So I don’t know about you but as a rule, when I cook, I end up with a ton of leftovers.
I’m not sure who I think I’m cooking for, but if the football showed up at my door, I’d have enough leftovers in my refrigerator to feed them – and send food home!
How to Save Money Using Leftovers
Statistics from the United States Department of Agriculture state America does not eat 40 percent of its food. That means if you went to the grocery store and left with five bags – you’d leave two buggy! In fact, those same statistics show we throw out more than 400 pounds of food per person every year and costing a household of four an average of $1,800.
What could you do with an extra $1,800?? I can think of several things – pay bills, take a vacation, buy some fancy shoes!
So what can you do to avoid wasting food and throwing that money out the door? Use your leftovers.
Now, I know – many of you, when you think of leftovers, get just a little grossed out. I am here to help with easy dinner ideas with leftovers your family will love.
10 Easy Dinner Ideas With Leftovers
Cook Once, Eat Twice – technically, this might not be “leftovers,” but it still is a way to have food you can eat later. If you’re making a casserole, or even soup, make some extra. Here is an article on learning to cook once, eat twice healthy recipes you can read to help. Then stick the extra servings in an extra pan or large container, mark with a Sharpie and store in the freezer. On those nights when you’re dog tired and haven’t planned dinner, pull out a meal and you’re ready to go. Saves money on eating out too.
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Store extra veggies and rice in a freezer container for soup. If you have a smidge of corn and a dab of beans, and you don’t know what to do with them, add them to a container in your freezer. When it’s full, pull it out and make a delicious pot of homemade vegetable soup or make a taco soup.
Use meat leftovers for stir fry. You can make an easy stir fry sauce, use veggies from your fridge (another great way to use leftovers), and make a quick and delicious stir fry for dinner that takes only minutes.
Use extra meat and veggies to make a quiche. You can use a few eggs and some cheese to mix with meat and vegetables to make a delicious one dish meal and use those leftovers in a creative way.
Make potato cakes. If you have leftover mashed potatoes, mix them with an egg or two, some flour and any shredded cheese or bacon, and make potato cakes. These are great as a main or side dish.
Have a smorgasbord night. If you’re like me, and you cook every night, you’ll have leftovers from each meal. So, one night a week add this to your meal plan, put all the leftovers out and left your family have their own buffet line. You can clean out your fridge and everyone has what they want.
Make pizzas. This may sound far fetched, but trust me – it is good. Make this easy pizza dough recipe, since it is enough for everyone to make their own personal size pizza. Then let everyone use the leftovers to make their own original pizza to bake and have for dinner.
If your leftovers are rice and veggies, make fried rice. You can find quick and easy fried rice recipes to use anything in your fridge to throw together and make a fried rice main dish. You can use all types of leftovers to make a delicious quick supper.
Put together leftovers as Shepherd’s Pie – if you have meat, vegetables and mashed potatoes (or any combination of the three) – then you can make a Shepherd’s Pie everyone will love. Simply add some gravy or tomato sauce, and these leftovers won’t last long at all.
Leftovers as sandwiches? Yep – if you have bread and cheese, you can make anything into a sandwich. Roast beef, turkey, chicken, even vegetables can make a sub sandwich that will rival anything you find at Subway!
BONUS – make leftovers into a casserole. You can usually throw together any combination of meat, potatoes, vegetables or pasta and make a delicious casserole with a bread topping. Use your creative side and throw together a delicious casserole dish of food your family will love!
Easy Dinner Ideas With Leftovers
So there you have it – 10 +1 delicious ways you can use the leftovers in your fridge instead of throwing them out and wasting money and food. Invest in a good set of containers like these to store your items and if you have a well organized pantry you can whip up a meal in no time with these easy ideas.
So tell me – do you eat leftovers? Do you have a favorite way to use them? Let me know below.