There is this notion going around in families, that leftovers are an evil thing. This isn’t new; it’s been around since the advent of the icebox when the idea of even keeping leftovers was doable. Not having a freshly made meal, to most, is unthinkable. A meal of MRE’s and dehydrated astronaut food would be better. Anything; twigs and pebbles in the Outback, but NOT leftovers!
You’ve heard it yourself. “What’s for dinner?”, asks your earnest family. “Leftovers!” you retort with a sense of pride in your voice (after all, what a smart woman you are to make enough so you only have to cook once for two meals!). Then the groans start; pitiful and pathetic. Like you’re threatening to stick a hot poker in each of their eyes. As if they’re going to be fed cold gruel and a portion of dried chipped beef in a cage for the rest of their lives.
The problem with leftovers is they look so leftover. Girlfriend, if you want to trot out the leftovers the next day (and who doesn’t?), you just gotta dress ’em up a little different! Let’s go over the Three Rules for a Leftover Relaunch:
1) Change it. If it was baked chicken last night, chop up the leftover chicken and make chicken enchiladas tonight, chicken potpie or chicken noodle soup. The possibilities are endless; think beyond adding a can of cream of whatever soup and calling it a casserole.
2) Freeze it. No one said you HAVE to have it the next night. If the recipe is amenable, throw it in a freezer bag, mark it with a Sharpie (what it is and no, you will not remember, and the date; you won’t remember that either) and yank it out as a great back up when you need it.
3) Lunch it. Pack it up for your hubby and you to take to work the next day. Chances are good it’s just enough for the both of you. You’re both adults and can suck it up a bit and do this. I promise, you will not die from eating the same thing twice in less than 24 hours.
There is no need to moan over leftovers (though your children may think so) and there is no need for you to act like a leftover martyr (though you may have inherited this unfortunate skill from your mother).
Now, if YOU are part of the problem with not liking leftovers, it’s time to pull up your big girl panties and put on a great big smile. Part of growing up and maturing is doing the right thing for the right reasons. In today’s economy and just for the sake of being a little more green, eating your leftovers and using them up is helping you, to quote Benjamin Franklin, become “healthy, wealthy and wise.”
So chins up leftover martyrs and tally ho you leftover hating people! There are ways around this mountain and using the 3 rules above will get you where you want to go, save you some money, time and sanity. What’s not to love about that?
Leanne Ely, Your Dinner Diva at http://savingdinner.com
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