Tuesday, April 20, 2010

WFMW: Pre-pulling 'leftovers'

I do what I call "multi-meal planning," which means that I plan sequential meals that will utilize the same ingredients. For example, on one day I will cook a pot roast, and a couple of days later I'll use the leftover beef for stroganoff or stew (or both). A roast chicken leads to pot pie, soup, or chicken casserole. The problem with planning this way was that sometimes there was not as much leftover meat as I needed to make the other meal(s). Especially if we ate a leisurely dinner, people would have just a little bit more, and just another nibble, until the meat I was counting on was gone.
Here's the thing, people will fill up on whatever is in front of them...they don't necessarily want certain amounts of any particular food, they just want to be filled.
A friend of mine told me that she serves portion sizes up onto all the plates and then puts the leftovers into the fridge before they even begin the meal. It ensures that everyone eats proper portion sizes. I took her idea and adapted it to my multi-meal planning.
Now, when I cook a roast, I cut the thing in half and put half in the fridge before I even bring it to the table. We don't need very much meat in our diets, and I always serve a meat dish with plenty of vegetables on the sides so nobody is left hungry. (Did you know that tests show that potato is actually the food that leaves you feeling the most full?! So just serve mashed or roasted potatoes and people will nibble on them instead of the meat, and they'll get full faster anyway!) Meanwhile, I have enough left over meat for my other meals!
Before I started doing this I could usually make one more meal from the leftovers of a "big meat" meal, now I can usually make two. It's friendly to my budget and our health!

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8 comments:

Mallory said...

We are really good at using our leftovers (usually). I really don't know how to cook for less than 6 people, because that's how many people I was cooking for when I learned -how- to cook (and recipes usually cater to around that many people)! So, I cook a big meal, and put one or two "meal" into small dishes for the hubby to take to work later in the week. Then Bug and I eat from the bigger portion of leftovers.

I haven't used leftover meat for a whole different meal, yet. That is a really good idea. I'm a really really poor menu planner, though!!! I need to be better at actually planning what to eat on what days, and what ingredients I will need for those meals!

Janeen said...

Unless you're where I'm currently at and five potatoes costs MORE than a thing of hamburger and beef (can't remember how much meat there was but the potatoes were VERY expensive). Food in South Korea is crazy crazy expensive.

CageQueen said...

I should try that. My family won't eat veggies so it is an ongoing battle.

I have my brother living with me, my husband and my brother's friend. As I'm sure you can imagine, feeding three grown males is costly. I spent $280+ at the grocery store last week!

My husband despises leftovers but since we are cooking at home more and eating out less, everyone is getting used to it. My brother and his friend, however, LOVE leftovers so I am wasting a lot less food. Used to be I'd throw away an entire garbage bag every time I cleaned out my fridge for the weekly shopping. Sinful, I know!

Slowly but surely I am incoporating new habits. Last night a friend was over and the guys ate an entire catering-sized pan of Mexican lasagna!!

Brandi (Maxfield) Morstad said...

smart... I've been thinking about doing this for a while...

mr.brighton said...

Potato skins are the very most filling. So eat them as well. Leave some skin on for mashed. It is good for you.

Jessica said...

I love doing this. I haven't actually taken the meat away before the meal starts, yet, but I will now!
My biggest issue has been that hubby likes to snitch from the refrigerator after the meal, especially if he knows there's a roast or pork in there. He's getting better since he's realized that I do plan to use that meat; it's not just "leftover".

Penniless Parenting said...

We usually just eat our leftovers as is. Usually I make a food, eat it for lunch and supper and send it with my husband for lunch the next day, and then I cook up something and eat that for my lunch, then serve the new food for supper, repeat.
I do repurpose some foods, but since I make many one pot meals, I do find it a bit hard to repurpose something that is as complex as most one pot meals. But I have to say, I was quite proud of my homemade BBQ sauce made of my leftover homemade tomato sauce...

Katie said...

I think this is a great idea. I haven't done this in a long time, but I used to do it most often with roasted chickens or beef roasts. I'm a big fan of leftovers, so what I do now is eat the same meal for 4+ days! I made corned beef on Sunday, and have had it every day since, at least once.

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