February 28, 2007

Leftover Genius

Being a single income family of six is synonymous with the need for thrift. And, since the grocery budget for 2 adults, 3 growing boys and a dainty daughter can equal something close to a house payment, I’ve found ways to make sure that every scrap of food get’s used in ways that won’t make them gag.

My biggest moment of food genius came in a fit of panic. I opened the fridge to see what leftovers I needed to use up and was faced with 1 chicken breast, ½ cup of green beans, and some tomatoes that needed to be used before they sauced themselves. Surely not enough to pass around to six people, and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to pull of the loaves and fishes thing. But then it came to me. Soup! I chopped and mixed and boiled and spiced, made some rolls and Voila, it turned out to be one of the family’s favorite meals.

So from then on I decided to keep a container in the freezer to catch all the leftovers in. Whenever I have leftovers like veggies, meatballs, pot roast…whatever, I chop it up and put it in the container in the freezer (keeping in mind what tastes good together). When the container is full I thaw it out, add seasonings, broth, and maybe the handful of uncooked pasta that wasn’t enough for a full recipe, and we have hot soup and fresh bread machine rolls for dinner.

I’ve got more compliments from my family on the leftover soups than I did when it was cooked in its original form. And now I keep a couple of containers going in the freezer; one for beef and one for chicken. Plus, I never throw out leftovers that have been sitting in the fridge too long and are now growing hair, because they immediately have a place in the freezer.

So, that’s my brilliant Works For Me Wednesday idea. Go check out Rocks In My Dryer for more great ideas!

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