So since I'm not cooking much beyond throwing something on the grill these days, I thought I'd offer up a few little "tips" I have up my sleeve.
The first tip I have is about produce, and "protecting your investment," so to speak. I don't know about everyone else, but I spend a *LOT* of money on produce--a good 30-40% of my grocery budget, if I had to venture a guess. However, I am forever throwing things out because I forget I have them! I have tried keeping a list of what I have on the fridge and crossing things off as I use them, etc....it works, for about 2 weeks and then I get lazy and tell myself that I *WILL* remember I bought xyz because I'm gonna make this one recipe with it....and wouldn't a know it, 2 weeks later I find $10 worth of xyz sitting in the bottom of my produce drawer, soggy and gross. :(
My solution to this started off easy enough. Do not refrigerate anything that doesn't *HAVE* to be refrigerated or if I do not intend to eat it cold. If it's not refrigerated in the store, I don't refrigerate it at home. I take it out of the bags from the store and arrange my produce in pretty bowls or just along my countertop. I find that the produce I leave on my kitchen counter gets USED. Imagine that! ;)
A couple months ago, I was cleaning out my refrigerator. I pulled the drawers out, scrubbed them down and scrubbed underneath it. As I oooooh'd and aaaahhhhhhh'd at my newly sparkling clean refrigerator, and all the space down there, I thought that it was a shame that I had to reassemble everything and hide it. So I didn't assemble it right away. I put it off till the next day, and just neatly stacked the groceries that needed to be put back there in the bottom of my fridge. Well, one day led to three, which led to a week. After a week of using the bottom half of my refrigerator "open"....I decided I didn't want to put the drawer assembly back. So I put them away in my garage (seeing as how this is a rental house, I couldn't very well just toss it...).
After a couple weeks, I decided to buy some plastic baskets that can easily be washed and a wire shelf to put down there to replace the drawers, and I'm using the baskets in my fridge the same way as I do the ones on my counter top--take the produce out of the plastic sacks from the grocery store and arrange them, "bare," in the fridge.
Guess what? Not only does my crappy little rental house fridge look AWESOME, but I am not throwing away *NEARLY* as much produce because I actually *SEE* it every time I open the fridge.
I'm calling this little experiment "Produce Insurance." It's awesome! :)