Call me crazy, but leftovers gag me! Well, not all leftovers, but a lot of them. Growing up, we just didn’t have a lot of leftovers. With 6 of us in our family, my mom did an amazing job of cooking for 6. It’s actually crazy to think that we had a hot cooked meal on the table every single night. I don’t know how she did it.
Well here I am, with a small family of my own, and I’ll admit that I still haven’t figured out dinnertime. As a mom who goes into an office each day, most nights the last thing I want to do is cook dinner. I’ve also worked really hard to eat less processed foods, but eating fresh food can take more time to prepare. The work around for this is using the weekend to make meals ahead of time. I really love cooking over the weekend, but goodness do most leftovers gag me. It’s such a selfish problem to have, but it’s important to me to make healthy meals for my family and to not waste food.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot and came up with a list of foods that I enjoy as leftovers. My plan is to still use the weekend to cook meals for the week ahead of time, but to work our menu around ingredients that work great as leftovers.
- Vegetables!! My co-worker calls me a closet vegetarian and she’s essentially right. I love, love, love vegetables and I love them as leftovers. Sure I eat meat, but if given the meat free option, I almost always go for it. (Chili Lime Vegetable Tacos)
- Ground meat. I may hate chicken as a leftover, but I don’t mind ground chicken one bit. I know… weirdo. Ground meats work really well in leftovers and are affordable. Ground beef, ground turkey, ground chicken… awesome! (Buffalo Chicken Soup)
- Casseroles. I grew up on casseroles and honestly, I still love them. They’re so easy to throw together, freeze great, and there are plenty of healthy casserole recipes out there. I know this isn’t an ingredient, but I know I can get away with more ingredients in casseroles. (Creamy Chicken Enchiladas)
In a nutshell, I need to get creative on weekends. I need to test out more recipes, consider more raw recipes, and I need to figure out what foods reheat well. My plan is to make one dish each weekend for the week ahead, to set up the Crockpot (hello salsa chicken) on Tuesdays for a mid-week meal, and to cook a hot meal on Fridays. Obviously every week will be different, but I think this plan will work well for our family.
With limited time on my hands after work, I really have to rely on leftovers or freezer meals during the work week. Even just through writing this post I recognize that I just haven’t been thinking outside the box or using Pinterest to my advantage. There are a lot of great recipes out there that reheat well, I just need to try them… and say goodbye to large recipes that require un-ground chicken or pork products. I may just need to embrace my inner “closet vegetarian” too and make more meat free meals.