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Frugal Living & Freebies

Leftovers ~ a Message Board Archive
Do you save leftovers? Do you wrap up your leftover food only to let it turn green and fuzzy in the fridge, pretending not to waste food? Do you dump them in the trash when you clean the dinner dishes? Or do you save and do something creative with your leftovers for future meals? StorkNet's Message Board Members weigh in . . .

From Mari ~ With two growing teenage boys, I rarely have leftovers. When I do, I confess that I often let it grow disgusting stuff in the fridge if I don't eat it for lunch the next day. Creativity in the kitchen is not my strong suit and I know it's a terrible waste of money.

From Isis ~ Leftovers that don't get eaten within a day in my house get tossed. I agree with you about the fuzzy stuff. I hate that, and so I've learned to toss after 24 hours or I'll forget and wonder what it is later. Usually leftovers are eaten right away though. It's surprising how many of my leftovers can go into a salad for lunch. Even cooked veggies are fine on a salad and I've discovered some interesting tastes that way. Taco ingredients from last night can be turned into an interesting burrito. Boiled potatoes are fine added to soup the next day, and a bit of onion, a slice of ham and a half of an avocado makes a perfect omlette.

From Juju ~ If I have more than 1 or 2 servings left of anything, it goes immediately into the freezer. That way we always have a quick meal ready for when we're in a rush. If there is only a serving or two left, it gets eaten for lunch the next day, or else I try to use it in whatever I make for dinner the next night.

From Nancy ~ With young adults in my house, we don't usually have leftovers very long! Even if we go out to eat, everyone is instructed to bring home a doggy bag if there is something left on our plates because it will get grabbed up and finished by a starving college student. Also, I often try to double recipes or make extra so that we do have leftovers. My kids love warming something up the next day and they'll drop by just to raid the refrigerator a half hour before evening classes or work.

From ajpr2 ~ I save everything even if it is veggies or just a spoonful The smaller portions are perfect to feed my toddler during the day. I also use leftovers for my husband's lunch. Sometimes I will even make items that I know will have leftovers to use for other meals. For example, I will make italian meatballs. One night we can have pasta, another meatball sandwiches and even meatballs by themselves. I will make an extra grilled chicken or leftover steak pieces to toss on salads for lunch as well. I am also well known for a fridge with penicillin. Sometimes leftovers get forgotten and pushed to the back. I usually clean out the fridge once a week to find those little critters.

From Anya ~ Leftovers at our house are assessed for their ability to provide us with another full meal. Often my husband works afternoon shifts and is not home to join us for dinner. Often, we have just enough food leftover to feed my five year old and myself. If so, it immediately gets frozen for a quick meal when I'm alone with the kids. I rarely have the time to cook a meal from scratch with a newborn at home. If there's enough for the whole family - great! Again, we freeze it. We rarely go back on something the next day and it will undoubtedly spoil if left in the fridge. One helpful hint for us is to make enough for two meals at one time. We commonly do this with spaghetti sauce, chili and taco meat. It's so nice to pull out a frozen baggie of prepared taco meat for a quickie platter of nachos on movie night!

From RLB ~ I have been known to purposely create leftovers . . . grill 3 pounds of chicken all at once to use multiple times, or the like. Usually I portion out the meals at dinner (DH and I are watching what we eat) and immediately take the leftovers and put them in the refrigerator. If someone wants more, they can warm it up, but this keeps my husband from feeling like he has to finish it. I purposely make meals so that I know there are 1 or 2 servings extra in case someone drops by I can stretch it, or I know that there will be something for my husband to take to lunch the next day. I try not to have fuzzy leftovers but it happens.

From Tami C ~ Before my husband came along, I was notorious for playing "what did this use to be?" with the fuzzy stuff in the back of the fridge. Now I pack up leftovers into something my husband can nuke at work or Patti and I can eat for lunch the next day. If it doesn't get eaten up in 2 or 3 days it gets pushed back and forgotten. The only thing I remember to freeze is the shredded cheese from tacos. We buy the pre-shredded and it gets really icky fast in the fridge, so the minute supper is over, it's double-bagged and in the freezer.

From CNYMom ~ I usually make only enough for one meal. If I do have leftovers and the meal was good, I'll save it. Sometimes I end up tossing it out in the end anyways!

From 1Dawn ~ My husband is not good at all in the kitchen so anything already made is a hit with him. If it looks strange or hard to reheat he won't touch it though. Best investment was a set of microwave plates, sectioned in compartments. They have covers you can see through. Sometimes there is just enough left for one, so I put it in the microwave plate, with the cover on and my husband can warm it himself (usually for breakfast eww but it works). The plates can also be frozen if you are not going to be around much for a few days. Premade frozen tv dinner!

From acorn ~ We eat leftovers most of the week. Each week we cook one or two main courses with about six servings each. We get one "fresh" meal and two leftover dinners out of it. I've collected a core group of recipes that reheat well (e.g. lasagna). Reheat leftover, add fresh vegetables, and dinner is on the table in 10 minutes.

From amykw33 ~ I make a lot of foods that heat up well as leftovers (soups, pastas, etc.) or chicken and roasts that I can resurrect the next day in burritos or soup. I look forward to Thanksgiving turkeys because I have found a lot of great recipes for the remaining turkey that my husband and I look forward to making all year! He gets excited when I make turkey because he knows that my turkey enchiladas and turkey soup are not far behind!


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