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Organizing Leftovers

Keeping your leftovers organized is the best way to make you don't lose track of something in the back of the refrigerator. Don't let your leftovers go bad and waste all that good food. This is a page about organizing leftovers.


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March 5, 20071 found this helpful

Tips from our readers for organizing leftovers and ways to use them. Post your own below.

Put Oldest Leftovers At The Front

It is possible to use every bit of leftovers in a different way so there is no waste. Put leftovers in the front of the shelves all the time. If you have a second day of leftovers, place them in back of yesterday's leftovers. You may now have enough to make a chef's salad or a stew. Make your best effort to use the leftovers in a tasty way over the following day or two. You will save a lot of money on groceries and use your imagination at the same time. They are not leftovers anymore, they are "ready to go overs".

By Bev Sobkowich

Clearly Mark Containers

I use microwave safe covered containers to store leftovers in the fridge. I put a piece of masking tape on the lid and write what it is and when I put it in the fridge with a sharpie marker. It helps my husband to see if there is anything in the leftover dishes that he can have for lunch. And I can determine when it is time to remove anything that has not been used in a timely manner.

By Harlean from Arkansas

Freezer Containers For Soups

I keep 2 gallon containers in my freezer. One I use for any leftovers; veggies, broth, meat, soup, pasta, chopped up leftover baked potatoes. I literally put everything in there whether it's a teaspoon or cup. When it's full, I make soup. I dump the frozen stuff into a soup pot, add equal parts of tomatoes and water to cover the food, simmer for an hour and let the flavors mix. Leftover soup can be frozen in quart bags.

The second container is for chicken soup. I only add leftover chicken, chicken broth and veggies that you normally would find in chicken soup (carrots, peas, etc). When it's full, I put the frozen stuff in my soup pot and cover it with water and add 1 chicken bouillon cube for each quart of water. Simmer for an hour. Each batch is different because your leftovers are different.

By CurvedBar

Clean an empty container and place in your freezer door. Each night, add that spoonful of left over veggies you would have thrown out. When the container is full, make delicious vegetable soup. Just add meat, stock, and tomato (optional).

By JoAn

Tidbits and Forgotten Foods

We're all thrifty when it comes to leftovers. We know how to make those left over mashed potatoes into Shepherd's Pie, we know how to make potpie out of left over meats.

What about those tidbits of leftovers? You know, just a spoonful? What about the other half of the onion that you didn't need or those forgotten tomatoes that aren't really bad but just too soft for salad? This is what I do: I keep a zip lock freezer bag in my freezer marked soup veggies. Each night when I clean the kitchen, I throw that spoonful of green beans, corn or left over rice in that bag (whatever I think will be good in soup). I have a separate freezer bag for meats, like the last piece of roast, meatloaf or chicken. When I want to make soup quick and easy, I open a can of beef broth and add my left over meats and veggies. Let it simmer for as little or as long as I have time for. And my family has a wonderful pot of soup. I even have a freezer bag for beef broth. (I especially like the broth that cooks out of meat in the crock-pot.) This is a quick, easy and basically free meal. You can do the same thing with fruit; it makes a wonderful addition to ice cream. Just peel it, slice it and add a little bit of lemon juice and freeze it.

By Karen in Florida

Warning About Refreezing

Just be careful about freezing food that has already been frozen before; such as freezing any leftover soup made from the frozen leftovers. Food is not supposed to be frozen and reheated more than once. Also, I usually cook roast chicken from a previously frozen bird, so I wouldn't want to refreeze any leftover bits. Otherwise, I think this is a brilliant idea and will be saving my next empty ice cream box to freeze my leftovers!

By Astrid

Pick Out Night For Leftovers

I have made soup the same way, but I also did something a little different that the kids loved. I would save those very small bits each in a piece of foil and I would save some bigger leftovers the same way. Once a week we had pick out night. We warmed up all the foil pieces and you could pick out whatever you wanted to eat. It didn't matter if you had potatoes and pasta both or two meats. No rules-just please yourself. The kids thought it was more fun than a regular meal and something about picking out what they wanted went over so well, that there were never any leftovers after that meal. My son tried to get his wife to do that, but she just doesn't get it.

By Jeane in Texas

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By 1 found this helpful
July 6, 2007

I was cleaning out the refrigerator yesterday and had to throw out several containers of leftovers because they had spoiled. While doing that task, I was on the telephone talking with a friend. Her solution for storing leftovers is one I am beginning today. She stores all leftovers in plastic storage bags. I bought the inexpensive ziplock store brands this morning, two different sizes. I have one drawer designated for leftovers.

Now when someone is looking for something to heat up, they know the drawer to look in. This not only saves room on the shelves, but saves items having to be tossed because they were pushed to the back of the refrigerator and forgotten about. The ziplock bags can also be labeled, using a black marker with the contents and the date. By dating the bag, you can also put it in the freezer if you decide not to use it in a timely manner. I know this will be a money saver for our family and yours, too!

By Bobbie G from Rockwall, TX

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December 27, 20104 found this helpful

When I put leftovers in Tupperware containers, I use a wet erase marker to write the contents and date on the lid of the container. It stays on there until I wash the container, then it comes right off.

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By 3 found this helpful
July 6, 2011

I used to hate the hassle of putting the left-overs away after our family get-togethers or reunions. I'd have lots of dishes to wash, dry, and put away, before I could sit and relax afterward. Then, I came up with the brilliant idea of pouring the left-overs in large or small plastic bags.

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November 6, 2014

I came home and almost had a heart attack when I saw that my husband, a teacher, had written all over my precious tupperware with marker. Turns out he's brilliant. He had used one of the dry erase markers he always has in his pocket to write on the containers.

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By 1 found this helpful
June 20, 2012

Making meals for my family usually leaves me with leftovers. I use my stock pile of Cool Whip bowls to keep the leftovers in the fridge. I can also write what's inside on the lid or the side.

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By 1 found this helpful
October 19, 2011

Just take a piece of Scotch tape and a black felt marker and write in large letters what is in the container. You can also mark directly on the baggie, so it makes it easy for them to find what they want to eat.

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By 0 found this helpful
June 6, 2013

When opening food items, I can easily remember what the item is by just tearing or cutting the label off the package. Then I slip the label under the lid of the leftover container that I am going to put the item in and close the lid on the label.

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October 20, 20080 found this helpful

Whenever I travel, I take along an ice chest with 16 oz. bottles of frozen water, so I can save any left-over restaurant food. Many times I can make a meal out of them. Sometimes, I get to refreeze these bottles, when a hotel has a freezer in the room or at someone's house, that we may be visiting.

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