College Kitchen: Bad Foods Club

Clean out the cupboards and cook with the contents.

Pancakes are stacked up and ready to eat. These were made using expired sour milk.

MN Daily News

Pancakes are stacked up and ready to eat. These were made using expired sour milk.

by Lucy Nieboer


It’s 12:30 a.m. The study munchies have arrived. The creak of the refrigerator door is the only sound in the house. Its fluorescent light illuminates the kitchen. In a stupor of sleepiness, a grab is made for a carton of milk and a swig is taken — expiration date ignored.

As the first drops hit your tongue, you realize what a grave mistake you’ve made. Panicking, you spin wildly and spew the soured beverage into the sink.

We’ve all been there. Between pop quizzes and keeping up with Moodle assignments, it’s hard to remember how old the food in your fridge has gotten in the days you’ve spent camped out in the library.

Luckily, there is a way to use some of your seemingly spoiled groceries to create some economical and delicious dishes.

Use these recipes to make the most of your waste and avoid future late night run-ins with stale snacks.


Sour Milk Cakes

Your vinegar and baking soda volcano may not have won the third-grade science fair, but there’s no use crying over spoiled milk. Your elementary- school knowledge of what happens when you mix acids and leavening agents has not gone to waste. It’s exactly what you need to understand why milk that has veered into the sour zone is great in baked goods. In the case of these cakes, the acidity of the milk reacts with the baking powder, producing extra fluffy flapjacks.


1 & 1/2 cups flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons sugar

3 eggs

1 & 1/2 cup sour milk

3 tablespoons vegetable oil


Whip oil, eggs, milk and sugar into frothy mixture. Add flour and baking powder and salt. Using a ladle, pour a small amount (about a 1/4 cup) of batter onto a well-greased griddle. When you see lots of tiny bubbles in the cakes and the edges start to harden, flip the flapjack onto the other side. When your pancake starts to look more like a snack than a puddle, flip again. Serve in stacks with warm maple syrup and butter.


Bad Banana Muffins

Eating a whole bunch of bananas in the short time before they go bad is like taking a semester of freshman writing. At first it seems great and you really enjoy it. Toward the middle you’re forcing yourself to engage, and by the end of it, you never want to see another peer edit (or brown banana) again. Because they’ve had more time to break down, your ’nanners that have passed the point of no return are packed with extra sugars, making these muffins super sweet.


2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 cup milk

2 or 3 extremely ripe bananas

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 eggs

4 tablespoons coconut oil or melted butter

1/2 cup walnuts (optional)


Mash the bananas with a fork until they are a uniform and smooth mush. Add the milk, vanilla, eggs, oil and sugar. Add flour and baking powder to form a lumpy batter. Fold in the nuts. Spoon the batter into a greased muffin tin. Place one walnut on top of every filled cup. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Make sure the muffins are done all the way through by poking one with a toothpick. It should come out clean. Go bananas for these muffins for brunch or a sweet afternoon snack.


Citrus Twist Bread Pudding

There is only so much toast you can eat before you have to throw in the towel and admit that your one dollar Roundy’s loaf is simply past its prime. Don’t cling to your boring habit. Dry bread has a really unpleasant texture. Revitalize it with some liquids and turn it into a robust dessert.


6-7 pieces stale bread

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon cardamom

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 cup milk

1/4 cup orange juice

Zest of one orange

1 handful raisins (optional)

1 handful sliced almonds (optional)


Cut the stale pieces of bread into about one-inch cubes. Soak them in the milk. Use the butter to grease all sides of a loaf pan. In a small mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, juice and additional seasonings. Pour the mixture over the soaked bread. If you feel like adding some texture to the dish, fold in some raisins and almonds. Transfer the entire contents of the bowl into the loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until the edges start to brown and pull away from the side of the pan. Serve warm and à la mode.


Cleaning out the kitchen doesn’t have to be an arduous duty that all the roommates participate in once a month. Skip sparking debates over what exactly that green stuff in the Tupperware is, and instead keep an eye on what is getting a little old and use your waste for creative concoctions.