Managing My Leftovers
Wow. I remember when I had a life. I remember parts of it at least: managing escrow accounts, managing meetings, even managing people. Apparently having children is like a giant life demotion, complete with reduced pay, slashed benefits and limited responsibility.* Because now? Now I'm managing grocery lists and leftovers. Hell, somedays? I'm just managing to stay awake.
But back to the leftovers. That's the real meat of this post. hehehe. No matter how precisely I measure, or how carefully I plan, we always end up with leftovers. Well, not ALWAYS, but often. Often enough that I need a plan to deal with them so they don't end up getting all nasty in the fridge. Well thanks, once again, to Crunchy's NO WASTE challenge, I've put myself to task to devise a solution that will keep us from tossing out that extra food. I've adopted the Reduce ~ Reuse ~ Recycle Mantra for my leftovers.
1. Reduce - Nobody likes to see a half empty plate at suppertime. And I hate the thought of someone leaving the dinner table hungry so what do I do? I make smaller portions of the "main meal" and add more side dishes on the table. Here's the key though - the side dishes need to be something that will last well in the fridge or pantry. Things like applesauce, cheese cubes, baby carrots, baked beans. So now, instead of each of us getting a 6 ounce serving of chicken and a cup of rice, we each get 4 ounces of chicken and 1/2 cup of rice. BUT, we get to add as much (or as little) side dish action as we like. At the end of dinner, the side dishes go back in the fridge where they will patiently wait for tomorrow's return.
2. Reuse - I try to eat up any leftovers the next day for lunch. I don't "food fatigue" as quickly as everone else around here and hey, I'm the eco-dork who decided to go green, so I feel it's my duty anyhow. If there's more than I can eat (or should eat) for lunch then I will wrap it, label it, date it and freeze it. (That's date as in "circa 1959" not date as in "let's go to the movies with the chicken cutlets") To ensure that I don't just forget about it, I write the item down on next month's calendar as part of the menu, along with a note that it's already in the freezer.
3. Recycle - One word: Soup. Friday has become soup day at Casa Burban and whatever appears to be "on its way out" ends up "finding its way in". In to the soup pot, that is. Add a little broth and some spice. Maybe whip up some homemade bread and Voila! A hearty crockpot meal that doubles as a fridge cleaner! BAM!
So there you have it, kiddos. Leftover Management 101. Don't remember taking that in college, do you?
Lots and lots of fuzzy green leftovers.
Difficulty Level: 2 out of 5
I tend to forget to check the fridge first for lunch options. I get my face all fixed for a sandwich and then realize "crap! I'm supposed to eat up this stir fry from last night". It's a crazy rollercoaster of food emotion. But I'm coping.
*Note to angry SAHMs/SAHDs who are devoid of a sense of humor: this is a joke. I understand that raising my children is life's biggest responsibility and I actually do enjoy it (most of the time). Stop sending me hate mail and let it go already.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Managing My Leftovers