4. Rescue Leftovers
Got rice that came with your Chinese take-out? Nuke it with a little water and butter to bring it back to life. Leftover veggies? Add a couple tablespoons of water before reheating them. Stale bread or crackers? Scatter them on a baking sheet, sprinkle with a little water and reheat in the oven at 350º until warm and crispy.
5. Shop Like a Chef
Stock up on pantry staples like spices, olives, canned beans, and tomatoes, says Matthew Accarrino, the executive chef at San Francisco’s acclaimed SPQR. “They have a long shelf life and will broaden your ability to be creative, spur of the moment.” Always have on hand: whole oats (use in place of bread crumbs in meatloaf and meatballs for extra fiber and vitamins); whole- grain tortilla shells (to make quesadillas, bake them for crispy taco shells, or cut them in pieces for “homemade” pita chips); and light sour cream