I confess. I love leftovers. I plan for leftovers. Whenever someone says they don’t eat leftovers, I can’t imagine why. Serving leftovers is a night off in the kitchen. When meal planning for the week, plan to serve leftovers and you’ll become a leftover food lover. Follow these simple guidelines.
Limit the serving time
Only serve a meal two nights in a row. If you have any left after the second night, freeze it. Two nights is the maximum at our house. It’s good to have a maximum.
Tired of a meal? Put it in the freezer. When you serve it in a week or two, your family will think you’ve spent all evening preparing something delicious but you’ll know the source – the freezer. On my meal planning chart, I use arrows to show when leftovers will be served and how they’re to be eaten or used in another dish.
Just eat it
Eat the leftovers for breakfast or lunch. Leftover dinners don’t have to be served at dinner time. Pack in a small container with a cloth napkin and bring them to work and eat for lunch. Breakfast is another time leftovers can be eaten. A warmed-up meal of shrimp scampi and wilted spinach salad is a great way for kids to start their day. Kids love leftovers (ours do!) because then they don’t have to make their breakfast.
Serve a treat
When a meal comes from our freezer it’s sometimes referred to as a “freezer treat.” This isn’t always a good thing. What exactly is a “freezer treat?” When I’ve made a delicious soup, stew or chili that we’ve had for two nights and it’s fresh in the minds of my family, and then I thaw it to serve it a few days later – that’s a freezer treat.
My secret weapon for too many freezer treats? Brownies. They’re quick, easy, and something to look forward to after your freezer treat has been eaten. Pretty much any good dessert makes up for leftover apathy. Also, adding garlic bread or a fresh green salad are all nice ways to spice up a leftover meal.
Call it out!
Don’t let your leftovers get eaten until you’re ready! I have to put notes on food to remind my teens not to eat something. Labeling your food really helps when putting it into the freezer. I always think I’ll remember what’s in a container but I never really do. Labels don’t have to be fancy. A piece of scrap paper attached with a masking tape or on a small container with a rubber band are easy and inexpensive methods.
What’s on your meal plan this week? Any leftovers? Are you a leftover food lover?
Go Gingham related links:
Go Gingham food philosophy – yes, there is one
New to cooking at home? Fear not!
11 reasons to meal plan every week – save money, save time and reduce food waste
How our freezer gets used – what I keep in our freezer and how I utilize the space
Grocery shopping from the bulk bins and food storage containers
More meal plan ideas are here