We cleaned our fridge out over the weekend and let’s just say that our trash had to be taken out very quickly because it was so full. I know I am not alone in throwing out leftovers more than I should. It’s such a waste in food and money. Not only do you save from using bought food for another meal, you make your dollar stretch even more from the other meal.
But maybe you are like me and are kind of leery after food has sat around for a while. Here’s a great guide to knowing how long your leftovers are good for and some other tips to help those leftovers get eaten.
1. Baked dishes, soups, and stews. If they don’t have meat in them they can last up to a week. If you did put meat in them eat within 5 days and you are good to go!
2. Vegetables and legumes will last longer than dairy and eggs.
3. Don’t dress your salads. If you put dressing on your salads they will be mushy quickly, so keep the dressing off and your salad should stay nice and fresh for up to a week if in an airtight container.
4. Freeze your leftovers. Soooooo many leftovers are perfectly fine frozen. Don’t feel like eating them tomorrow? That’s ok, because freezing them gives you the option to eat it a couple of weeks later. It’s also beneficial to make extra every time just so you can freeze extra meals for later on.
5 . Give them to a friend. We seriously have a family that is very close to us and they just hate cooking. I love it, so we cook a lot. Our friends tend to go out a lot. So instead of throwing out our leftovers, I give them to their family and she cleans my house. Seems like a good trade huh?
I think there are two main reasons people go out to eat. One because they don’t feel like cooking, the other is because the food is just better than what you can cook. I LOVE Chili’s. I love most all of their food and their chicken strips are especially awesome. They aren’t healthy by far, but they are amazing. I’ve searched high and low for a copycat recipes since we don’t have a Chili’s anywhere near us. After a few recipes, I FOUND it!
I would venture to say this is probably the exact recipe they use. It’s incredible. Couple it with this copycat honey mustard recipe and you’ve got a Chili’s night at your home for a fraction of the cost of eating out.
What You Need
4-5 Chicken breasts cut into strips
Self rising flour
3/4 cup Chicken broth
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 corn starch
All purpose flour
Oil for deep frying
What Do To
1. Preheat oil in a fryer to 350 degrees.
2. Beat egg with milk, chicken broth and salt.
3. Add corn starch and self rising flour and mix well.
4. Put enough all purpose flour in a bowl to be able to coat chicken strips.
5. Coat strips in flour and then put into batter.
6. Gently place chicken into frier one piece at a time.
7. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown.
8. Drain on paper towels.
Serve with the best honey mustard EVER. It’s just like what they serve at the restaurant!
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
An awesome Thrifty Diva tip for saving money on groceries is cooking with what you have. I seriously implore you to get creative and just try mixing some things together even if you don’t have a recipe. Think about the things you like in recipes and experiment. You may come up with something like I did last night. I have tons of groceries, but absolutely no plan for them. So to make the most of what I have, I played around and came up with this concoction and it was a HUGE family hit.
I couldn’t even get a picture of it before my family dug into it. It’s incredible and if I have these ingredients on hand, you might too! I was hoping this would turn out so I could share it with you guys. And let me know if you have a name for it. Awesome potatoes seems a little unoriginal 😉
What You Need
5-6 potatoes peeled, washed and sliced to about 1/4 inch rounds
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 package of ranch mix
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 cups of shredded cheddar (I used sharp)
1 small onion chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
What to do
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl.
3. Pour into large baking dish.
4. Bake for one hour or until tender.
It’s been a while since we’ve meal planned which is unlike us, but we are back at it. We are desperately trying to use as much in our fridge as possible. We’ve seen a lot of waste from our fridge and want to reduce that by just cooking whatever we have on hand. It’s pretty satisfying to cook the food you have in your fridge and not have to throw it away.
Bacon Wrapped Dates-This is my newest obsession and it’s ridiculously easy to make. I love them so much, I am making them into our dinner. These are super easy and inexpensive. Serve them with a good salad and you’ve got yourself a meal! Here’s the recipe I use.
Taco Tuesday-Need I say more? Actually if you haven’t tried the salsa I made last week, Tuesday is the day to make it and have a party in your mouth!
Pulled Pork Sandwiches with coleslaw. This is our go to meal when we are busy. Throw a pork roast in a crockpot for 6-8 hours, stress and throw in the BBQ sauce and let cook a little longer. Then serve with or on some fresh coleslaw. Our kids LOVE it too!
Homemade Pizza. We got a pre-made crust and already had all the toppings so this meal cost us an extra $3. So nice that we already had everything else. We are pretty simple and just use pepperoni, mushrooms and olives with our cheese. Then bake and it’s done! It’s awesome! And yet again, another kid pleaser.
Dip Friday. I am a sucker for dips and since we have a lot of veggies and cheeses in our fridge, we thought we’d just do dips and whatever we have around. I found THIS recipe on Pinterest for roasted brussel sprouts with a garlic aioli and my life has been changed. And HERE’s a yummy nacho cheese sauce that we are going to dip fried chicken strips in that we have in the freezer.
Total groceries we had to buy this week? $10! We already had everything else in the kitchen!
Whether you were rooting for the Ravens or the 49ers, the game is over and your guests have (hopefully) gone home. But are you stuck with a lot of leftovers? Here are some practical uses for some common Superbowl food.
1. Artichoke dip pasta. Just in case any of this made it out uneaten, it’s amazing cooked in pasta. Cook fettuccine noodles like normal, then drain. Put back into the pan and stir in leftover dip. You’ll have to adjust according to how much dip was left, but this is amazing!
2. Freeze/cut up your veggies. There is no need to throw away the vegetables from your veggie trays. Use them in recipes that call for cut up veggies. Throw your carrots into a pot roast or cut up your celery and throw it in your freezer. There aren’t many veggies from those trays that won’t translate into another recipe.
3. French toast from rolls! We always have rolls leftover from parties. We love to buy them for little sandwiches, but we always have too much. In addition to more sandwiches the next day, those rolls make amazing french toast.
4. Lunch meats. If you have leftovers lunch meats for sandwiches or whatever, they are great for chopping up into omelets.
5. Donate it! There are so many charities and places that need food. Call and see if you can bring some properly stored leftovers. They would most likely love it!
Some things you shouldn’t keep or reuse are items that were left out for a long time with mayo or sour cream in them.
My husband is obsessed with ham lately. I am not a big fan, but I am a big fan of how many meals I get out of one ham! The one we got was HUGE so it will go far. Here is what I have so far.
1. Ham with macaroni and cheese. It doesn’t get much more basic than this, but the first day I just make a regular ham. But I put mine in the crockpot so it’s less work for me.
2. Split pea soup. Is there honestly a better thing to do with a hambone? I think not. It’s super easy to make and again, I just throw it all in the crock pot and forget it until it’s time to eat. HERE is the recipe I use.
3. Potato soup. THIS recipe will change your life. It’s the BEST potato soup of all time. This one doesn’t call for meat, but I throw in ham or bacon and it’s wonderful. It also is in the crockpot which makes it easy on me. Are you seeing a theme here?
4. Ham and cheese omelets. These are great to use your leftovers for breakfast. We don’t eat a lot of meat for breakfast so this is a great way to mix it up. You can also try a breakfast casserole too!
5. Sandwiches! If you happen to have any leftovers, just make sandwiches. I really think this may be my husband’s true reason for wanting ham. And honestly it doesn’t get much easier.
What do you do with your leftover ham?
I am constantly saying, “make, don’t buy.” But in almost all instances it’s cheaper to buy a rotisserie chicken then to even make your own. Our Costco has them for $4.99 a piece. That is a seriously cheap piece of meat! Most other stores I’ve seen that carry rotisserie chickens don’t cost much more than that. When I bought mine a few days ago, I challenged myself to get as many meals out of it as possible and as of tonight, I got 3! For a family of 4, I am impressed! Aren’t you?
Here’s what I did.
Rotisserie chicken in pieces served with peas and mashed potatoes.
Approximate cost was $3.69 for the WHOLE meal!
Chicken salad on dinner rolls.
I make mine with mayonaise, purple grapes and walnuts. I keep it very simple and if you don’t have these things in your house just improvise.
Approximate cost was $3.66. I didn’t buy a thing for this those. It was all stuff I had on hand.
Chicken noodle soup (or something like it)
By this time, I didn’t have a lot of meat left, but there was still some left! I actually put the chicken “carcass” in the crockpot, covered it half way with water and 2 cans of chicken broth. I also added chopped celery, onion (both yellow and green), carrots, a bay leaf and couple of minced garlic cloves. Then I added a little salt and pepper to taste. I let it cook for about 6 hours. Then I took the carcass out and got more of the chicken off of it and threw the bones away. I chopped up some raw spaghetti noodles very roughly and threw them in the crock pot. I let it cook until the noodles were soft and DONE! It was awesome!
Approximate cost was only $2.25!
What do you do with rotisserie chicken!?
I remember when I was younger, probably around 10, I drank chunky milk. I probably didn’t even know about expiration dates, but that changed that day. However, in my attempt to avoid all chunky milk, I went a little overboard and now I throw away more food than I should. Expiration dates aren’t the be all, end all. Some food lasts way longer than the dates that are stamped on them. Here are just a few commonly used foods and when they really shouldn’t be eaten.
1. Fresh eggs-You can eat these jewels 3-4 weeks after their stamped expiration date.
2. Milk-all opened milk last 5-7 days past the printed date.
3. Bread-the kind you buy pre-packaged in the store lasts 5-7 days past it’s expiration. In the freezer though, it lasts up to 6 months.
4. White rice-uncooked white rice lasts 4-5 years in your pantry. If it’s cooked though, it’s best you eat within 5-7 days.
5. White potatoes-These last longer in the fridge than the pantry. In the fridge they are good for 4-5 months and in pantry only 3-5 weeks. Sweet potatoes have a slightly shorter shelf life.
For an exhausted list of foods and when you should eat them by, go HERE. Remember waste not, want not!