The food we all love it. Most of us either make it or order food at our house. That is literally the only two options that we have food-wise. The problem with both of those options is the culmination of extra that takes place.
I’m sure you have found yourself in quite a spot with leftovers piled all around you and no idea as to how to handle the leftovers.
You and 77% of Americans are all in a spot and feel guilty about food wastage. Food wastage in America is estimated to be around 40% of the entire food supply. Just reconcile that with the number of people all over the world who have no access to food. That number was about 11% of the world’s population. Just the sheer numbers should be enough to sway you into leading a less wasteful life.
But I do understand if you still have an issue figuring out how to use leftovers. Before we move into the specifics of how to repurpose leftovers, lets first have a look at how to store the food.
Leftover Storage Techniques
Airtight Containers Are Optimal
Try and store leftovers in airtight containers along with a piece of masking tape with the date mentioned on it. The date will help you determine the urgency with which you need to finish it up.
If you have opened a can, you can package that up as well.
Pay Attention To The Temperature
- If you are in a hurry to store food but it is warm, your best bet is to turn it out in a shallow pan. This will aid in the cooling down process.
- The ideal temperature for a fridge is at around 36-38 degrees. The leading reason for food spoiling in the refrigerator is that they are kept too warm.
- Overfilling the fridge is also detrimental to the food quality as it prevents the cool air from circulating evenly throughout the refrigerator.
- The optimal temperature for heating leftover food is 75 degrees.
- Slow cookers are your enemy when you are reheating food as it is way too slow and gives plenty of time for harmful bacteria to grow.
How to Utilize Your Leftovers
Once you have figured out what to do with leftovers, now let’s see how to turn your leftovers into delectable feasts.
Think Of Leftovers as Ingredients not Dishes
Instead of thinking of food as a whole meal, think of it as an element for your next meal. This philosophy is what changes leftover taco filling into nacho toppings.
Lets now cover some of the most common foods found in our fridges.
The fuel on which college students and drunk people run. Once it makes its way inside the fridge, it’s probably endgame for it. It turns into this soggy, chewy piece of bread.
Not appetizing whatsoever.
So how do you reheat it to perfection?
- Try the frying pan; the pizza will heat evenly and taste better than what it does when you put into the microwave.
- If a microwave is all you have at your disposal, then heat your pizza with a small cup of water for it to retain its crust.
Mac and Cheese
Who doesn’t like Mac & cheese? It has evolved to become an American household staple. So, chances are you have some in your fridge.
What can you possibly do with it?
- Add a can of diced tomatoes and fry them to make Mac and cheese fritters.
- Add in with chicken stock, some chicken and green chilies for a simple soup to get up your insides on a cold winter night.
- If you want to have the Mac and cheese again add some milk before reheating
Chinese takeout is highly revered all over the country. From late-night office meetings to first dates, they are quite a versatile cuisine. If you have some in your fridge, you can infuse some new life into this food.
- Cook an easy egg and let that yolk make your rice creamier.
- Before you reheat your Chinese food, add some water to help retain its moisture.
- For breakfast, you can take the takeout leftovers and toss them in an omelet for a hearty breakfast.
Potatoes (In any form)
These little carb bombs do become a bit sad once you toss them in the fridge. Not to worry, you can transform this food as well.
- If you have some fries, toss them in a processor and fry them for some crunchy hash browns.
- Bacon and cheese can elevate your mashed potatoes.
- If your French fries have gone limp, toss them with some coconut oil in the skillet.
Mexican Do Wraps Right!
Along with fantastic cuisine, Mexicans have introduced us to the all-purpose burrito. You can practically stuff anything in there, but here is what I found worked particularly well.
- If you have some leftover lasagna, just put it in a burrito wrap for an explosion of flavor.
- Orange or sesame chicken can be repurposed to be added to a cheese quesadilla.
- Leftover fajita does wonders for your eggs.
Salvage Your Veggies
If you want to use your leftover veggies, there are a few absolutely ingenious options that can be exercised.
You can whip up a Buddha bowl, all you have to do is get some brown rice or quinoa and top it whatever vegetables you have got.
Additionally, you can also add some protein; it really is everything but the kitchen sink situation.
Fruits = Smoothies
Absolutely any fruit that you have not eaten can be tossed with some milk and made into a smoothie. If you aren’t in the mood for a smoothie, freeze them for the time being.
Leftovers don’t have to be tossed in the trash simply. If you feel like it has gone bad, that is an entirely different situation. But if everything is well and fine, just experiment a bit and save money as well as the planet.