Monday, January 2, 2012

One way to use up leftovers

Does a single piece of meat or a serving of vegetables left over from a meal ever get lost in the depths of you refrigerator only to be tossed out when you do your weekly clean out because no one could figure out what to do with it?

Well here is an idea that will help you use them up so you won't be tossing money in the trash. I asked my family members who buy frozen dinners to save me the containers that the food comes in so I could make my own frozen dinners from left overs. After each meal I take the left overs and divide into meal size portions into the containers, cover them with plastic wrap and foil then label and date them. I place them in my refrigerator freezer and if I am gone the guys in my family can grab one to heat and eat. My son even grabs them to take to work with him. This has cut down dramatically on our food waste.

Even if I only have one piece of meat left or just serving of mashed potatoes I place them in one of the containers and freeze. I add to the container each day until I have enough in there for one meal. Then I label it and date it.

I have meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner in my freezer. My hubby and son love having these easy to grab meals at the ready in case I am not around to cook. Some times we even use them on the days when I just don't feel like cooking or I am to busy to cook. It has helped to cut down on buying fast foods and has save us money on our food bill.

I few examples of the types of frozen meals I make are as follows:


Pancakes w/sausage, ham or bacon
French toast w/sausage, ham or bacon
Scrambled eggs w/ sausage, ham or bacon, hash browns and a biscuit

Lunch or Dinner:

Meatloaf w/ mashed potatoes and a veggie ( whatever is left over from a meal )
Lasagna with garlic toast
Beef stew w/biscuit
Chicken stew w/biscuit
Plain Hamburger w/ french frys ( buns are kept in the bread box )
Breaded Porkchop w/mashed potatoes and a left over veggie
Baked Chicken and rice w/ left over veggie
Beef Vegetable Soup
Cooked dry beans w/ a piece of cornbread
HM pizza

The list is pretty much endless. Just look at the frozen dinners you can buy in the stores. If food makers can freeze it so can you.

Another food that gets wasted in my home is a cake made from a boxed cake mix. If I make a 13 x 9 cake two thirds of it winds up getting throwed away. To stop that from happening I started dividing a cake mix batter between 3 loaf pans and baking them. After they cooled I would wrap two of the cakes in plastic wrap and then freezer paper and freeze them. I do not frost them as most frosting do not hold up well to freezing. When I go to use the frozen cakes I either make a small amount of hm made frosting or I make a hm fruit pie filling and spoon some over each slice of cake when I serve it and top with a dap of whipped topping. Works great for us and there is nothing left to throw in the trash. A win/win for us and our wallets. :)

What are your creative uses for dealing with leftovers?


  1. Those are great ideas, Carol! So for the meals for the freezer you just use plastic wrap then foil? It doesn't seem that that would prevent freezer burn but then I haven't tried it. How long will they last in the freezer that way? I might try that with a meal or two just to see how it works for me. I detest food waste and have taken to cooking very small portions of things. It does prevent waste but it doesn't help as far as having food ready for nights when I'm hungry. Thanks!

  2. I date the meals with a use by date and the guys go by that. I date them for 3 months from the date I make the dishes up. So far I have had no problems. When I do up spaghetti though I cook the noodles 4 minutes less then the instructions say so they are not quite done. They finsh cooking in the microwave. You could also use the Glad Tag Along dishes with lids. I have a couple of them I use to. The ones I have have two compartments in them and work nicely for a serving of spaghetti and garlic toast or a peice of meat and a veggie.

  3. AWESOME idea, Carol! TY for sharing it!