Throwing out leftovers here and there doesn’t seem like much, but it can really add up. Households across the US collectively throw out more than 37 million tons of food each year, filling up landfills and emptying wallets. On average, food waste costs a family of four $1,500 a year — money that could be better spent on the finer things in life.
Thankfully, all you have to do to keep that money in your pocketbook is learn to turn your leftovers into meals for the week. Here are some ideas to help you get started.
There are a million ways to make soup, giving you license to use your leftovers however you see fit. You just have to start with your broth of choice, and then put in leftovers for substance and flavor.
Leftovers that work well for this purpose include:
All cuts of meat, including sausage
Homemade salad dressing
You can even add your leftover mashed cauliflower to thicken your soup into a stew. Since the ingredients are already cooked, your soup, or stew, will take far less time to whip up than normal.
If you want to go one step further, you can use your uncooked meat and vegetable scraps to create the broth for your soup. Simply save all your scraps in a storage bag in the freezer until you are ready to simmer your broth.
Once you are ready, place everything in a tall stock pot and cover with water. Then, simmer on low all day to create your broth. Strain out the meat and veggie scraps, leaving behind a rich, flavorful base for your soup.
Always keep low-carb tortillas on hand, such as those made by Mission, Ole Mexican Food, and La Banderita, to quickly transform leftovers into something completely different. You could rough chop meat and vegetables from the night before, and then add to scrambled eggs to create tasty breakfast burritos. Or make chimichangas by loading up the wraps with your filling of choice and baking at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes.
Also use the low-carb tortillas to make:
Alternatively, you could slice the low carb tortillas thin and fry them in hot oil until crisp to create garnish for your soup.
It’s not your traditional pasta, of course, but there are many low-carb “noodle” options that you can use to deliciously repurpose your leftovers. Both spiralized zucchini and roasted spaghetti squash make excellent pasta substitutes for a variety of sauces. Zucchini also makes a fantastic lasagna noodle substitute when sliced into thin planks. You could also use shirataki noodles but remember to rinse them well before cooking.
Pair your keto noodles with your favorite low carb sauces, such as:
Then, add in your leftover meat and veggies to kick up the flavors and nutrition content of the meal. With this approach, you can stretch your leftovers quite far while loading up on healthy vegetables.
With eggs, you can go beyond breakfast burritos by creating imaginative frittatas. Start with a base of 12 eggs, and then mix in your leftovers of choice, roughly chopped. Pour in an oven safe dish and bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes or until set up. Vary your filling ingredients to keep this dish feeling fresh and new every time you serve it.
When you take the time to use up your leftovers, rather than simply moving onto the next meal, you can save tons of money every year and keep food out of the landfill. You will also give your family a glimpse into just what it takes to run a successful household.