Thursday, October 21, 2010

Making Every Penny Count -- Leftovers

I know you've seen it here before, but leftovers are your friend! I saw an article on-line yesterday that said the average American family throws away $600 worth of food every year. I don't know how they came to that figure, but I bet it's fairly accurate. And it's very true that one way of "saving" money is not to waste what you've bought with it. Here are a few ways I do it:

1. I buy only what I'll use or can store. For example, I'll stock on meat when it's on sale because I can freeze it. Other things aren't worth stocking up on because we won't use them before they go bad, like potatoes or other fresh veggies that don't freeze well. I take careful stock of what I have in my freezer/fridge/pantry before shopping so I don't overbuy.

2. I save my leftovers. Just last night I made spaghetti using hamburger patties I'd stored raw in the freezer. Leftover meatloaf can be repurposed in the same way. Most meats can be diced and frozen for later use in soups, sauces or casseroles. Leftover corn and mashed potatoes make wonderful fritters or "cakes", as well as corn chowder. Most leftover casseroles freeze well, and you can portion those out for your Sweetie's lunch, or your own.Vegetables can be saved for soups and casseroles, as well as omelets or quiches.

3. Small family? Make the recipe for a 9x13 dish but divide it into two 8 or 9 inch square dishes. Line one of the dishes with foil, then freeze it for later. Once it's frozen, you can remove it from the dish and wrap it well with foil, label it and save it for another day -- for your family or a family in need.

4. Fresh vegetables need not languish in your drawer until you throw them away! Many of them freeze just fine, especially if you cook them first. Check your drawer often and if you won't use it that week for a meal, go ahead and prep it for the freezer.

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