I’m a big fan of leftovers, any potential food waste that I can save and re-purpose the next day is a big win for me. I hate throwing away perfectly good food, aside from the obvious, it feels to me just like throwing away money. Just as if I were to take a $5 note from my purse and throw it directly into the bin, it feels the same as I throw away a potion of leftover curry or a bowl of rice that wasn’t eaten in time.
Any time I can re-purpose leftovers I will. Once my partner and I had a takeaway curry to share (with rice). We’d finished all the meat and rice but there was plenty of curry sauce left, so, the following day we purchased some chicken and added it to the curry sauce and cooked some more rice. As a result, there was no need the throw out that perfectly good (and delicious) curry sauce. It was definitely cheaper to do this that to buy the ingredients for a full meal from scratch as the only thing we bought was a single piece of chicken.
Just the other day my mum was going to throw away a bowl of pasta from her fridge. My parents had cooked too much pasta and there was no sauce left. I instructed her on how to make a simple olive oil based sauce from all the ingredients (garlic, bacon, tomato, salt, parsley) they already had in the fridge and the garden which meant she was able to use the pasta to make herself a meal rather than throwing it away.
Onto my own more recent experience, my partner and I had fish and chips for dinner the other night. I’m sure most of you are aware that fish and chips shops tend to give large portion sizes and as a result I wasn’t (well, never am) able to finish all my chips. In the past these have always been destined for the bin as I’ve always been told that chips are never good the next day. Well, you know what? I put that to the test.
That’s right… I saved my leftover chips and the following day for lunch I put them in the oven along with some frozen fish I had in the freezer. They. Were. Perfect. The leftover chips crisped up nicely in the oven thereby providing for HALF my meal the following day for lunch. This meant I wasn’t using frozen chips from the freezer and they could be preserved for a future meal. I can’t believe how many years I’ve been throwing away leftover chips. Why did I listen to everyone else all these years when everyone else was clearly wrong?? No matter, moving forwards I will be saving my leftover chips for a meal the following day.
If you think about each occasion where you might throw something out, it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. But over time that adds up to a lot of money. Anytime you can salvage something (provided it’s safe to do so) is money in your pocket and not in the bin. This is a great way of keeping food costs down, sometimes it just takes a little bit of creativity and thought prior to lifting the bin lid.
Living better but with less is all about cutting back on excess and waste and focusing in on what’s important. Perhaps using this strategy will mean you are buying less food? Fewer ingredients? More space in your pantry and fridge? More money in your pocket. Seems pretty minimalist and frugal to me, I still can’t believe I haven’t been saving leftover chips before now.
How do you use leftovers to save money and space?
I’m trying to get in the habit of storing leftover meals directly in a container that I can use to reheat them in the next night for dinner. We get a bonus dinner which doesn’t involve any preparation and it’s less dishes to wash
Less washing up is always a win!!
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