Tuesday, May 31, 2011

{ Left-overs - What Do You Do With Yours? }

As a kid I always wondered why my dad called dinner "muscgo" when we would eat leftovers, but as I grew and my ears became more fine tuned to what people were actually saying I realized that we weren't having "muscgo" but rather "must-go" for dinner. Is that how you do it? Let the left-overs build up in the fridge until one night everyone in the family has to eat what must-go? That's how we did it and I did not like leftovers. (In all fairness kids have a different perspective than their parents so it's highly possible that my parents did it different than how I now remember it.)

For the first couple years of our marriage, Kyle and I threw out a lot of left-overs because we didn't really like them (we didn't eat a lot of great meals) and as students we didn't really have a way to heat them up for lunch on campus (besides, reheating chicken can be dicey if you aren't careful and chicken breasts were pretty much the staple for our first years of marriage). To be honest, I don't know when the switch really happened but now left-overs are the preferred lunch and they offer a night off from cooking every now and again, like tonight!

Lemon-Oregano Chicken, Roasted Potatoes and Mustard Green Beans a dinner from the Six O'clock Scramble

The picture above is our dinner from tonight. I didn't make it grocery shopping today after the long weekend, not to mention we're all tired so we took the night off and heated up some left-overs. We had frozen two meals like this in quart sized freezer bags and they came out looking just as tasty as the first time we ate them. Also, with little "cook" time and not much clean up we were able to fit in a family walk before bath and bed for Tabi at 7pm.

Here's how we store our leftovers: when dinner is finished we create two lunches in two food storage containers, one for mom and one for dad - Lean Cuisine doesn't have anything on us. If there are more than two lunches worth of leftovers we freeze them in a freezer bag labeled with what it is and how many servings there are. Lately, I've been freezing individual meals in quart size freezer bags so that we can eat them for lunch or dinner; in the past I would freeze two or more servings in a gallon size bag but then we would have to eat them for dinner.

One reason a person may not like left-overs is because they aren't reheating them right, I know from experience. If you overheat chicken or fish when you reheat it, forget about it. It's garbage at that point. Reheat it at a low heat or eat it cold over some salad greens- a left-over refashion if you will. And okay, so not everything tastes as good the second time around. It's true, some things do reheat better than others but for the most part as long as it was good the first time around it's going to be decent the second time too. And for things that you really don't like reheated, refashion them into a cold meal. Left-over taco meat, make a taco salad. Left over salmon, serve it over some greens, add feta (feta makes it "mo betta", and that's official) and nuts or croutons and you're ready to go.

So what do you do with your left-overs? Any tips or ideas you can share to help us not have to throw away excess food?


safetoland said...

Thanks Jessica this is great :)

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