Use Up Your Leftovers

Nothing makes me sadder than to find food rotting in the fridge. It makes me feel like a failure. It doesn’t happen too often now–unless it’s something Greg bought for himself and never finished eating–but even then, I’ve found ways to salvage a bad situation.

• Make Soup

• Freeze the leftovers

• Make muffins or bread from bananas, zucchini, apples, and berries

• Pickle onions and cucumbers

• Freeze berries, grapes, and bananas

• Dehydrate produce

• Make smoothies

• Compost old food

• Feed it to the critters

Tilly with home cooking

Tilly, the pig has been especially helpful of late.

Corn chip crumbs? Give it to the pig.

Too many eggs? Pig.

Trimmings from veggies or too-soft fruit?  Pig.

She turns down nothing. And she has a sweet tooth. The day she escaped her pen, we led her back with cookies. She’d go anywhere for a cookie. And I’m pretty sure she’d kill for a brownie. If only I could teach her to hunt and kill scorpions. I’d keep her in brownies forever.

Once she’s gone we’ll have to give the extras to the chickens, but for now half her feed is coming from the garden which is producing wildly. I generally cook the vegetables and whatnot because she likes it better. Greg thinks I’m crazy for cooking for the pig, but it’s no trouble. It’s just one more pot to wash.

Do you get creative with leftovers, or do you quietly throw them in the trash when no one’s looking?


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  1. Marianne

    I have so much envy … “too many eggs”. Lucky! Extra garden veggies… I wish!! Why do I live 2000 miles away? Are you going to raise another pig after she’s gone? They are a mess to butcher, but tasty (yes, we raised and butchered a pig *once* when I was young … after that we stuck to chickens, rabbits and goats).

    • Right now there are an extra four dozen eggs in the fridge. I try to rotate the older ones first, since all the chickens are producing everyday.

      re: 2000 miles
      Come to Texas! We have room. 🙂

      re: pig
      This pig will probably keep us in meat all year. If we do get another pig I might try getting one late next year. It depends on how much meat is still in the freezer.

    • Judy: I know what to feed you if you ever come visit. 🙂

      re: vacuum seal
      I am stingy with my vacuum seal bags. I shouldn’t be but I am. I try to save them for meat/fish. For veggies, I sometimes reuse the plastic bins from ice cream or butter.

    • Marlene: If I had a better memory, I’d stash more in the freezer too, but I’ve been caught with little bags of this or that. I try to use them up that week or keep them in a plastic bin big enough that I won’t ignore it.

    • Linda:
      re: Puppy dogs don’t make bacon.
      No they do not. LOL. Although mine because of their injuries are beginning to look like bacon.

      I do give them carrots and cauliflower when I’m cutting them up though. They love cauliflower.

  2. Leftovers are my lunch the next day and since we only eat one meal a day together at dinner time making a bit extra for me to reheat the next day has been my routine for many many years Maria.

    Good thing is that not married to a picky man so if we have enough for two meals save the leftovers until dinner time the day after it was first cooked.

    Tilly may not know she is being fattened for eating purposes but she does seem to be enjoying the goodies you are giving her anyway.

    • Jackie: That was always my ritual too when I was working. Nowadays though, I have to make sure there are enough leftovers for two otherwise I have to cook a separate meal for Greg–who dislikes leftovers anyway.

      re: Tilly
      If an animal has to die for me, the least I can do is give her some good meals.

  3. Angela Brown

    My daughter and I try our best to keep from tossing leftovers, but cooking just enough for two people can be interesting. Leftovers are difficult to avoid. So I try to take my lunch to work. It helps keep a couple of dollars in my wallet and keep us from tackling the same meal three days in a row.

    • Angela: I’ve gotten better at cooking the right portions, but sometimes extras can’t be helped. The food that’s always extra are things I can’t control as easily, like eggs and produce from the garden. I get what I get–or don’t get.

  4. My worse thing is vegetables. I forget about them or have a change in meal planning and they end up spoiling. Pretty much everything else gets used one way or the other and if son/family are over and there are lots of leftovers, I’ll just send them home with the leftovers they can use for lunch for work, etc.


  5. My daughter’s pet rats are usually the recipients of any veggies or fruit that no one will eat. I also make soup from unwanted veggies I bake overripe bananas into bread (delicious with pecans) and freeze the loaves. I also eat for lunch any leftovers from the previous night’s dinner to save $$$ and prevent waste.

    One thing I try do with my extras is share. One neighbor lady has six kids who love bread, so when I make yeast rolls I give her half. I’ll bake cookies when I know my daughter is going to have friends over, and hand out the extras in bags.

    • Lynn: It makes me wish WE were neighbors! As you know I have the skill but not the finesse for baking. My bread looks pitiful, and angry, and sorry I ever touched it.

      I wish we lived closer so I could learn your technique.

      PS Yeast rolls are my absolute favorite. It’s the only thing I ever came close to making right, but they still looked sad.

        • Lynn:
          re: although you will end up with 2 pans of rolls.
          Go ahead, twist my arm. LOL!

          Do you think they freeze well? If not, I still have neighbors.

          We actually had a neighbor who made the most delicious yeast rolls–and then she moved away. 🙁

          She left all of us with a fabulous gift though. She made each family a quilt. It’s too beautiful to use, so I hang it as art. Someday I’ll bring it down and use it.

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