Thursday, February 18, 2010

Waste Not, Want Not--> Using Leftovers

Cooking for my family is something I enjoy. . . mostly.  I'm not an adventurous cook.  I tend to make the same trusted meals using the same favorite recipes, many of which have been passed down from my own mom.   My dilemma comes with the leftovers.  Though my husband is a hard-worker and good provider, we are still on a pretty tight budget and I don't feel we have the kind of money that allows us to just throw away leftover food (not that I never throw anything away, I just try to not to do it too much).   I am happy to have leftovers for dinner the next evening, however my husband is not.  My challenge is to find ways to use the leftover food that makes it seem like it is a fresh meal.

In our 7.5 years of marriage I have found quite a few recipes that work great for this.    With chicken I make several different chicken casseroles, chicken enchiladas, chicken and dumplings or chicken soup.  With Ham I make Ham cheddar & broccoli sandwich ring, cheesy ham and potato casserole, ham and cheese omelets, ham and potato soup, or pinto beans (which I don't make often since my husband doesn't care for those).  With beef or venison I make beef stew or soup and depending on how much is leftover I might make pulled bbq.  Hamburgers or meatloaf work great to grind up and use in pasta dishes or Stromboli.

I do like to make one dish dinners.  However when I make them I try to make just enough for our family without leaving much leftover.  Since my husband doesn't like the leftovers I know he won't help in eating them and I do not enjoy eating the same leftover meal for lunch every day for an entire week.  I have done that on occassion to avoid throwing something out, but I really don't prefer it.

Tonight for dinner we are having a delicious leftover meal. . . I attempted to make my own lemon-pepper chicken marinade yesterday.  And while the chicken tasted fine, it was rather blah probably due to the two ingredients that I had to leave out since I didn't have them on hand.  There were two pieces of chicken that did not get eaten so this morning I threw it in the crockpot with some veggies and spices and by tonight we shall have a nice yummy chicken vegetable soup ready to eat!

P.S. I'd love to hear how you use up your leftovers. Feel free to leave a comment with a recipe or a link.


Kalyn said...

These are some really good ideas! I'm a pretty picky leftover eater too......I will only eat them to avoid throwing them out.

~City Love... now, forever, always~ said...

We slice up leftover chicken or beef to use in stir fry!

Hazel said...

I know your husband appreciates your frugality while at the same time making good meals that please him. He is a lucky man!

akr said...

I love reusing leftovers. Some of my favorites are Chicken and Biscuits or Chicken Soup with leftover chicken, actually any kind of soup is great, especially a chili style. I also like doing a bunch of meatballs and then using them for spaghetti, meatball subs, and swedish meatballs. Bisquick also has some super yummy and easy recipes.

Oh...and I tagged you for a Beautiful Blogger Award.