Seventeen years of Treehouse talk

Seventeen years of Treehouse talk

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Ten Ways to Use Leftovers

The Four Moms are looking at leftovers this week.

I've posted before about my ingredients notebook and the ways I try not to throw out food, also here.  If you read our What's For Supper? posts (link fixed), you'll notice they frequently include leftover-this, leftover-that.  And that's often the way our meals work out: more cooking one night, then an easier reheated or recycled meal the next day.  I suppose it's frugally significant that one of our holiday traditions is to go out for Chinese food on Christmas Eve and then reheat the leftovers for lunch on Christmas Day.

So it doesn't seem like I could say much more about it, except that I've noticed that most leftover ideas seem to fall into groups, and I think we've tried most of them at least once.  Here are the Ten Treehouse Leftover Categories:

1.  Put the leftover(s) in a sandwich.  If you have an electric sandwich maker, it will do a great job of squishing any leftovers into a bread "turnover."  Lacking that, wrap a tortilla around a filling of leftovers (and store in the freezer if you're not going to eat it right away, see #8).  Lacking that, heat the leftovers (in gravy or sauce if you have some) and serve over bread: the classic hot sandwich, staple of department-store lunch counters.  (Potatoes, rice, or noodles will also do fine underneath.)

2. Put it in the soup.  (Self-explanatory.)

3. Put it in the muffins.  Or the pancakes.

4. Put it in the granola, e.g. stale cereal. (I added a container full of ground-up shredded wheat and Chex dregs to a batch of granola last week, and it turned out really well.)

5. Put it in the cookie balls.  Or the cookies. (That one was originally courtesy of Kim at InAShoe, one of the Four Moms.)

6. Put it under the mashed potatoes, or the dumplings, or the biscuit dough.  Examples: Shepherd's Pie, Chicken Pot Pie, Fruit Crisp.

7.  Put it in the blender.

8. Put it in the freezer.  As in, if you're not sure what to do with it now, put it aside and wait until you have something else that just needs a cupful of beans, or a bagful of rice, or a bit of spaghetti sauce.  And don't forget that you can freeze yogurt, tomato paste, stock, baby food puree, and other things in ice cube trays.

9. Put it in the microwave.  (Or the toaster oven, or in a pot set on low on the stove.)  Heat and eat.  Or don't heat: eat whatever it is cold, or in a salad.  (That's a bonus category that snuck in there.)

10.  Put it in the compost.  All good things come to an end.

Linked from Four Moms and Leftovers.  Linked from Festival of Frugality #336.

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