What’s the Most Undeservingly, Underappreciated Meal in the House?

I have a long-time friend who has managed some top New York restaurants. He once shared with me one of the keys to staying in business: having the exact amount of needed food inventory on hand at any given time and not wasting product.  Well, we’ve been on our Food Budget Lifestyle for well over a month at this point, and have come to appreciate that this knowledge is equally valuable when running a household!

Cooking each night creates a lot of food.  At first, I was just using the leftovers for lunches because, well, frankly, there’s such a stigma around leftovers for dinner that I didn’t want to re-serve them.  But, why? With the recipes we’ve been cooking, our leftovers are delicious!  Frankly, some nights, when we were too busy to cook, we’ve foregone the recipe plan in favor of leftovers and have been perfectly happy!

With the exception of Thanksgiving, leftovers are the most undeservingly, underappreciated meal.  But I am on a mission to change that! Here are five reasons why this unsung hero of the Food Budget Lifestyle should be celebrated:

  1. Leftovers are easy.  They are already prepared and usually take only a few minutes to pop them in the microwave at the end of a busy day when cooking seems like more effort than we want to expend.
  2. Leftovers can be versatile.  A few weeks ago, we planned our weekly menu around a turkey.  That one turkey led to turkey soup, turkey sandwiches, and an out-of-this-world Turkey-Apple Salad.  Even if your meal was a casserole, something you may not be able to turn into a different recipe, you can still use it as a side dish rather than the main event.
  3. Leftovers are gifts. Think about it – the midnight snack, the TV munchie, the ready-to-go lunch that takes no time to prepare on a rushed morning whey you are trying to get the kids to the bus on time!
  4. Leftovers are money in your pocket.  What could be more financially adept than getting multiple meals out of a dinner you thought you’d only enjoy once?  It’s a bonus for the budget, for sure! Forego a night of a new meal and pocket the difference!

We have decided that, going forward, we are going to aim for only six recipes per week. When we prepare seven meals, we usually end up with too much food and a freezer full of plastic containers of leftovers!

We even chose a day of the week – Wednesday – for “Leftovers Night”.  That is the night my son has his evening dual enrollment class, and I work late.  Why add more mishagosh to the night by trying to squeeze in cooking a meal?  The other bonus is that we are saving even more money. If we spend, on average, $100 a week for meals, and about $35 of that goes towards basics (milk, paper products, eggs) each week, that leaves $65 spent on ingredients for seven recipes. Dividing that by seven days in the week, means we are spending about $9.30 per meal.  Cutting that one meal, should allow us to pocket an extra $37 a month! That should help with gas now that the twins are driving!

Give it a shot – give up one planned meal a week for Leftover Night and email me to let me know how it’s working! You can reach me at cashcrashblog@gmail.com or through my site http://www.cashcrashblog.com.  Be sure to follow me for more amazing tips, recipes, and weekly meal plans designed to slash your grocery bill!

Ka-CHING!

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