Did you know that up to 40% of food grown, processed and transported in the U.S. will never be eaten? On the average, 44% of Americans have found items in the refrigerator they didn't realize they had. It makes sense to get smarter about how to use leftovers. Think ingredients, not leftovers! Make leftovers on purpose. Think about what it can become. It is a financially smart move!
Cooking is hard when there is not many to cook for-sometimes even if there are. Everyone has leftovers. -Don't have stew the first night of the week, have tacos. The next day it could become taco soup with leftover corn, canned tomato, chopped onions. Cooked shrimp becomes shrimp scampi the next night, and if that does not do it, make a shrimp stew with cream of potato and cream of shrimp, along with some half and half, garlic, and red pepper.
-Leftover corn, green beans, noodles, squash? Vegetable soup. Keep some chicken stock around, and stock your kitchen with basics like cream of mushroom and chopped or diced tomato. The noodles can become soup with carrots and celery or another noodle salad wit your excess meat leftovers. The raw carrots become saute carrots and later boiled carrots. The roasted vegetables can be lunch the next day!
-If you prepare twice the amount of noodles or veggies, you can make soup or pasta later in the week. Extra rice? make pudding, breads, meatballs. Anticipate barbecue and sandwiches out of pot roast.
-Make sure you store leftovers well. Glass is best-nothing leaks into your food and you can see through it. Use sandwich bags and freezer bags! Label and date, always, or you end up with frozen lumps of mystery. Take the challenge to eat leftovers at least once a week.
-Do you pack a lunch for yourself, the spouse, or the kids? Turn dinner into lunch. Its a way to eat healthy all week, and eat well. Cheese crackers be gone! Sour cream, salsa, and shredded cheese can solve, hide, or transform many leftovers.
-Make vegetable soup or stew from those vegetables that were a side dish. Keep your vegetable scraps! A very easy and simple way is to puree with broth or half and half. Voila! Add croutons or shredded cheese and you have an instant meal. Another way to use those scraps it to add to a freezer bag, and keep adding. When the bag is full, dump it in a pot. Instant soup, just add broth and diced tomato. Alternatively, you can boil in broth and strain for vegetable stock.
-Stale bread becomes french toast, croutons, stuffing, or bread to dip in a herbed olive oil.
-You can always add those scraps to lettuce and make a salad with your favorite dressing.
Everything has a solution and can become something new--it just takes a little thought and organization.