3 Creative Recipes That Reduce Food Waste

More than 40% of the food in America ends up in a landfill. When you break it down, the average American wastes 400 pounds of food every year – a shocking statistic when you consider that 1 in 9 Americans go hungry. These numbers may be bleak, but the situation is not hopeless.

Food waste can be solved. And you may be surprised to find that the solution starts with you. Most of the food waste in this country is consumer food waste. Changing how you shop, prepare and store food can make a big difference.

Getting innovative is important, too – a task that we placed on Chef Jon Ashton for our Great Taste. Zero Waste. event. Only a limited number of folks can attend, but we wanted to share the recipes with you. We hope this delicious meal delivers you great taste and helps you reduce waste!


One Pot Chicken

One Pot Chicken Thighs With Apples and Potatoes

Did you know that three of the top five most wasted foods in America are apples, potatoes and cheese? This recipe helps you use these ingredients up before they go bad.

Cook’s Notes: Marinating your chicken the night before will really infuse the flavor. When you remove the chicken from the marinade, feel free to let the excess oil drain off for a few minutes. You can also remove the skin from the chicken after it’s cooked. Dry rosemary works great in place of fresh; just cut down by 1 tablespoon.


Chicken Marinade

  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed

Potatoes and Apple

  • 1 pound russet potatoes, scrubbed, thinly sliced crosswise (prepped and sitting in water)
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored and sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients. Submerge 1 piece of chicken at a time and gently massage the marinade into both the skin and the flesh. Plastic wrap the bowl and let marinade set for at least 1 hour (or overnight) in the refrigerator.
  2. Place a rack in upper third of oven and set a 12-inch cast-iron skillet, 3-quart enameled cast-iron baking dish or oven-safe glass dish on rack. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  3. Toss potatoes, apples, butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a large bowl to coat; season with salt and pepper.
  4. Arrange potato mixture in bottom of skillet. Top with chicken thighs (skin side down). Place in oven and roast for 20 minutes and then turn chicken thighs skin-side up. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of breasts registers 185-190 F. If you like chicken skin crispy, turn on broiler and broil until skin is crispy and golden brown.
  5. Remove chicken from potatoes and tent with foil to keep warm. Drain any excess oil off of potatoes. Top potatoes with grated cheese and place under broiler to melt.
  6. Serve chicken with potatoes.


Roasted Vegetables

Roasted Vegetables With Yogurt Lime Sauce

It is believed that half of all produce in the United States is wasted (along the path from field to fork). This recipe uses an assortment of fresh vegetables. Don’t have these specific vegetables in your kitchen? Get creative with whatever you have.

Cook’s Notes: Be sure to space out the vegetables on the tray; feel free to use two trays if needed. Vegetables roast better with a little space to allow the hot air to flow. Turning them will help them brown evenly. Grocery stores sell fresh roasted green chiles, but you can purchase frozen diced green chile peppers and thaw them in the refrigerator.


Lime-Yogurt Sauce

  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground curry powder
  • Finely grated zest of ½ of a lime, plus 1 ½ teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Roasted Vegetables

  • 1 large zucchini, ends trimmed and cut into ¾-inch-thick slices
  • 1 yellow squash, ends trimmed and cut into ¾-inch-thick slices
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1½-inch-wide slices
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch-thick rounds
  • Roasted and peeled green chiles, sliced (as much as you like, depending on heat)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Optional Toppings

  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup pistachio nuts, toasted and roughly chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  2. Place all the ingredients for the lime yogurt in a small bowl, with ½ teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Mix well and keep in the fridge until ready to serve.
  3. Place vegetables, oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss vegetables to evenly coat and spread them out on a sheet pan. Cover vegetables and roast for 15 minutes. Remove foil and turn each piece over. Return the pan to the oven for 5 to 10 minutes, until all the vegetables are crisp, yet tender.
  4. Remove vegetables from oven and drizzle yogurt over the top. Garnish with cilantro and chopped pistachios, if desired.


Peach Tart

Individual Peach Tarts

Use fresh bread before it goes bad, all the while surprising dinner guests with this easy yet delicious dessert.

Cook’s Notes: You can use whole-wheat bread instead of white bread and swap canned diced peaches in juice for fresh peaches to save time.


  • 3 ripe peaches
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon grated orange zest
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 10 slices white bread


  1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Immerse the peaches for 15 seconds to 1 minute or until the skins peel off easily with a small knife. Transfer the peaches to a bowl of cool water to stop the cooking process and peel. Dice the peaches into ½-inch pieces and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, orange zest, orange juice, and butter over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Add the diced peaches and return to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is thickened and translucent.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  4. Cut bread into rounds or just cut crusts off: try using a 28-ounce tomato can (emptied and washed) – the perfect size to cut rounds to fit into muffin tins. Use a rolling pin to flatten the bread.
  5. Lightly spray 6 muffin tin holes with oil spray or brush with butter, then press the bread into the muffin tin.
  6. Add ¼ cup prepared peach mixture to each muffin tin lined with bread. Bake for 15-20 minutes until bread is crisp. Serve with vanilla yogurt or an ice-cold glass of milk.

Loved these? Find more delicious recipes.

By Katie McKee, MCN, RDN, LD

Katie has always loved teaching others about the power of nutrition. She has a background in journalism as a reporter, writer and editor and has been part of the Dairy MAX team since 2015. When she's not working, Katie enjoys cooking and spending time with her young son and family. Learn more about Katie

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