The Frugal Catholic: “LET TUCE Eat Leftovers” by Martha Wild King—April 2014

Frugal ideas are like softball pitches: they arrive in a variety of styles.   My softball pitcher daughter has taught me that areas of play arrive as fastballs, slow balls or change ups, curves, rises, drops, and screw balls.  A good pitcher throws a range of motion.  So too, any released idea can reformulate into frugality.

Thus let’s “throw out” leftover LETTUCE.  Or wait: Do we??

butter lettuce

Case in point:  Saint Cecilia Super Supper  (where Saint Cecilia Catholic Church feeds the hungry) this May with my team of the WILD SALAD LADIES.

Mission: To prepare two salads for our 40+guests.   Mary Lou Upton, Kristin  von Kreisler, and Judy Morel brought their usual additions (tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.) to add to my lettuce and dressing.  Meanwhile, I dragged in dying romaine heads along with fresh ones hoping to use the wilted ones first.  While chopping, I lamented over the wasted leaves, and the ladies pronounced, “Oh you can add those to soups, stews, or stir fries!” (A commendable curve ball.)

romaine lettuce

Switch to: Bainbridge High School softball field, Monday 7 April, when the weather was 70 degrees and we were happily winning.  I lobbed out a slow ball-change-up to the bystanders.    My husband, Michael, had watched Forks over Knives    on spring break and decided to become vegetarian.  Now to prepare my first meatless stir fry.  Erika Williams and Sheila Giasson, both Saint Cecilia, BHS, softball moms, swung at my pitch.  Erika said, “Oh, no!  What am I going to serve for dinner?”  I replied, “Tacos!”  She said, “Great; I have all of the ingredients except the lettuce.  I threw it out this morning.”  Sheila stated, “Use chopped up cabbage instead.” (A respectable rise ball.)  Meanwhile, I was ruminating over Erika’s lost lettuce and said, “Can’t you just dust off the lettuce from the garbage can?” Erika decided to buy fresh, but did add a few GREEN TIPS below.

Now: Home to prep my first meatless stir fry.  On the chopping block  were old sprouting potatoes, several horse sized carrots,  wilted garlic cloves, kale, celery, and diced romaine lettuce in you know what condition, and  the secret meatless stuff  I was trying to sneak in on Michael, tempeh. (A screw ball.)   He and Deahna were bent over algebra problems, not watching: thank goodness.  So after the extra-virgin coconut oil heated, in went the vegetables, root vegetables first.  And for extra measure, I threw in a four-day-old leftover bag of salad.  My son, David, dropped by and said, “Hey, this is a great blend of flavors!”  He got a container full.

Michael and Deahna were served.    Michael’s remark?  “What is this stuff??”  I knew to what ingredient (the screw ball) he was referring, and it wasn’t the wilted lettuce.  And wanting to fork and knife him on the spot, like any strong umpire calling a strike, I responded, “Eat it!  Just eat it!”  He did, and pronounced it good!  Genesis 1:18 “And God saw that it was good.” RSV

just plain lettuce


Need a fearless fastball to get some vegetation into your offspring?  Puree those cooked greens and add to macaroni and cheese or spaghetti noodles.  Call them “Green Mac and Cheese” or “Green Sghetti.”   Also add chopped veggies to meat loaf.  No one will know!

                  Erika Williams Frugal Frittata (a distinguished drop ball) serves 6

Use ANY Leftovers in the refrigerator, enough to fill the bottom of a 10 inch greased skillet or baking pan

Cut up leftovers into small pieces (add anything to balance it out e.g. lunchmeat, veggies, or cooked pasta)

In a bowl whisk 6-8 eggs with 1/4–1/2 Cup milk, and ½ cup cheese –enough fluid to cover leftovers

Combine egg mixture and cut-up leftovers; pour into greased skillet or baking pan

Add salt and pepper and/or herbs to taste

Sprinkle other ½ cup cheese on top- before baking

Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown, about 30-45 minutes  ENJOY—FRUGALLY!!