Leftover = Treasure

I know of people who don’t eat leftovers; they routinely discard any food not eaten after the meal. To me, that’s a tremendous waste. So many people don’t have enough to eat, throwing away food feels irresponsible. I can see discarding food that won’t keep, that will go bad. If its going to make someone sick, throw it away, or better yet compost it so at least the nutrients will be reused.

At my house, leftovers are treasure. As a two person household, its fairly routine that we don’t eat all that is cooked the first time. What is done with the remainder can vary a great deal. It can be reused in its original form, stored briefly in the refrigerator or longer in the freezer. Other times, the leftovers may morph into quite a different meal. Over the years, I’ve gotten pretty good at cooking with leftovers in mind.

Salmon is an example. The first night, we eat baked or grilled salmon. If there’s quite a bit left, then it may be frozen for a later use combined with onion, celery, potato and a bit of smoked salmon as salmon hash. The leftover hash may then appear at breakfast with a poached egg. If there isn’t much left of the original piece, it will probably appear in someone’s lunch as salmon salad.

I made pizza for New Year’s Eve. I had a small leftover piece for lunch the next day, and the remainder will be reheated for tonight’s dinner. Last night, I made gingerbread. After baking, the square was divided into 4 pieces. We shared part of one piece for dessert, and the other 3 pieces are wrapped and frozen for later use.

Our Thanksgiving turkey is still in use. Thanksgiving night, we ate part of 1 half breast. The rest of that half lived in the fridge and was featured a few ways, as reheated slices, in turkey sandwiches, and as meat in soup. Both hindquarters and the other half breast were frozen. The other bits (wings and neck primarily) were used to make 3 or 4 quarts of soup. In the 5 weeks since thanksgiving, I’ve made turkey in adobo for use in tacos, we’ve had more sandwiches and sliced turkey, and there’s still a hindquarter in the freezer. It may go for turkey pot pie, or more tacos, we shall see.

As you might imagine from the above, I do enjoy cooking (and eating). And some days, its really nice to have something that will take very little work to have a tasty meal. Its not at all uncommon as we look at an upcoming week, my work schedule, and the contents of the refrigerator and freezer to assign a leftover or freezer stored container of soup to dinner on a day in which I will get home close to dinner time. To me, its a great treat to have good stuff ready to go. Go Leftovers!

9 thoughts on “Leftover = Treasure

  1. You make a great point that it is our responsibility not to waste food. I am very thankful that I never have to go to bed hungry. I do not love cooking, but I do love leftovers for that very reason. I love a meal I can eat over two days or freeze for a day when I really do not feel like cooking! I now have a freezer full of left over turkey meat for casseroles, sandwiches etc., and turkey soup for a rainy day.

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  2. I am very happy when I cook enough for two dinners because then I get a night off. I love quiche (when I can get decent cheese) and one of the best parts of that is freezing individual pieces for those nights when 1) nothing sounds good and 2) I don’t want to cook. I started cooking at 7 and at 36 or so I realized I’d already had a long career as a cook. I kind of retired. 🙂

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    1. It is a treat to have something ready to go. I’m cooking more now that I am working less, and the pandemic increased my cooking and adventures with different foods. I do enjoy finding different tastes and spice combinations.

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    1. I imagine it works very nicely for him. Our previous cats were very fond of certain things we ate, most particularly fish, enough so that I would count an ounce or two for each cat. Our current cat doesn’t eat people food, which isn’t a bad thing, just a change.

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  3. We are a two-person household as well and live on leftovers. I was appalled when at my brother’s family for Christmas years ago, I watched as they threw away everything left over from the prime rib, baked potato dinner. My nephew said, “We never touch the leftovers, so why put them in the fridge only to be thrown out later.”

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