Is it only me, or do you ever look in your fridge and see a bunch of mysterious containers with bits of this and that? This was me yesterday as I tried to find something to eat. I fixed the daycare kids peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (after I had burned the waffles to a crisp trying to reheat them!), and I do NOT eat PB & J ever, so that left me hunting in those mysterious containers. I came up with half a serving of whole wheat spaghetti noodles from Monday's lunch, some taco meat from Tuesday's dinner, the beans that I didn't end up using from the taco dinner (I had some refried beans already made up that we used instead) and the couple tablespoons of corn from the kids' lunch. Hmmm! What to do? Throw it all together with some salsa, zap it in the mircrowave and top it with shredded cheese and the dab of sour cream that was in that container. I was a little skeptical at first, because it didn't look super appetizing, but it smelled great. I dived in and guess what, it was great! I sort of wished there had been more noodles and I would've made myself a second helping. It was actually good enough that it will appear on next month's menu.
Add in some extras
What did I gain by doing this? I cleaned my fridge of four different foods that, by themselves, weren't enough to make much of anything, and probably would've been discarded at the end of the week. By experimenting, I discovered a great new dish that I think my Mexican food lovin' girls will scarf down. I saved money by using up what we already had and didn't cook something else. Lastly, I came up with another way to repurpose my food, so that leftovers won't have to be just leftovers.
I can have spaghetti on Monday, nachos on Tuesday, pizza made from the spaghetti sauce on Wednesday, and Mexican spaghetti (my new recipe's name) on Thursday made from Monday's pasta and Tuesday's meat, beans, cheese, etc. If I had a lot of meat leftover, I could also incorporate it into the pizza or make the pizza on leftover tortillas or make pizza burritos. Now, my family could eat Italian or Mexican every night, but if you don't want the leftovers that close together, you could freeze the separate items and use them in the following weeks. No matter how you do it, you will be reducing your food waste, and saving yourself money.