By Cathy Shouse
Being in quarantine has most of us eating at home more and grocery shopping or eating out less. That’s why I’ve made using leftovers a top kitchen priority. Here are 5 strategies:
1. Make it a game. An attitude adjustment is sometimes all it takes. Challenge yourself to use all leftovers. Share your goal with others you are quarantining with and get them on board. Leftovers have a bad reputation but if the original recipe was good, having more later isn’t a bad thing.
2. Save the date. Sometimes you look in the fridge, can’t remember what day you put the leftovers in there, and wonder if they’re safe to eat–or maybe that’s just me. Put a sticky note on your leftovers with the date.
3. Use the internet. If your leftover is an ingredient, do a Google search for a recipe it can be used for. I entered “pork sausage” and recipes for adding in potatoes and red pepper popped up, both ingredients I had on hand. Also, if you are looking for a specific recipe, entering the word “easy” can cut down on the number of ingredients and pans you will need. Try “skillet” recipes too.
4. Keep It Simple, Stupid (KISS). Make leftovers simple to identify by using clear lids or clear wrap. Or label them with a sticky note or masking tape. Separate food into single servings and place in microwave safe bowls (when appropriate) so they are no-hassle eating selections.
5. Think variety. DON’T create more leftover servings than your family can eat within a couple days or some may go bad when you get bored. DO freeze excess quantities immediately and it’s okay to have “leftover night” to get rid of odds and ends. Bonus Points if you announce in game show host voice: You can choose what you want tonight!
Last, if you’re willing to put in more effort, you can “see leftovers as new dishes” like Mary Hunt, bestselling author and creator of the free newsletter, Everyday Cheapskate. Mary shares how to use leftover pizza, pasta, and lots of other foods to make new recipes. https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/surprisingly-amazing-meals-from-leftovers/