Double-Duty Meals

 I personally love (most) leftovers. However, some people are not big on eating their reheated meals again. I understand their dislike, though. The good thing about many leftovers (except things like soup and most casseroles) is that you do not just have to eat the same meal. You can reinvent them to make something new and maybe even more delicious. While some may seem obvious and you may be doing them now without thinking, here are some ideas of what your leftovers could become:

  • mashed potatoes = shepherd's pie
  • meatballs & sauce = meatball subs
  • meatloaf = meatloaf sandwiches or "meatballs" for spaghetti 
  • refried beans = "sauce" for pizza, enchiladas
  • fajita filling = topping for pizza (great with above)
  • rice = fried rice or rice pudding
  • cooked vegetables = quiche or soup
  • taco or sloppy joe filling - pasties, taco/sloppy joe cups/muffins *
  • chili = chili cups/muffins*, chili mac, tamale pot pie, pasties, chili cheese fries, taco salad, baked potatoes
  • pasta = frittata
This list is only the beginning**. With a little creativity, those ingredients or meals you have in your fridge can be turned into something completely different. There are times when I cook just the right amount for us and times when I am left with odd bits of meals that I need to somehow throw into another meal or it gets thrown out. And who likes throwing out food? It is a total waste of money! Okay, I have reasoned with myself before that throwing out the leftovers isn't wasting money because I could just pretend it had been eaten since the same amount of uncooked food would be gone regardless. But if you are able to use part of one night's meal in another, then not only are you definitely not wasting money but you are actually saving money since you have to use less food that night.

Reusing leftovers also has a  positive environmental impact because it produces less garbage (from the actual food and the packaging). Less garbage means less having to be transported to landfills and dumps (it also means less trash bags for you, which also saves you money!). Less food waste means that you buy less, which reduces the carbon generated from producing, packaging, and transporting the food. So enjoying your leftovers is Green & Thrifty :)

* You make taco/sloppy joe/chili cups by putting biscuits (homemade of course) in muffin tins, pushing down in the middle, then adding filling before baking. You make taco/sloppy joe/chili muffins by making corn muffins and simply adding some filling in before baking.
**This list doesn't include intentional leftovers from meat like whole turkeys, chickens, etc.

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