Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Leftover Wizardry

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Leftovers, we all have them sometimes. The question is what to do with them and how to use them to our advantage to save money? 

There is always Freezer Soup, which is a container stored in the freezer, which is used to hold leftovers until the container is full and then made into soup later at a later date. 

My Grandmother, who grew up in the Great Depression, did this and my Dad wasn't a fan. She used to say that he had "champagne tastes on a beer budget". LOL

However, there are multiple ways to use up leftovers and make them taste good, but  sometimes it takes a little bit of creativity.

First off, leftovers can be saved for another meal. I can't tell you how many times I have come home, tired from work, and was grateful to have leftovers in the refrigerator.  Only having to heat up dinner in the microwave on a hard day is very welcome here. 

One of the tricks I used to do with leftover meatloaf is to chop it up and use it in spaghetti the next day. And you can make all sorts of casseroles with leftover taco meat. 

If you have leftover chili, you can made chili tacos or chili pie. Chili pie consists of chili, placed in a casserole dish, with cornbread batter baked on top of it. My Mother served this a lot back when she was raising our family. 

Potato Pancakes are another good way to use up leftover mashed potatoes. All is takes is two cups of potatoes, an egg, 1/4 cup flour, some grated onion or onion powder, salt & pepper.  Then cook like you would pancakes in a skillet. 

Hash is another good and frugal way to use up leftovers. Onions, peppers, potatoes, and or any leftover meat can be used to make a really good meal.  You'll be saving money by using up your leftovers and avoiding food waste. 

Any food thrown out is money already spent and then wasted. Do your best to use up everything you buy and that will save you the most money. 

By stretching the food you already have and making a meal out of leftovers you will be adding one more meal to your monthly menu that you didn't have to spend any money towards and that's a good thing. 


Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

28 comments :

  1. I love leftovers. Some of the nicest meals I have ever had have been made with leftovers and a good dollop of creativity. The sad thing is, one can't usually reproduce them again.
    xx

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    1. That's true, Joy. Some items even taste better the next day.

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  2. We always use everything until it is gone. I am glad that my husband 'likes' leftovers. They many times become his lunch.
    I think I have done all the things you mentioned.
    No wasting food here!

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    1. That's great, Cheryl. It's a good way to save money. It's great that you dh likes leftovers. On the other end of the spectrum, It can be hard to feed someone who doesn't like leftovers and tends to be a picky eater.

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  3. I am usually very good about using of leftovers, but I have become lax lately. We have chickens, so it is easy to say, "Well, the chickens can have it." And sometimes that is okay, but not all the time. One of my new goals this year is to keep our grocery budget to $500/month for our family of five (sometimes six when oldest is home from college) and the only way to make this work is to use up our leftovers. Just last night I was tempted to put the leftover broccoli in the chicken bucket, but instead I bagged it up and froze it. It can become broccoli-cheese soup next. My problem is that I just need to stop and think before I immediately throw something out.

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    1. Oh, we had chickens at one time too, so I know what you mean abut feeding them. Ours could pick a watermelon shell clean with nothing left. LOL Freezing the broccoli for Broccoli Cheese soup is a great idea! We try to keep our grocery budget at $300 since we have 3 people here, but we do go over from time to time.

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  4. Leftovers are the best! My daughter and I eat leftovers for lunch almost every day- it's nice to have a warm, homecooked meal for lunch. I'm going to miss having her home to eat lunch with me every day when she goes off to kindergarten next year (and it'll be harder to use up those leftovers, haha!). I'm pretty good at repurposing those leftovers. I make a mean veggie fried rice with all our leftover rice; leftover spaghetti sauce goes into whatever soup I've concocted (leftover soup can be so fun!), just about anything can go into an omelet (I made a fabulous sweet potato chili omelet earlier this year. When my son tasted it, his eyes widened, and he said, "I think we've just evolved as a species." LOL). I love having already cooked food just waiting for me in the fridge. :)

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    1. I agree that leftovers are the best, Stephanie. Great minds think alike. That is so cute about your son. My daughter loves omelets too. I made her one after Christmas with the ham and she really like it. I would love to try your veggie fried rice, it sounds good!

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  5. I see leftovers as a challenge waiting to be undertaken. ;-)
    Hubs loves to eat them for lunches now so I don't get to change them into anything else much anymore....

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    1. I like your challenge, Sluggy. That's good that yours are getting eaten. :)

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  6. I have a DH who can't stand food waste, yet he never touches leftovers. He claims he forgets them. Typically our leftovers consist of whatever meat we have had. I tend to deliberately underestimate the amount of sides to avoid leftovers that won't get eaten. If I've roasted, say, a turkey breast, the kids will pick at it for days. I dislike soup, so the bulk of my leftovers get put in things like cottage pies or enchiladas.

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    1. That's a great idea to underestimate the sides, Meg. That way you won't have leftovers that don't get eaten. Cottage pie sounds delicious and we love enchiladas. I do enchiladas with leftovers often.

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  7. 4 generations of my family lived during the Great Depression. With an ice box, not a refrigerator, maintaining food was difficult for future days. It was plain eating but tasty from garden and canning for winter. Cooking and baking was done on/in a wood stove. Yet, that time was advanced from Pioneer Days. Life is marvelous today and will improve for us if we watch our P's and Q's.

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    1. Definitely, Anna. We have it so much more convenient than they did back then. I wish I wish I could grow a garden like my grandpa did. He was amazing! Had 4 gardens in various places, all growing like crazy.

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  8. I am a big leftover user. My husband is all on board and will often remark "how many days did we get out of that - fill in the blank -" lol
    Thanks for the reminder that this is a big way to keep costs down.

    Debra

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    1. You're welcome, Debra. I like the way your dh thinks. My Mom does that too. It's a great way to think!

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  9. I have leftovers and a leftover hating husband, so I reformat them. He thinks he is getting something new and different, I know I am using the food we had left. It is a win/win situation

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    1. THat's a great way to deal with leftovers, Anne. :)

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  10. I normally cook everything enough for 2-3 meals, so I'm a big fan of leftovers. And most dishes taste better the next day anyway. :)

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    1. They do taste better the next day, Nil. I cook like you do. I make something and we normally eat it until it's gone. It makes life easier on me.

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  11. I try to cook enough to last 2-3 days of lunches and meals. It just saves time and money. We are religious leftover eaters, what is not consumed goes to the chickens.

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    1. I loved it when we had chickens. Someday we are going to have them again I hope.

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  12. No one in my family particularly "loves" leftovers, but . . . they know to expect them! I cook on Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays, and we eat leftovers Mondays, Tuesdays & Wednesdays. For Thursday, we either have a smorgasbord of leftovers, or I pull something from the freezer.

    A few options we love to repurpose leftovers: pizza (always a great way to use up a red sauce, bits & pieces of meat & cheese) & risotto. I make an easy oven baked risotto, and then use any meat, cheese, etc for mix ins at the end.

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    1. You had me at Pizza. LOL...It's my favorite food other than tacos. You have a great schedule there, very organised. That's a great way to handle your leftovers.

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  13. We use ALL leftovers. Personally, I see them as yet another day we don't have to cook from scratch -- just to figure out which combination of items we want to heat up.

    Currently in our fridge are:

    --The last of the hoppin' john we had for New Year's Day dinner

    --Part of a pie made with leftover roast beef and gravy, peas, some diced potato, and a from-scratch crust

    -- About half an on-sale ham ($1.47 a pound is a *huge* deal up here) that DF cooked on the Weber; the rest is in several bags in the freezer

    --Split pea soup, made with scraps of that ham, celery frozen from the garden, and some vegetable stock from the freezer

    About that stock: We make it regularly with stuff other people might throw away. Details at:
    http://donnafreedman.com/boiling-bag/

    Happy New Year to all!

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    1. Happy New Year to you too Donna! You have a great list here. thank you.

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  14. Hi Belinda!
    I just found your blog, and I am enjoying the posts! I have some great posts up on my Instagram Acct @just1shortgirl for stretching your food budget and your pantry stock. My husband works for Homeland Security and we aren't getting paid right now, so I've had to be pretty creative! :) Great job on your posts!

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    1. Hi Nichole, welcome to my blog. I'm so sorry you and your dh are having to go with no pay while the govt is shut down. I hope that situation resolves itself soon. I found you on Instagram and am following you now. I already love some of your photos on there. I wish you and your dh the best.

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