Ways to Use Up Leftovers
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4 Ways to Use Up Leftovers

Posted on Friday, April 25th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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What can you do with leftovers? Plenty! Here are some tips to help you safely store and use up your leftovers. Don't waste money by having to throw away food!How long have those leftovers been in your refrigerator? We store leftover food with the best of intentions. Often, those intentions are not followed through on and we end up throwing away food that has gone bad. That’s a waste of money! Here are some ways to use up your leftovers.

Easy Way to Use Up Leftovers

Turn them Into Compost
Certain kinds of leftovers can easily be turned into compost. You can safely toss vegetable waste, fruit scraps, and coffee grounds into your compost bin. This means that the can of black beans that you haven’t finished, and the corn from last night’s dinner, can be composted. Eventually, those leftovers will become fertilizer for your garden.

Freeze Individual Portions
A casserole, or a crockpot full of soup, might be more food than your family can finish off in one night. If you put the leftovers into the refrigerator, they may go bad before someone eats them. A better way to prevent food waste is to freeze individual portions that can be reheated.

This is going to involve some planning ahead. Make a casserole that isn’t for tonight’s dinner. Let it cool. Cut it into individual portions that can fit into sealable freezer bags. Each individual portion can easily be thawed and re-heated later on in the week. Freezing food makes it last longer than if you just put it into the refrigerator.

Plan Meals Ahead of Time
It becomes a lot easier to use up leftovers if you know exactly what you will use them for. The rotisserie chicken you had for dinner still has a lot of food left on it. Cut the remaining chicken into small pieces that can quickly be thrown into a salad or put between bread for a sandwich. Plan to have one of those options for lunch the very next day.

Bread that has gone stale can be turned into French toast or bread pudding. Leftover steak can be cut up and added to a stir fry, with plenty of vegetables, the next day.

Store Leftovers Safely
Improperly stored leftovers can result in food poisoning. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has some excellent food safety tips. Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 days, or frozen for 3 to 4 months. Leftovers should be stored in airtight packaging or sealed containers. Follow the directions on the USDA website to learn how to properly reheat your leftovers.

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.