The Minimal Ingredient Challenge

For those New Yorkers who actually use their apartment kitchens (the anti-Seamless advocates) there’s one day every few weeks that we all dread — refrigerator cleaning day. Old boxes of takeout you never got around to eating, four cartons of milk you thought you could drink before they spoiled and a bundle of browning bananas; these are all reminders of how much food we actually waste. In fact, according to a 2012 National Resources Defense Council report, Americans throw away nearly $165 billion every year as 40 percent of food in the United States goes uneaten.

Let’s face it, we’re all guilty of wasting food from time to time, but how can we just stop our consumer habits cold turkey? Well, there’s a simple solution: Need less, buy less and waste less. Cutting back on elaborate meals and learning to cook with fewer ingredients can shorten our grocery lists, shopping time and help condition us to shop more wisely. 

We don’t have to resort to a post-apocalyptic diet of water, Twinkies and canned meats by any means, but we can start small by learning to cook with just four ingredients or less. Sharpen your knives, throw on an apron and test out these four, three and two-ingredient recipes. They may be simple, but Julia Child would approve.

FOUR-INGREDIENT RECIPES

1. Polenta and Zucchini Lasagna

Photo courtesy of jsonline.com

Photo courtesy of jsonline.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of polenta
  • 2-3 zucchinis, grated
  • 575 g jar of creamy Tomato and Mozzarella pasta sauce
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella

For the full recipe: Click Here

2. Baby Spinach and Strawberry Salad

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Ingredients:

  • 450 g baby spinach leaves
  • 2 punnets strawberries washed/sliced
  • 3/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • Balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and sugar for dressing

Get the recipe: Here

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

3. Gluten-Free Eggs Benedict

Ingredients:

  • 2 gluten free English muffins
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 slices of ham
  • Hollandaise sauce

Full recipe: Here

THREE-INGREDIENT RECIPES

Photo courtesy of Women's Day

Photo courtesy of Women’s Day

1. Florentine Shrimp and Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 2 box(es) (9 oz each) frozen boil-in-bag creamed spinach
  • 12 ounce(s) (3 1⁄2 cups) penne pasta
  • 1 pound(s) peeled, cleaned large shrimp

For the full recipe: Click Here

2. Ginger Soy Grilled Chicken

Photo courtesy of thechiclife.com

Photo courtesy of thechiclife.com

Ingredients:
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • sesame seeds, optional, for garnish

For the full ginger soy grilled chicken recipe: Click Here

To try more two-ingredient, one chicken recipes: Click here

3. Red Curry Glazed Salmon 

Photo courtesy of Google

Photo courtesy of Google

Ingredients:

  • 4 5-ounce pieces salmon fillet
  • 1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar

Get the full curry glazed salmon recipe: Here

Try it with a bok choy pineapple slaw: Recipe

TWO-INGREDIENT RECIPES

Photo courtesy of Blogspot

Photo courtesy of Blogspot

Get the recipe: Here

Image courtesy of Blogspot

Image courtesy of Blogspot

Get the recipe: Here

There’s even a little something special in this two-ingredient challenge for our pups.

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Photo courtesy of Blogspot

Get the dog treat recipe: Here

Photo courtesy of Blogspot

Photo courtesy of Blogspot

For the maple soufflé recipe: Click Here

For the full list of 34, two-ingredient recipes: Click Here

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