Getting A Handle On “The Leftovers” Dilemma…

We’ve all went to the refrigerator at one time or another looking for something to eat (aka leftovers) only to pull out a dish & discover we had unknowingly started a science experiment.  YUCK!  Not only is the dish in question disgusting, but you feel guilty because it somehow slipped under the radar, was pushed to the back of the refrigerator, forgotten, & ended up being completely wasted.  So, now, you have guilt on top of the being grossed out. 
Here are a few tips to help you get a handle on using up those leftovers & not letting them become the next science experiment.


1. Designate a shelf in the refrigerator just for leftovers.  Immediately after a meal, place the leftovers in a container (preferably glass) & place them on the shelf you previously designated for them.  Make sure everyone in the family knows which shelf this is so that the delicious dishes you prepared get eaten. 
2. Keep a dry erase marker next to your refrigerator and Write The Date (& Contents, if desired) On the Glass Container!  This allows you to see what dishes are nearing their end (usually within 3 to 5 days) & need to be used up quickly or frozen for future use.  AND it wipes off easily, leaving no trace behind. 
3. Have one day a week that you designate CORD, Clean Out Refrigerator Day.  That means, all of the leftovers get pulled out of the refrigerator & everyone fixes their own plates on a first come, first serve basis.  Anything that does not get eaten, gets frozen to await transformation into a new dish.
4. Divide & freeze leftovers into meal-size portions for future lunches.
5. If you can & have leftover beans/soups, can them in pint jars for future lunches! Just remember that anything with rice, milk, or pasta CANNOT be canned. 
6. Keep a container/bag in your freezer where you can place all of your little bits of leftover veggies/meat pieces/sauces (together or separate, your choice) and, once they are full, pull them out & make a delicious soup/casserole with them. 
If you find that you have a lot of leftovers but cannot get anyone to eat them, look at the amount of food that you are fixing & cut back on how much you prepare. 
I hope you find these tips helpful & useful. Even though we homeschool, our school year is always hectic  and sometimes CORD nights save me because I’ve forgotten to either place something in the Crock Pot ™ or thaw it out the night before, and we’re already tired of our quick go-to meals for a while.  If you have anymore helpful tips to help with using up leftovers & keeping food waste down, I’d love to hear from you!  I’m always looking for new ideas!

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