Refrigerator Spring Cleaning

Easy Recipes to Save Space in Your Fridge and Spice Up Your Stressful Spring Semester

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Refrigerator Spring Cleaning

Lena makes three easy meals with ingredients you already have in your refrigerator.

Lena makes three easy meals with ingredients you already have in your refrigerator.

ZOEY LIU/THE OBSERVER

Lena makes three easy meals with ingredients you already have in your refrigerator.

ZOEY LIU/THE OBSERVER

ZOEY LIU/THE OBSERVER

Lena makes three easy meals with ingredients you already have in your refrigerator.

By LENA WEIDENBRUCH, Assistant Sports & Health Editor

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Has your refrigerator gotten out of control lately? How about your spending habits? Maybe you ran out of time to buy groceries and only have a few basic items on hand? Whether you are spring cleaning your fridge or searching scarce shelves for ingredients, don’t fret, these recipes only require a few ingredients and a few minutes of your time.

Simple Banana Pancakes

Whether you are looking to clear out your fridge as part of your spring cleaning or your fridge is already pretty bare, this recipe is for you. It requires only two ingredients that many people might already have — bananas and eggs.

Ingredients:

  • Two eggs
  • One medium or large banana
  • Coconut oil (recommended if not using a non-stick pan)

Instructions:

  1. Peel and mash banana in a bowl until it’s almost a liquid consistency.
  2. Crack two eggs in the same bowl. Whisk together with banana.
  3. Heat pan over medium heat. Add coconut oil if needed.
  4. Add a small amount of batter to the hot pan.
  5.  Keep the pancakes small — about three to four inches across — or they will be difficult to flip.
  6. Let the pancake cook on the first side for one to two minutes. Check to see if it’s ready by lifting up the edge with a spatula. If the bottom is golden-brown and lifts up easily, the pancake is ready to be flipped.
  7. Flip the pancake and let it cook for another minute.
  8. Remove the pancake from the pan and repeat until all the batter is gone. Since the pancakes are small, you can cook a few at a time depending on the size of your pan.

These pancakes taste great on their own as they are naturally sweet from the banana, but you can also add mix-ins to the batter or toppings. Some great additions to the batter are cinnamon, ground flaxseed, blueberries and vanilla extract. You can top the pancakes with different kinds of nut butter and fresh fruit. Going the classic route and using maple syrup is never a bad idea either.

Broiled Salmon and Vegetables

A great way to save space in the fridge as well as money is to purchase frozen food or freeze it yourself. Instead of getting multiple fresh vegetables every week without any plan for them, pick up a bag of frozen mixed vegetables. Save the space and money for your protein, which in this case is salmon. You can buy a large piece of fish, cut it into pieces and freeze the extra pieces to defrost and cook another time.

Ingredients:

  • One piece of salmon, cut longways
  • Lemon
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Mixed Frozen Vegetables

Instructions:

  1. Turn oven onto high broil and let it preheat.
  2. Cover a baking sheet with foil and place salmon skin-side down in the middle. Drizzle salmon with olive oil and make sure it gets beneath the fish so it doesn’t stick to the foil.
  3. Squeeze lemon onto the salmon followed by a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper.
  4. Put salmon in the oven and set a timer for three minutes.
  5. Defrost the frozen vegetables in the microwave for two to three minutes until they are soft and warm.
  6. When the timer goes off for the salmon, turn it onto its side to cook for three minutes and repeat on the other side.
  7. After the salmon has cooked once skin-down andonce on each side for three minutes, take the baking sheet out of the oven and turn the salmon skin-down again.
  8. Toss the bowl of steamed vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper and pour them onto the baking sheet.
  9. Put the salmon and vegetables into the oven for another three minutes or more depending on desired level of crispiness. Check the salmon every 30 seconds once the timer hits three minutes.
  10. Plate and enjoy!

Banana “Ice Cream”

In the mood for ice cream, but don’t want to go out or in the mood for a healthier alternative? If you have a freezer, some bananas, milk and a blender, you’re in luck.

Ingredients:

  • Frozen bananas
  • Milk of choice

Instructions:

  1. Cut up one to two ripe bananas (the riper the bananas, the sweeter the ice cream will be) and place them in a plastic bag or reusable container. Put the container in the freezer and leave it there overnight.
  2. Take the frozen bananas out of the freezer and put them in the blender.
  3. Add a splash of milk to the blender — unsweetened vanilla almond milk works great.
  4. Blend the bananas and milk until the mixture is creamy. If the mixture won’t blend, keep adding small amounts of milk.
  5. You can eat the ice cream straight out of the blender, or put it into a container and back into the freezer to allow the mixture to harden a bit.

When it comes to toppings and add-ins for this ice cream, the more the merrier. Adding cinnamon, cacao powder, nut butter or other frozen fruit to the blender can create fun, new flavors and also work well sprinkled or drizzled on top.