Use These 7 Leftovers Tips To Avoid Wasting Food

Leftovers.  Just reading the word probably made some of you groan.  That’s a pretty common reaction.  We crave variety including in what we eat.  And, let’s face it, not all meals are all that exciting the first time around!  This can make the second go-around downright unappealing.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way!  You can make leftovers a lot more appealing, and also make sure that food doesn’t go to waste.  Here are a few simple tricks.

Store Leftovers In A Clear Container

One reason that leftovers go bad is they get forgotten about. This is almost sure to happen if you can’t see what you’re keeping.  We try to put as many our leftovers as possible in clear glass dishes.  This avoids food turning into science experiments!  Who needs that?

Create A Designated Leftovers Area

Another common occurance that leads to food going to waste or becoming inedible is when leftovers are spread around the fridge.  Then, slowly but surely, the leftovers get pushed further and further to the back.  Eventually, you’ve run out of containers and the back half of the fridge is piled high with who-knows-what.  It doesn’t have to be that way.

We put leftovers in one area of the fridge.  It may not be our favorite spot of the fridge, but it helps.

Plan A Leftover Night

One thing our designated spot helps is to alert us when we’ve got a lot of leftovers.  When our leftovers spot fills up, we know it’s time to consider a leftovers night.  Nobody enjoys these that I know of, but at least it means no cooking, right?

Bottom line, leftovers nights aren’t fun, but the can avoid waste, save time, and mean one less meal to cook.  That’s just money in your pocket!

Switch Meals With Leftovers

If you don’t want to have the same thing for dinner twice in a week, I don’t blame you.  But, what about lunch?  Many leftovers pack well and can be warmed up at work.  I often look forward to leftovers for lunch, because it breaks up my sandwich routine.

Turn Leftovers Into A New Recipe

One thing we try to do is make leftovers an entirely new meal.  How?  Here are a few things we do:

  • Just about any Mexican food leftover can be converted to a different meal.  Pretty much anything can be made into nachos fairly easily.
  • Grilled chicken can be cut up and made into a nice big salad.
  • Leftover chili can be added to a box of mac & cheese to make chili mac.

Get the idea?

 

Know How To Reheat Your Leftovers

Many leftovers get a bad rap because they’re warmed up incorrectly.  Pizza, for example, doesn’t get warmed up in the microwave in our house.  Warming it up in the oven makes it practically the same as when you had it fresh.  Honestly, I won’t go into too many tips on particular foods, but Google is your friend.  I assure you.

Store Your Leftovers Properly

Sticking leftovers in the fridge improperly is a surefire way to ruin food.   The biggest thing to remember when storing food?  Keeping air away from it.

If you put leftover casserole or pasta in a container, squeeze the air out.  When you have leftover pizza, don’t just put the box in the fridge.  The next time you open the box, you’ll have dried out, nasty pizza that even the oven can’t save.  If you store your leftovers properly, they will taste much better the second time around.

In the end, leftovers will never be appealing as a great meal the first time.  But, with these tips, leftovers can be tolerable and maybe even enjoyable.

What are some of your favorite (or least favorite) leftovers? Do you have any tips to minimize the eye-rolls when leftover night rolls around?

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7 thoughts on “Use These 7 Leftovers Tips To Avoid Wasting Food

  1. The one thing I definitely struggle with is making leftovers into a new meal. I just look at it and I’m like, I ate you for dinner last night and lunch today… now what? I think I need to make less food haha

  2. I used to be the Leftovers Queen with my best friends but I’m terrible with reheating them at home. It drives PiC nuts that my reheat strategy is just to pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds on high 😀

    But I cook for leftovers on purpose: do a big roast pork shoulder or pile of chicken and make it into several meals with starches and veggies.
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  3. I find that I hate leftovers – unless it’s a soup or chili. Realizing I hate them, I half many recipes and only make enough for the 3 of us. I have a delicious meatloaf recipe, but I half it and make it in a small loaf pan – almost never a leftover.

    • My kids are of that weird age where it’s hard to predict how much or how little they’ll actually eat, so in terms of making a certain amount to avoid leftovers, that’s a pretty tough challenge.

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