Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tightwad Tuesday: Reinventing Leftovers

My husband does not like leftovers but they are a great way to save money in the grocery budget. I love leftovers so this isn't an issue for me but there are only so many times I can eat the same meal over and over again. Instead of being bored with my food, I either freeze individual portions, cook smaller portions, or reinvent the leftovers. Today I'm going to focus on the reinventing aspect by showing you a few recipes I've used lately.

Bananas: My family loves bananas but it is hard to judge how many we will use each week. If I find them starting to go bad, I put them in the freezer to use at another time. A reader informed me you don't even have to peel them, you just pop them in the microwave for 30-45 seconds and they peel easily. I use these to make smoothies for my son (fruit, milk, ice or ice cream, etc - get creative). I also use the bananas in Chocolate Chip Banana Bars and banana bread (my go to recipe comes from the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook). I sometimes make the banana bread into muffins and then I have a quick breakfast or snack that I can take out one at a time.

Ham: Last fall, we had ham at my inlaws. They always send us home with an ice chest full of food (usually items they have bought to spoil our child) and asked us if we wanted the ham hock to take home too. I figured I could find something to use it for so I said yes. My husband isn't a huge ham fan but I love it. Unfortunately, I forgot I stuck it in my freezer until last week. When I found it I immediately started craving ham and beans. I found this wonderful and easy recipe for the crockpot and it made a delicious and cheap meal. A few hours in the crockpot and the ham literally fell off the bone.

Restaurant leftovers: My parents took us out to dinner last week and my husband brought home leftover sausage. I had a feeling he wouldn't eat it and he didn't so I turned it into a new meal. I found a great recipe on the back of a box of scalloped potatoes that uses sausage. It was easy and didn't cost me anything since I had all of the ingredients on hand.

Soup: I keep a bag or bowl in my freezer for random leftover bits and pieces. Veggies or meat usually go in there. Once it gets full, I turn the leftovers in to soup. Just add broth and seasoning as needed and you have a wonderful and unique soup. I love doing this because no two soups are alike.

What are some ways that you reinvent leftovers? Feel free to share as I'm always looking for new ideas and I'm sure my readers would love to hear them too.


arcanabtn said...

Thanks so much for the banana bars recipe. I was looking for this very recipe a few days ago. Luckily my bananas were still salvagable. I added butterscotch ships, I think I'm going to try peanut butter chips also. PS. I also sprinkled oatmeal on the top for more fiber and used 1/2 white 1/2 wheat flour.

Thanks again!

Kendall @ Kendall's Entertaining Life said...

Just found your blog via the blog party! I totally relate to living on less and just added your blog to google reader! I can't wait to browse through the archives :)

Julie said...

I've never thought of using peanut butter chips but I might try that some time.

Kendall - thanks for checking out my blog and adding me to your reader. I'm having a blast meeting everyone through the party!

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