Friday, February 21, 2014

When Leftovers Morph

When leftovers morph it is a good thing.  Seriously!

Last week I had to veer off course from our planned menu a bit because I had food in the refrigerator that needed to be used up.  Primarily pork sausage and a bowl of black beans.  I would have no problem tossing these things into the freezer for later use but I needed to make spaghetti for Sunday dinner so I was sure the sausage was going to get used.  Vegetarian black bean burritos were calling to me too so I thought "Why not?"

Sunday I put a plastic container of leftover spaghetti sauce from the freezer in my smallest slow cooker.  I added a can of Italian style diced tomatoes and 3/4 of a two cup dish of the leftover sausage.  My slow cooker was FULL.  I put the lid on it and allowed it to cook on low all day.  The house smelled terrific.  Later that day I boiled up a pound of rigatoni, stirred in the sauce from the slow cooker and ended up with leftover sauce.  I also ended up with leftover pasta after supper.  Plus I still had leftover sausage.

Monday I made two pizzas.  One pizza is plenty for the three of us but I decided to make the second one for the girl's lunches to take to school.  They love cold leftover pizza in their lunch.  Who doesn't?!

I used leftover pizza sauce from Friday and made a veggie pizza.  I also used pesto and the leftover sausage to make the other pizza.  Two simple and thrifty pizzas all made from leftovers, except for the dough.

Tuesday I cooked a cup of rice.  I sautéed some leftover onion and bell pepper, then added the black beans.  Then I tossed it in with the rice, some taco seasoning and about a 1/2 cup of tomato sauce leftover from when I made pizza sauce the week prior.  I warmed up flour tortillas and served it along with shredded lettuce, grated cheddar cheese and salsa I already had on hand.

On Sunday I had made a nice salad.  On Monday I added shredded cabbage and a diced Roma tomato to the leftovers and served it again.  On Tuesday I finished the salad for lunch.  Even the salad morphed a couple of times.

Wednesday I reheated the leftover rigatoni and made a fresh salad.  The girls had leftover burrito filling in their lunches.  I just heated it up and put it in their thermoses.  I had a burrito for lunch.

Thursday I took all the leftover pasta sauce, tomato sauce and pizza sauce and combined them with leftover bell pepper, sliced olives and mushrooms.  I added freshly boiled pasta and made a pizza pasta dish.  I put it in a square dish with a lid and popped it in the freezer for a future meal to enjoy later.  After all, one can only enjoy so much pasta in one week I think.  That evening I used the last of the burrito filling to make quesadillas.

After making the pizza pasta I ended up with two cups of leftover boiled pasta.  The leftovers just kept morphing.  I put the pasta into a two cup freezer container and put it in the freezer as well.  Next time I make soup and need some pasta for it all I'll have to do is add it right in.

On Valentine's Day Friday night I was a "good mommy" (fingers crossed) and let my girls have frozen fish fillets and French fries for supper.  It had been a very long time since we'd had that and they were absolutely thrilled.  They kept saying how good it tasted and remarking about how long it had been since they'd had that.  I personally thought it was a little salty.

Saturday we were back to our healthier and more appetizing meals.  I made more rice and used up some bacon, the last of a green onion, some peas & carrots from the freezer, eggs and soy sauce to make a batch of fried rice.  I served it with a salad using up the last of our shredded cabbage, a roma tomato, some lettuce and baby carrots.  I served it with homemade dressing.

So after a week of terrific meals we managed to use up all the leftovers in the refrigerator.  There was absolutely no waste and I put meal away in the freezer as well as the start of another one.

Do you ever do things like that?  How are some ways you use up leftovers and avoid food waste?

You also might enjoy revisiting Use It Up - Leftovers.


  1. You were definitely in the groove with your leftovers!

  2. Hi there! I love our blog- this post was great! I do a lot of leftover morphing too- I call it "disguising" and most of the time no one can tell that it was a meal we already had. I try to wait an extra day to disguise the leftovers so it doesn't feel like we are having the same thing twice in a row. One of my favorite things to do is to make a pot of beef stew- the first time it is served we have it over egg noodles (to stretch the meal out a bit, the noodles are a filler) then I wait two days and whatever is leftover I dump in a couple of pie crusts, top with another pie crust, make a couple slits in the top crusts and bake then until the crusts are done- soooo easy. Sometimes I put a salad or biscuits or sliced fruit the side if I feel like the pies need a compliment. Another thing we do here is have leftover meatloaf sandwiches with a slice of cheese in them. If there is even more meatloaf than that I will crush it up to use in spaghetti sauce. Leftover ham usually goes in breakfast omelets. Leftover chicken/turkey becomes a soup or chicken salad for sandwiches or even enchiladas. I try really hard not to waste. I also try to keep a plastic freezer bag in my freezer for throwing in any leftover veggies from dinner- you know how sometimes there is not too much left (enough to not want to throw it away but not enough for another meal) and when I have a nice size bagful I will take it out of the freezer and use it in a soup or casserole or something. I try and find a use for everything! :) Thanks again for your blog- I really do enjoy it!

    1. These are wonderful ideas! I think you and I are kindred spirits. I keep a little plastic container with a lid for all my leftover bits of veggies for soup too! I hate to waste food and I feel really good when I get to the end of the week with no waste. So glad you enjoy the blog.


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