Friday, July 29, 2011

Easy frugal cooking tips for leftovers

As a busy mom of 3 boys I  try to make sure I am not wasting food.  I have in my menu plan using leftovers and it helps keeping my food budget down. 

The fridge

One of the problems with leftovers, is that we tend to serve them day after day until they are gone.. Say you prepare a giant roast beef for Sunday dinner - there are plenty of leftovers, but the family will get tired if you keep serving slices of roast beef over and over for the rest of the week. You will have to get creative with your meal planning to keep dishes on the table that your family will actually eat.

You can start by chopping that roast up into bite size pieces. Add in some frozen vegetables, and some instant rice. Cook in a large frying pan or a wok, add in soy sauce and a beaten egg and you have a frugal meal of beef fried rice.

That's just one way that a leftover roast can be re-used. Don't forget beef stroganoff, a classic that's simple to make - just add some cream of mushroom soup, sour cream and egg noodles and you have a classic comfort food dish.

Another option would be to make a fritteria added the chop up roast (actually any leftover meat), added 2 cups of frozen brocolli, milk, 4 eggs, cheese and simply bake.  I will usually add some chop up roasted potatos as a side.

Don't let leftover meatloaf go to waste  - just take them and break them apart - they can become the basis for a traditional spaghetti meat sauce or you can add some taco seasoning and create a meal of tacos or burritos that is sure to be a family crowd pleaser. If doing the spagehtti and beef, I usually throw it in the crockpot to left the sauce and meat soak together,

Using a little creative thinking can turn any bunch of leftovers into frugal meals that last the whole week. Just take a moment to plan your main "big" meal and then brainstorm 2 or 3 other meals that can be made with it and make sure you have all the ingredients on hand in your pantry.

You'll be more likely to re-use leftovers if you don't have to hit the grocery store for last minute items. If you have enough leftover leftovers, you can even freeze this meal and pull it out of the freezer on another night.

By strategically using leftovers you will save time and money. Just watch your grocery bill go down and your free-time increase. You can even use the savings to order in one night - don't worry - we won't tell.



AsSnugAsABug said...

Good idea about planning a big meal and what you will do with the leftovers

Becca said...

Planning ahead can also save time and electricity/gas if you cook one big batch instead of a lot of little ones. One of my favorites is to cook a big pot of rice as a side dish, then use some of it in a casserole and some in fried rice. We also like warmed-up rice with butter and nutritional yeast or seaweed sprinkles as a snack or with milk and raisins and cinnamon for breakfast. Especially if it's brown rice, which takes longer to cook, may as well make a lot while you're at it!

Jean said...

Sometimes I also freeze our leftovers to have a quick meal on another night. I love the idea of using the meatloaft in spaghetti sauce.