What do you do when a meal is finished? Most of us wash the dishes and wrap up the leftovers to save away, but what happens to the leftover portions not eaten? Do they get consumed later or do they sit in the refrigerator until they start to smell, grow funny things, and you finally throw them out? If you tend to do the latter, how about saving some time, money, and energy by learning how to use those leftovers in new ways to surprise your family at dinner time.
Some people like leftovers and some do not. Still then, many will eat them the next day for lunch, but quickly get tired of eating the same thing over and over. Here’s a way to fix the problem if you or someone in your family is the same way. Let’s start with an example.
You prepare a roasted pork loin and rice for dinner one night. The family wants something else for dinner the following night so the pork loin gets pushed to the back of the refrigerator. Normally, that’s where it will stay until you clean out the fridge hunting for that nasty smell, right? Not anymore. Let’s do something to keep that pork loin from going to waste.
Eating leftovers the way they were originally served, is probably what’s turning family members off from wanting it again the next night. Your family doesn’t have to eat the pork loin as is. So, what do you do? Chop that pork loin up into bite size pieces.
Now you’re probably thinking, ok that’s great, but what do I do with it now? In a large skillet or wok, stir fry the leftover rice with a bag of frozen veggies, an egg, and some of the chopped pork loin to make pork fried rice. Add a little soy sauce and you’ve got a whole new dinner for your hungry family.
This is just one way that leftovers can be turned into a new dish with a new flavor. The same can also be done using chicken, seafood, or beef. Let’s take a look at beef.
If you have hamburgers left from dinner, chop them up until they resemble ground beef again. The meat can be combined with chili powder and taco sauce to make beef tacos. Or, add some beans, chopped peppers and tomatoes, and sauce to create a pot of chili. If you have the imagination, there are an unlimited number of possibilities of what you can do with meats and side dishes from a previous night’s dinner.
Using a little leftover creativity can make one meal last for two, three, or even four more days. But, you don’t have to eat it all in the same week. You can freeze your leftovers and have heat-and-serve meals on the fly. There are two things that we do.
First, we make “TV Dinners” with our left-overs. This is a great way to make the most of your hard work each day AND have a nice meal on the fly. It also works great if you have a picky eater–they can have their favorites while the rest of the family eats other dishes. You will love this one! Here is how you do that:
First, fix a new meal. As you are cleaning up, take the leftovers and freeze them into individual meals. Include everything from today’s meal. For example, today we have roast, carrots, potatoes, and green beans. I took some of the leftovers for tomorrow at lunch. But, we still had 5 separate “TV dinners” left over. All I do is package a full meal in my freezer containers. Then, when I am hungry, but busy, I can pull out that meal instead of making a run for fast food. Saves gas, time, money, AND it is sooo much healthier.
Another thing you can do is freeze each left over for larger family meals. You can freeze half of your roast in one big container…your veges in their containers. Then, when you are ready to have that particular meat again. On that day, dinner will already be made, all you’ll need to do is heat it up. Yes, it really can be just that simple.
Your family will be amazed at your ability to transform any meal into a new creation they will enjoy. Besides that, you will save money on your grocery bill and won’t be throwing it away in the trash can as spoiled leftovers. Try these and similar ideas to expand your family’s palate.