Leftovers get a bad wrap because they can be…well…less than spectacular. Unfortunately, I constantly have a plethora of containers taking up space in my fridge from both home-cooked and restaurant meals. But having leftovers can be downright useful! They make the easiest lunches and dinners on those days when you don’t have time or energy to make a brand new meal.
So how to combat the problem of having leftovers languishing in the fridge, uneaten, until way past a time when they’re palatable?
Remember your RE’s:
- Reseason – You often need to add a little extra salt to foods after they have been refrigerated. You’ve probably noticed this just from experience, but refrigeration can alter the acidity balance in foods, making your perfectly-seasoned soup tomato soup taste duller the next day. Consider adding some more or different spices in addition to the extra salt, or if you really need a kick, a dash of hot sauce or vinegar to restore that acid balance.
- Reheat – Learn which foods will or will not benefit from reheating, and treat it accordingly! This article is a great resource on how to treat your favorite leftovers.
- Repurpose – Add your leftovers to a new meal you are cooking. It’s a great way to not get fatigued at the flavors and textures of last night’s meal. I love to throw old roasted vegetables into my salad, or heat up an extra piece of chicken to put with newly made vegetables.
By loving your leftovers, you no longer feel pressure to finish every last bite when you’re eating at home or at a restaurant. As you’re sitting enjoying your meal, think about the amazing lunch you can be having the next day, and pack some of it away! Your waistline will thank you.
One final note: As you all know, please do not eat leftovers that are more than 5-7 days old or smell funky. Fully reheat all meat products to prevent contamination. Safe food == Yummy food!
What is your favorite leftover meal? I think mine has to be throwing a leftover meatball (reheated if possible) onto a salad with some torn up bread. The spicy sweet of a balsamic vinigarette goes great with the tang of the sauce on the meatball, and the bread holds it all together. I highly recommend. Share your favorite leftover meal below!