Depending on your upbringing, you most likely lean towards one of two views of leftover food. One school of thought is that leftovers belong in the trash and should never be fed to a family member, not even the dog. The other school of thought is that leftovers make great lunches and snacks, down to the last crumb or yummy bite of lasagna.
When you are looking to save money and feed a family, throwing leftovers in the garbage may become a luxury. Here are few tips about reusing your leftovers.
Food safety first
Before saving food after a meal, always know how long that food will stay good in the fridge, the expiration dates of certain items, and food that should never be saved after meal. What are some good examples of foods not to save? I avoid saving any type of seafood or mushrooms as a leftover. Food that has milk, cheese, mayonnaise, or raw eggs also should have a second look before saving them for another day. While my husband may disagree with me, I generally throw out any leftovers that are more than a few days old unless I freeze them.
Use air tight food container, aluminum foil, or baggies when saving leftovers
While it may be tempting to just throw a few leftover chicken breasts on a plate and leave it in the fridge, if you want to keep the food safer and fresher, opt for wrapping the food in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, or sealing it in an airtight food container or baggy.
Rediscover the value of sandwiches
An easy way to reuse leftovers is to create delicious sandwiches with the leftover food. Whether you opt for a turkey and stuffing sandwich, a meatloaf sandwich, or a spaghetti sandwich (yummy!), leftovers are often more portable and more fun between two slices of bread. For added nutrition, use whole wheat bread or homemade bread, and top with some suitable veggies. This is also a great way to get your family excited about taking leftovers to school or work. What ten year old won’t enjoy scarfing down a spaghetti and meatball sandwich in front of his or her astonished classmates?
Leftovers for breakfast!
Another way to get your family excited about eating leftovers is by making the rule that any leftover can be eaten for breakfast the next day. I still remember enjoying my mom’s cold lasagna or a cold slice of pizza the next morning for breakfast before I headed to school.
Try international cuisine
Our grandparents and great grandparents who had to live through leaner times learned a variety of uses for leftover food. Meat and vegetables can be used in stews or tossed with some pasta. Vegetables can be used for soups or stuffing. There are even meals, like Cuban croquettes, that use leftover ham or pork as their primary ingredient. Want some good food ideas for your leftovers? Surf the web for recipes that are from developing countries like India, China, or places like Latin America where food is scarce. There are some amazing ideas for leftovers that not only add a little bit of world flavor to your dinner, but also cost less money.