23
Jun
11

TIP: Leftovers. Use The Whole Buffalo.

Who wants to read  a blog post about leftovers?  You should want to.  Because you should want to be a conscientious user of natural resources and that is exactly what proactive leftover planning makes you.  Think of all the wasted food out there and all the people going hungry in the world.  Yes, those starving children in India your mother threatened you with are not a myth and I am not above invoking them to make a point.  We in America live in a society of excess, overabundance, our cup runneth over and we never miss a meal.  I’m not trying to incite a guilt trip (but it would be NICE for you to think about and help out those less fortunate than yourself, it would make me and your mother very proud) more than I’m trying to get you to understand how to utilize your blessings to the fullest.  Like the natives who lived here before us, we should aspire to become masters of  every usable inch of our boon with little to no waste and loss.  Being smart in the kitchen with your leftovers nods to the noble appreciation and responsible stewardry of the American Indians.  Here are a few tips on why and how to employ your leftovers to the fullest.

*Leftovers save you money.  $$$.  Do I have your attention?  You want me to show you the money?  Then look at me, cuz I’m showing you the leftovers.  Food costs are sky-high these days.  I bet if we could put a magic calculator in your garbage can that adds up all the money you are throwing out with food that could have been useful, you’d have a heart attack at the findings.  A study conducted in 1995 estimated that 96.4 billion pounds of edible food was wasted in America each year.  I’m not even going to attempt to convert that into dollars, suffice to say it’s lots’ o cash.

*Use leftovers quickly.  In order to save you moolah, the leftovers you put in the fridge need to be used in about 2 days.  3 tops.  This is because they will still be fresh and delicious and will not have morphed into ooey gooey mystery meat food zombie science project fodder that leftovers often get accused of being.  You can accomplish this by planning meals ahead or by considering all your options using leftovers as inspiration first if you are one of those open-the-refrigerator door-and-stare-kind of food planners.

*Store them correctly.  Make sure your food is in containers or Zip-lock bags that are air tight and preferably clear so you can see what is inside.  Freshness means you will actually want to eat it again, so make a solid effort here.  Use the refrigerator for short-term storage, the freezer for longer term.

*Timing is everything.  Try not to cook a huge meal too closely following a large intake of leftovers.  Getting backed up on saving stuff will only create that deplorable chore of cleaning out the fridge of things that have gone limp, fuzzy, and green.  If you find yourself with more leftovers than you can use, give them to a neighbor or invite more mouths to the table.

*Be creative.  Leftover meats can be served in omelets, hashes, and scrambles for breakfast, they can appear in soups, sandwiches, stir fries, pizzas, salads, and the like for lunch.  Leftover pasta, rice, veggies and fruits are equally practical to save.  Leftovers meals re-nuked can save you a trip to the drive-thru on a busy evening.  Some foods with tomato based sauces (spaghetti, lasagna, chili) actually taste better on the second night.

The following links have recipes and ideas for leftovers that look more delectable than how the food might have been served the first time around:

http://www.familycircle.com/recipes/healthy-eating/lunch/cold-lunches/?page=1

http://www.bhg.com/recipes/quick-easy/dinners-30-minutes-less/leftover-recipe-ideas/#page=1

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