Friday, February 4, 2011


If you're trying to shrink your grocery budget, consider how many leftovers you are throwing away.  I read one time that Americans throw away 14% of the food they purchase at the grocery store!  This was astounding to me.  I knew we threw away some things, but after reading this statistic I committed to do better at re-inventing our leftovers so we would use them before they were bad.  The other thing I often do is freeze the leftovers to pull out in a couple of weeks when they can seem new again.  Sometimes I make a large batch on purpose of certain dishes because I know they freeze well and I want to save me some work in the future.

Here are some ideas -

Meal 1: Serve sloppy joes
Meal 2: Make a Shepherds Pie with sloppy joe meat on the bottom, then a layer of green beans, then a layer of mashed potatoes, and finally a layer of grated cheese

Meal 1:  Roast a whole chicken
Meal 2: Boil the carcass to make a delicious chicken soup broth, strain the broth and then add egg noodles, leftover chicken, and a few vegetables to it - Simmer until done
Meal 3:  If you have enough chicken left, make chicken tacos

Meal 1: Serve spaghetti
Meal 2:  With the leftovers, make a spaghetti pie to put in the freezer for another dinner later

Meal 1:  Serve chili
Meal2:  Serve chili mac & cheese or chili dogs
Meal 3:  Make tamale casserole and freeze for later

Meal 1:  Serve burritos
Meal 2:  Layer up the ingredients to make a Mexican lasagna and freeze for later

With a little creativity, you can come up with a new way to serve the same thing.  It doesn't ever hurt to have a leftover day either.  We call these meals "choose your own adventure dinners."  Commit to making your food dollar stretch just a little further by using it up instead of throwing it out.


  1. Great ideas, Tammy. I am loving reading through your blog. Good work! And hello from the Hormans! Hope you are all well. We call our leftover night CORN--Clean Out Refrigerator Night. The kids ask, "What's for dinner?" I simply say, "Corn." And they know what it means.