economy-sized bag of baby carrots you bought and ate three of

You may have had high hopes of healthy snacking when you spotted that bag of cute little carrots at the store, but now they’re sitting in your fridge barely touched. Give these carrots a higher purpose by roasting them for dinner, grating them for carrot cupcakes and more .


For that block of Parmesan you used half of, while the rest sits in plastic wrap till this day

Grate a whole cup of the hard Italian cheese for Ina’s Easy Parmesan “Risotto”. Ina’s risotto is the easiest recipe of its kind, since it comes together in the oven (so you can spend less time stirring and more time doing spring cleaning).

For that giant mesh bag of garlic you picked up and used only four bulbs of

The big haul of garlic may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but now you’re stuck with more bulbs of garlic than you know what to do with. Before it’s too late, rest assured that you can use up a whole head of garlic for Melissa d’Arabian’s flavor-packed Roasted Garlic Clove Chicken. After 20-odd cloves of garlic cook together with chicken thighs in the oven with herbes de Provence, chicken stock and a little lemon, your family will have a special chicken dinner (and no one will know there was an ulterior motive).

For that neglected jar of roasted red peppers sitting in the back of your fridge

Odds are, you picked up a jar of these oil-packed, ruby-red beauties for a pasta, pizza or soup dish and, sadly, never needed them again. To get one last use out of them, stack up a gooey Smoked Gouda and Roasted Red Pepper Grilled Cheese (as if you needed an excuse to make a grilled cheese).

For that jar of jam that was meant for peanut butter and never made it onto a sandwich

Whether you keep it chilling in the fridge or sitting pretty in the pantry, a good jar of jam should never go to waste. Ina Garten slathers 10 to 12 ounces of it over buttery dough with crunchy granola, sliced almonds and a crumble topping for fruity Raspberry Crumble Bars that are ready to be devoured in one hour.


For that tub of miso paste you bought for one recipe (and, cough cough, never used again)

You might have bought the umami-packed vat of miso with dreams of miso soup, complex marinades and more in mind, but you can also use the paste for lower-key purposes. Follow Food Network Magazine’s lead and blend it into an Asian-style Carrot-Miso Dip. While most recipes require only a tablespoon or two of miso, this one calls for a quarter cup, so you are well on your way toward getting your money’s worth.

For that container of hummus you bought when you were on a health kick and never used for healthy snacking

Hummus is obviously good for dipping and spreading, but there are other ways you can bring it to a recipe. For example, Food Network Magazine’s Falafel-Crusted Chicken with Hummus Slaw integrates the chickpea spread into crunchy coleslaw for a creamier texture, and also converts it into a sauce by mixing it with lemon juice, water and harissa.