With the cost of food items so high these days, food expenditures take a major chunk out of the budget of most households. So it can really pay off to learn what to do with leftover food so that your investment isn’t wasted. Here are 5 innovative things to do with leftover food that can really help you get the most for your money:
(1) Donate it to your local food bank or soup kitchen. If the amount of left-overs you have came from a catered party, there are many local organizations and churches dedicated to feeding the hungry in the community who welcome donations of food. Just be certain that the food has been consistently kept at the proper temperature, whether hot or cold, to prevent any liability from food poisoning and make sure that all portions are sealed and well wrapped in foil, plastic wrap or plastic tubs. Plan ahead and check on the day of the party to see if there is a non-profit organization interested in receiving your party food left-overs.
(2) Re-heat for your next meal. You can save the money you were going to spend for lunch tomorrow by making a turkey sandwich out of that left-over roasted turkey or by reheating that portion of pasta primavera that wasn’t consumed at last night’s supper. Invest in good quality resealable and microwaveable containers to hold food left-overs in the refrigerator, mark the date on each container and then commit to using them within 24 hours as a substitute for a freshly made meal.
(3) Freeze them. Certain fresh fruits and vegetables such as corn, beans and berries can be placed into freezer-safe plastic pouches and frozen to use within the next 30 to 45 days. Cooked chicken and other meats freeze well, as do pasta and rice dishes.
(4) Keep kids busy with a food art project. You already know how children love to play with their food, but with left-overs, you can give them permission to really get creative. Put out an array of food colorings and paint brushes and let them paint orange potatoes or purple chicken breast. Use cookie cutters to cut out unusual shapes and sizes from left-over breads. Award a prize for the best left-over food art project but don’t consume the prize winner because after being handled so extensively, your left-overs will be ready for the garbage bin.
(5) Add them to fortify other dishes. Left-over cheese and vegetable chunks can help turn a simple egg into a fancy brunch omelette. Add left-over corn to your can of clam chowder for more taste and better color, or toss left-over pieces of fruit into gelatin to create a delicious dessert.
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