Loco for Leftovers

People often e-mail to ask how they can reduce their household food waste. One of the easiest ways is to save leftovers. Now, this only cuts waste if you actually eat those leftovers.

leftover potatoes by sweet mustache (via Flickr) I love leftovers, especially as the next day’s lunch, but many folks don’t. For you non-leftover lovers, ensuring that they’re consumed means planning a leftover meal.

It’s easy, all you have to is: nothing. Don’t buy food for that night or plan another meal. And don’t give in to complaints. Making it work may require some repurposing (i.e. throwing everything into a fritatta) or a little spin. For advice on how to do so, this useful column has an idea–give it a sassy name:

I learned years ago that I could create a complete dinner for my family one night a week using one to two servings of previous meals. Family members might eat different entrees, or we might each have a little of all the entrees. The key is to use every bit of the groceries you purchase. When my children were younger, I would call it “crazy dinner,” and they thought that was fun.

I would suggest “Loco Leftovers,” but some prefer a “smorgasbord.” Go with your gut here. Just remember this talking point: Leftover night rocks because instead of eating one boring ol’ main course, you can have a bit of three.

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  1. Posted May 7, 2008 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Ah yes…this is what I’m trying really hard to do! I had a happy success with some muffins this morning though, and I posted about it on my blog.

  2. Posted May 8, 2008 at 5:07 am | Permalink

    I’m also a fan of leftovers. On an unrelated (well actually, not really) point, wanted to mention a new food waste report from WRAP in the UK. It’s ridiculously detailed…
    I did a quick summary here and it’s available to download from the WRAP website.

  3. Posted May 8, 2008 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    I am sorry but how is this possible??? I can’t believe that there are people out there that do not like leftovers! I don’t know why, and someone tell me if I’m alone on this one, but allot of meals are better the next day then they were the first! I don’t know why? Anyone else feel this way, say like when having left overs from thanksgiving? Way better the next day!

  4. Emily
    Posted May 8, 2008 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    @Paul – I know, it’s kind of nuts, isn’t it? But it’s just depends on what you’re used to. I think lots of people are raised thinking of leftovers as ‘unwanted’ and therefore unappealing.

  5. Posted May 9, 2008 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    We love left-overs around here! I have a “fend-for-yourself” night at least once a week sometimes 2 or 3 times each week in which we eat left-overs, fruit on the verge of spoiling, end-pieces of the bread, cheese hunks etc…
    Doesn’t waste food and is EASY on this mom!
    Thanks for the comment over at my blog! Looking forward to your book!

  6. Posted May 9, 2008 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    I don’t get the ‘I don’t like leftovers’ sentiment, either, but it’s out there. I’ve heard it with my my own two ears.

    I can understand not wanting to eat week-old leftovers…but not day-old stuff.

  7. Bob
    Posted May 18, 2008 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Congress and the food industry (with great largess from the fossil fuel industry) in their benevolent wisdom have given us a cornucopia. Why do you want to save anything?

  8. amanda
    Posted May 19, 2008 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    my mom used to call it “must-go” night… when i was little, i always though she was saying “musco.”

  9. Posted May 19, 2008 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    I like “must-go” night. Like your fridge is having a big sale–and it is!

    Musco is kind of like an eggcorn.

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