Planning 101 Series
I love leftovers. Well, I love yummy leftovers.
One of my favorite ways to save time in the kitchen is to cook double batches of food – more than my family will eat in one sitting – and save the leftovers for later in the week.
There are so many benefits of using leftovers. Not only are you preventing food from going to waste, but you’re also ensuring that you have healthy meals ready to go on busy nights. This is also a great way to save money. When you’re utilizing leftovers, you will naturally spend less money on groceries.
But, when you plan for leftovers you’re really doing double duty in the kitchen!
How to Plan for Leftovers
Leftovers can be a busy mom’s best friend. You can transform leftovers into new meals, which allows you to have a healthy dinner with very little effort. Let’s take a closer look at how to plan for leftovers and what the benefits are.
Make It Part of Your Meal Plan
When you sit down to create your meal plan for the week, incorporate meals that will utilize leftovers. For example, one night you may plan that you’re will pull a meal from the freezer. On another night, you may plan a meal that will utilize leftovers from the previous night. Start by trying to utilize leftovers once a week and then go from there. Once you see how easy it can be, you’ll be adding more leftover meals to your meal plan.
Also, when making your meal plan, you will want to think about how you can transform one dish into another one. Transforming leftovers is the key to creating meals your family will love while also saving time in the kitchen.
For example, if you’re making vegetarian chili the first night, use the leftovers to create chili mac. If you’re making Mexican rice and refried beans the first night, roll the leftovers inside tortillas for burritos. Add a few extra ingredients and you’ve got a tasty meal you’re family will love.
Start with Larger Meals
The easiest way to plan for leftovers is to make larger meals than your family will eat. This ensures that you have leftovers for the next day – or later in the week. Don’t worry that the food will go to waste! When you plan your menu for the week, plan for leftovers and then you’ll be sure to use them up – and you’re family won’t know the difference!
Freeze Meals for Later
Another great tip is to make a double batch of a recipe and then freeze the second batch. Some meals freeze better than others. However, soups, chili, stews, and some casseroles freeze beautifully. You can make a large dish the first night and then portion the meal into smaller dishes and freeze. These meals are perfect for those nights that you’re really busy.
For instance, if you are making enchiladas, go ahead and make a second casserole dish of the enchiladas and freeze the second dish to bake on another night. This is often called batch cooking and it’s a real time saver!
I know most of us could use a little time in our day – planning for leftovers is one way to find that time!