The greatest saving strategy you can have is to use every scrap of food that comes into your home. The trick is to disguise leftovers as a completely new meal. Here are some ideas for putting leftovers to good use. And while you are at it, consider the advantages of planned leftovers.
1. After each dinner, add leftover vegetables with their juices to one large freezer container. Add any leftover gravy or cooking juices as well. When the container is filled, use it as the foundation for nutritious and tasty vegetable soup…practically free.
2. Leftover mashed potatoes can be used in Shepherd’s Pie, Canadian Meat Pie, or in Beef Patties.
3. Leftover gravy can be used in Shepherd’s Pie or over Supper Pancakes.
4. Freeze bread heels and stale bread in a bag or freezer container. Blend the frozen bread to use it as bread crumbs or cube the bread for stuffing or bread pudding.
5. Rejuvenate leftover muffins by scooping out the center, filling the cavity with butter or jam and baking at 350° until warmed and the butter is melted. Or cover the warmed muffins with creamed eggs for a breakfast treat.
6. Use leftover oatmeal in Oatmeal Cake or Oatmeal Muffins.
7. Marinate leftover vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower, or even green beans, in Italian dressing and use them as a flavor accent for your salads.
8. Thick stews can be used as filling for pot pies. If your stew isn’t thick, add a few potatoes and simmer until it thickens.
9. Add white sauce to any leftover vegetables and heat thoroughly. Add cheese, for more protein.
10. Cook twice as much broccoli, cauliflower, or spinach as you need for a meal. Set aside half the vegetables to appear again in 2 days in a casserole with cheese and crumb topping or in quiche.
11. Leftover pasta or rice can become the crust for quiche or meat pie.
12. Grind leftover ham in a food processor or meat grinder to mix with a small amount of mayonnaise and use as a sandwich spread.
13. Meatloaf is often left over but seldom used. Place ¾” thick slices of meatloaf on a broiler pan. Spread with ketchup and broil for 3-5 minutes. Top with cheese and returned to the broiler until melted.
14. Use leftover coleslaw in soups and stews. Simply place coleslaw in a colander and rinse it under a faucet, then dump the coleslaw into the soup pot.
15. Biscuits can be split, buttered, and toasted under a broiler for 2 minutes. Use these biscuits as a substitute for rice, potatoes, or cornbread in recipes such as Creamed Chicken or Curried Chicken. Or sprinkle on cinnamon sugar for a tasty breakfast.
16. Use leftover pasta or rice in casserole recipes. This would be an excellent way to save time as well.
17. Besides banana bread and other baked goods, brown bananas have many uses: banana milkshake, banana-peanut butter sandwiches, Banana French toast (add mashed banana to milk and egg dip).
18. Leftover cake can be used in many ways. Use your imagination. If you have leftover chocolate cake, make a trifle with chocolate pudding with cherry pie filling for a delicious Black Forest trifle. How about yellow cake and vanilla pudding with peach pie filling and raspberry jam for a Peach Melba flavor?
19. Sour milk should never be poured down the drain. Instead, use it to make baked goods that call for buttermilk such as pancakes, waffles, gingerbread, or cornbread.
And now I’d like to invite you to check out Penny Pinching Meals, a cookbook that will save you time and shrink your food budget with your family happy and satisfied. See the free video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXdaHLb0RAo
Rosey Dow is CEO of ExpertsinFocus.com
Photo. Sarita Larson