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I love leftovers. It’s like an upgraded microwave dinner. At least, there is no mystery with this meat!

Leftovers make dinner easy because the food is cooked, I save time because it takes minutes to reheat, and its less food for the landfill.

It wasn’t until college that I became a fan of leftovers. When I was younger, I would avoid leftovers because I preferred freshly made food.

A taste of real-life changed that!

Bulking Up

My family is small, a party of two which makes it easy to cook in bulk. From loaded mac and cheese to lasagna, chances are ripe that the recipe was for a party of four.

If the odds are rare and the recipe is small, I add more. Once I start cooking, I prefer to cook a large amount once instead of cooking small meals every night.

Cooking is not pleasurable, but eating is!

I am happy to devour anything that is placed on my plate which makes leftovers a perfect match for my feeding routine.

During the week, two or three meals are crafted, which will last for the rest of the week. In the winter, the hardier fare is common with crockpot or oven dishes. During summer, it’s more often something grilled.

I save time too by only cooking and cleaning once. With the main meal cooked, sealed, and delivered, the mass of dishes is a one-time event.

If dinner won’t quite stretch for another entre, I use it for lunch. I typically have a salad and fruit, so it doesn’t need to be big; just a splash of hardiness until dinner.

Take your lunch prepping skills up a notch by packaging up the leftovers at the same time as serving dinner. Your lunches can cool while you eat and then you can load everything in the fridge at clean up time.

Good Cheap Eats

Serious Savings

Living on leftovers saves money too.

At the risk of sounder older than I am, food is expensive. Well, the food I buy is expensive. My weekly shopping cart rattles through the store toting whole fruits, vegetables, and a smattering of dairy. Sometimes canned or frozen goods find their way to the basket, but that is about as frequent as free fruit in the breakroom. 

I use coupons and a loyalty program, so the monthly grocery bill hovers around $200 to 300

One way to save is by throwing out less. Though the meal is dictated by interest and time, sometimes it’s by expiration. If the salad looks wilty or the squash is squishy, that is when that food goes from shelf life to dinner life. 

  • Meat and veggies are turned into casseroles or soups.
  • Ground meat will go into fillings for burritos or tacos.
  • Rice will be used in fried rice or stir fry.

Few food items find their fate in the compost bin.

Trash Bash

I do love it when I have less to throw away.

Food waste makes up more than 20% of what’s in landfills and is a significant source of methane gas as it rots, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. 

Lifehack

I am not trying to set any records. But on our street, our house would be crowned the Olympic Champion of Trash.

We are proud of our blue bin’s independence and how it needs its contents relieved every two, sometimes three, weeks. A testament to how little waste our household accumulates.

The compost bin takes care of food scraps. About once a week, we dump an ice cream pail of eggshells, banana peels, and other scraps from the feeding transaction.

The compost is a large box that doesn’t have a bottom. The bottomless box is an invitation to all sorts of tiny life that have a grand time eating trash and turning it into soil. Though it sounds stinky, like a rotting dumpster in the sun, when I lift the lid for another deposit, it smells of fresh dirt. An excellent sign that nature is doing what it does best, turning trash into treasure.  

Living on Leftovers

It’s the basic premise that if you use up what you have, you won’t find yourself in need. […] It is true that avoiding waste is good stewardship and will save you money, both of which help you stay out of debt and build wealth.

Good Cheap Eats

Living on leftovers is so many wins because it saves money, time, and the landfill – what a way to live the American dream.

Are you living on leftovers? Share your expertise in the comments.

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3 thoughts on “Why I’m Living on Leftovers

  1. Yay fellow leftover food lover here 🙂 I can’t help but agree with everything you said. I also love eating but not cooking and there’s really no better feeling than going to the fridge and seeing food already there.

    So much better, faster, and cheaper than having to cook a new meal each day or eating out which costs even more.

    1. I know! Its the best. I just got home from work, I’m tired and hangry but am I worried? Nope, because I have leftovers for days in the fridge. 🙌

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