Friday, March 29, 2013

Minimizing Food Waste: Using Leftovers

Our home has three big culprits that contribute to our food waste. 1) Prepared meals that result in leftovers.  2)  Leftover ingredients from prepared meals.  3)  Purchased food that never gets made or eaten.

I will be discussing number 3 in a few days, when I talk about meal planning.  But, I wanted to share some small solutions for numbers 1 and 2.

Prepared Meals that Result in Leftovers

This one is pretty obvious.  Eat them.  Getting this done, isn't quite as easy.  Leftovers aren't always very appealing.  If you are a meal planner, leftovers might not fit into your plan (we will get to that in a few days).  Sometimes, we just forget about the leftovers in the fridge.

Here's what I've done this month to try and eat up our leftovers.
  • Eat leftovers for lunch- I like this, because it gives me lunch, without having to do much prep.  Lunch is a hard prep time for me, because I am either at work or at home alone with Baby.  If I have leftovers, I do my best to eat them the next day or send them with Brandon to eat (I know he will eat leftover pizza....most anything else, I do the dirty work).
  • Just suck it up-Leftovers aren't always what you are in the mood for, but its better than rotten food left in the fridge or wasted money from buying food we didn't need.
  • Don't use the microwave-Although, I think there are health reasons not to use the microwave, there are other reasons, too.  Microwaves make your leftovers nasty.  Plain and simple.  In many cases, you can put something back in a pot or put it in the toaster oven.  Your leftovers will be much tastier.

Leftover Ingredients from Prepared Meals
This is a great way to save money and keep from wasting food.  Plan on the leftover ingredients and use them.  Here are some examples of ways I've done this.
  • Throw leftovers into other dishes-We eat a lot of peppers and onions.  When I don't use a full pepper or onion, I go ahead and cut it up.  I throw it into pasta sauce, on top of pizza, in pita sandwiches, into chili, on a rice dish, etc., throughout the week.  It makes the dish a little healthier and tastier, and keeps rotting peppers away from my fridge.
  • Make snacks-I bought carrots and celery for a stew I made, but had most of the bag left.  I cut them into snack sizes, right away (don't put it off for later or it won't get done).  I had yummy, healthy snacks to eat for about a week!
  • Pizza buns/bagels-I used to buy english muffins to make pizza buns.  Now, I just make them using leftover hamburger buns or bagels, and pasta sauce.  Hamburger buns never get used up in our house, before they are moldy, and I never use the whole jar of pasta sauce.  But, I plan pizza every Saturday night.  Win win!  Note:  See my leftover veggies on top of these pizzas?     
What do you do to keep from wasting your leftovers?

1 comment:

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