You’ve cooked a marvelous dinner, you’ve eaten as much of it as you can, but there are still leftovers to deal with. Either there’s some left on the plate, or some left in the pan or on the oven tray. You’re staring at this food and wondering what on earth you’re going to do with it. Throwing it away is out of the question – food waste is a big issue, and there’s also no need to chuck it out just yet!
Thankfully, there are two main ideas you can try to cut down on food waste and ensure all of your leftovers get eaten:
Reheat the food
The simplest option is to reheat what you’ve made at a later date. Two approaches to this include refrigerating the leftovers or freezing them. Naturally, be sure you can actually freeze what you have leftover from the previous meal. Certain foods can’t be frozen, so keep that in mind. Also, make sure you put the leftovers in airtight containers or ziplock bags.
Generally speaking – and I want to stress this is a generalization – most leftovers are good to reheat for a couple of days after they’re made. That is if you put them in the fridge; if you freeze them, they could be good for up to three months. Again, check to see the correct guidelines depending on the food you’re storing.
When it comes to reheating the food, you have two main options; oven or microwave. The microwave tends to work the best, but you need to know a few things before you do it. Firstly, the food you reheat will react differently based on what it is. Reheating chicken is different from reheating leftover brisket, not to mention things like pasta or rice. Typically, a good approach is to ensure all food is defrosted before reheating and add a splash of water to stop it from drying out. Then, heat until piping hot, stirring midway through. Now, you can enjoy the same meal, but at a later date.
Create a new meal from the leftovers
The second idea is to take your leftovers and make an entirely new meal out of them. This works particularly well when you have things like leftover cooked pasta, leftover chicken/meat, and so on. For example, you might have lots of cooked chicken left from a meal. Here, you could use that chicken and make a curry or some fajita wraps!
It’s a more inventive way of making use of your leftovers, but it works best when you have leftover ingredients from the meal. With meals where you’ve got a portion of food left, reheating it at a later date makes more sense. But, if you have individual elements leftover that can be turned into something else, it’s very enjoyable to create new meals.
Overall, the main thing is to avoid wasting food. The point of this post is that you can still eat your leftovers, no matter which approach you choose. So, next time you’ve made too much food, don’t throw it away!