Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Making the Best of a Blessing: 6 Tips to Enjoying Leftovers

This post is about leftovers :) I titled it Making the Best of a Blessing because that is what leftover food is.....a blessing.

But, we don't always view them this way. My family has been on a tight budget since we have transitioned to a one income household. The greatest contribution I make to our financial health is to make sure that we are eating at home and enjoying it :) On July 1st of this year, My husband and I committed to abstain from eating out. In addition to that we also committed to throwing away as little food as possible (which means more nights than not, we are eating left overs). I knew from previous times we made this commitment, that in order for it to work, we had to look forward to our meals at home. 

I am not always successful at creating a meal we look forward too :), but I have found a couple of tricks that help to keep meal time a fresh experience (even if you are eating the same thing 3 days in a row).

1. [Take it Outside] We brushed off our much neglected outdoor furniture and take our leftovers out into the evening air. This change of scenery does wonders for making the second time around better than the first.

2. [Cook a New Side Dish] Often if I have a large main course that will last multiple days, I will purchase a couple different vegetables that I will cook fresh each night to spruce up the plate.

3. [Dessert] - I don't cook dessert very often, but when I do, I try to present it on a night we are having leftovers.  My family tends to not worry so much about what is on their dinner plate, if they know they have something sweet coming their way afterwards.

4. [Dinner for Lunch] - Sometimes we have leftovers for lunch (especially on Sundays) and then a lighter meal for dinner. Leftovers some how seem more substantial when they are served as a lunch. 

5. [Make Breakfast Special] - We have had chili the past two nights and I know we are set to have them again tonight. I am already thinking of reasons of why we 'should' go out :) Instead, I cook a hearty breakfast that morning. I have found that preparing a hot breakfast (i.e. muffins or waffles) helps to take our food focus off of dinner and onto another meal.

6. [Meaningful Fellowship] - We try to eat together as a family every night. Some nights, Josh and I look at each other worn out at the effort it takes to get to small children to sit down to a meal, eat and behave :) But a lot of nights, our interaction with the kids is priceless. When rich fellowship accompanies a meal, the food is the vehicle rather than the focus. Ruth Simons wrote a beautiful post about this topic here.

Are there any tricks you use to 'spruce up' extra food? I would love to know.

I hope that with this list, you can enjoy your leftovers (the blessing in disguise :)

Thanks for reading.

This post is part of my Diary.

- brook.


  1. Those are some great suggestions! I have a recipe called "Chili Con Cupcake" from a Family Fun magazine that I would think you could use on your leftover chili. Basically you put your chili in a little muffin/cupcake tin and bake it in the oven for 20 minutes, then put some cheese on top, bake for 10 more minutes. The concept is to make chili fun by it then being cupcake size. I know some people freeze leftovers and then eat them later. I am going to try that with some lasagna. You know I like a deal and so when we go out we normally go to a special deal night at a restaurant. On Mondays and Tuesdays, Logans offers two full meals for $15, or for $20 you can get an app, 2 meals & a dessert. Plus their kids meals are cheaper on those nights too. You can not make 2 portions of steak or fish, salad, a side, 1 app & 1 desert for $20 at home. - Joney

  2. Joney!!! Welcome to Mama Bee No E! and thanks for all of those good ideas. I am definitely trying the Chili Con Cupcake.

  3. My friend, Beth, posted this idea to the Mama Bee No E facebook page. I thought I would include it here as well :)

    "You can turn pretty much any leftover meat into a soft taco!!"

    I love this...cause I could eat Mexican three nights a week....

  4. I love these ideas! Leftovers can be a mom's best friend. I have a huge pot of soup staring at me from the fridge right now :/ I find day two of leftovers to be much easier than day three!!!