Saving Small Amounts of Leftovers

Using leftovers can be tricky. The hardest leftovers to use are those in the in-between size. It's too much to add to one's own dinner portion, too much to throw away, yet not enough to make a full-sized meal portion.

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I save them anyway, using in a zip-top baggie or a baby food jar if I don't have a container of the correct size for the portion. I freeze them if the food is freezable, too.

Later, I can take them out and prepare a mini-serving in whatever container makes sense. Soup stays in the baby food jar or tiny Rubbermaid-type container, while a thick spread may be put on a tortilla or lettuce wrap (use a flexible leaf, steamed in the microwave, so it won't break apart when wrapped); anything solid can be put into a baggie or a reusable silicone cupcake mold. (I also make meatloaf in these sometimes, just to have tiny portions.)

Then when it's time to prepare a box lunch for myself or DH, I take out several mini-portions of everything: meatloaf, tortilla, tiny lasagna slice, itty bitty leftover pizza circles that I've cut from a full-sized slice with a biscuit cutter, a teeny portion of salad, one or two fish sticks or chicken nuggets... anything that's small, or can be made small. I fill a bento box (do a net search on 'bento box') halfway with this sort of thing, then fill the empty spaces with grapes, berries, cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, slices of cucumber, and so on.

Tiny, cute food is fun to eat, and you can pack in a lot of good variety and good nutrition if you focus on smaller portions of good foods instead of bigger portions.

By Chayil from USA

March 13, 20090 found this helpful

I don't know why I never thought of this, but it's the tops when it comes to those bits. Now I will save more of those 'bits' because I know they won't fill up the freezer. Lunch is more for snacking for me than dinner is. Thanks.

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March 14, 20090 found this helpful

I use a plastic ice cream bucket and put all leftovers that do NOT contain dairy in it after dinner and stick it in the freezer. When it's full I put it in a stock pot and cover with tomato juice and simmer. Served with crusty bread or cornbread it's really good and it tastes diffetent every time I make it. The boys always say "You can make this anytime!" Little do they know I can't!

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March 14, 20090 found this helpful

I find that especially with picky eaters, or those who would otherwise forget to eat lunch, that it's easier to get them to eat something that's tiny and cute than to get them to eat a whole big serving of one thing that maybe wasn't their favorite.

I also highly recommend using fun-shaped cookie cutters to cut out biscuits, and also to cut slices of cornbread, lasagna, pizza, and so forth. I've been known to use the same star-shaped cutter for a fried egg, lasagna, pizza, even a burger, and piling all the similarly-shaped but differently-flavored foods into a bento box together. The combination of colors and flavors delights my DH.

Also, all the DH's co-workers like to come to my DH's desk to see what cool things I've done to make DH's lunch cute. I'm sure it would have similar effect on a child's classmates.

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March 14, 20090 found this helpful

I keep a 2 cup container in the freezer of my refrigerator and when I have a few vegetables leftover, I put them into the container. When the container is full I have enough mixed vegetables for another meal, as in equal to a can of vegetables! I don't like throwing out a couple tablespoons of food so this is a good way to recycle.

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