Cooking with Leftovers : 4 Moms {Linky}

moms of many manage Leftovers? What leftovers?

While it’s true that our family rarely has leftovers, it does occasionally happen, and being the incredibly creative cook that I am (go ahead and laugh), I do one of four things with our family’s leftovers.

If there is enough leftover from one meal to feed our family another full meal I:

1. pack up the leftovers, label them and put them in the freezer to pull out and serve for dinner at a future date
2. pack up the leftovers and put them in the fridge to serve for dinner another night during the week.

If there are not enough leftovers to feed our family another full meal I:

3. put the leftovers in the fridge and at the end of the week plan a lunch or dinner (depending upon the amount of leftovers collected) buffet where everyone gets to choose the leftovers of his/her choice to eat
4. put the leftovers in the fridge and instruct someone to eat them for lunch in the following days.

I realize that my plan is not creative, but it works and my family doesn’t mind eating leftovers.

Now it’s your turn to share how you deal with leftovers in your home. Please play by these rules:

  1. You must link to a specific relevant post on your blog.
  2. Your post must include a link to at least one of the 4 Moms blogs.
  3. The post you link to must be completely family friendly.

If your link is deleted, you probably didn’t follow one of the rules above. Please feel free to add your link again once you have fixed the problem. If you don’t know why your link was deleted, please ask.

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The other 3 Moms talk about leftovers here:
Smockity Frocks
Life in a Shoe
The Common Room

For info about our parenting ebook or bios of all four moms visit

For more Moms of Many posts visit the 4 Moms page.

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9 Responses to Cooking with Leftovers : 4 Moms {Linky}
  1. Anita Chamblee
    May 3, 2012 | 8:06 am

    Lots of experience with leftovers over here!!


  2. Anita Chamblee
    May 3, 2012 | 8:07 am

    Hmmm…I linked up twice now and it’s not appearing.


  3. Anita Chamblee
    May 3, 2012 | 8:19 am

    apparently Mister Linky is having problems. The last two times I linked it appeared for a moment and then disappeared.


  4. Alene
    May 3, 2012 | 8:46 am

    I’ve mentioned this before, but leftovers at my house almost always go into a Musgo soup. There are a few leftovers that don’t work as well that way – pancakes, for example – but generally when making a soup I just shop in the fridge for things that Mus’ go. 🙂


  5. Amy
    May 3, 2012 | 10:08 am

    I pack them up for an older peron(s) in our church or my grandma….they are always appreciative….


  6. Dianne
    May 3, 2012 | 10:29 am

    That’s a great system. It’s similar to what I do, except I would add my children usually feel free to warm up left-overs on their own if they don’t particulary like what we’re eating at that meal. I know, spoiled! I was going to add that some peple make a soup from their leftovers, but Alene already covered that. I’ve heard people rave about that soup, but I’ve never been brave enough to try it.

    Alene, exactly how DO you make it?


  7. Danielle Kyle
    May 3, 2012 | 5:03 pm

    Hi, my family will eat most leftovers for lunch, but they are not often their favorite. We also eat a pretty strict whole foods diet, meaning I make most everything myself, and purchase expensive pastured meat. This isn’t easy. We homeschool, have a single income (very limited), and five children. We will eat conventional foods outside the home, but I like to know that the food in our home is clean. Here is what I do with leftovers.

    I am not able to purchase individual cuts of meat. They are expensive, but if I buy in bulk, or cook with whole chickens then I can stretch the meal. This means getting multiple meals out of one bird, homemade stock, etc… So if we have chicken and rice one night, then I cut the breasts off of the bird, and put them in the freezer for something later, like chicken salad, then I use the dark meat for the baked chicken and rice. Once that meal is finished there is not enough for another meal, so I make a nice chicken soup with the left overs, and add something to stretch it like more veggies. I make fresh biscuits or cheese toast, and every one is happy. Then I still have the breasts for a full lunch meal, or pasta dish.

    When I cook beans I cook a lot, with pastured bacon. I make corn bread, and something deliciously meaty on the side, and whatever other veggies we all like. When that meal is over I take the left over meat, a can of tomatoes, chopped spinach/kale, and pasta and make a new meal. We can usually eat the new stew for at least two meals. I cook in large portions. I take the corn bread that is left over from the beans meal, and either let the kids snack on it, or hide it, let it go stale, and have cornbread stuffing for the next meal I make. I take all of the left over bitten off crusts that my kids don’t want, and let them go stale, and make bread crumbs or croutons. Last night we had zucchini, looking at it in the pot left over I knew I wasn’t going to convince my kids to eat it twice, and so this morning I blended it up with a banana, and made a breakfast bread.

    Basically, instead of looking at the food as leftovers. I look at them as ingredients. That way nothing is ever wasted… Oh yes, another helpful tip for those of you who hate watching fruits, and veggies spoil in your fridge. If it is turning catch it quick, and throw it in the freezer. You can freeze anything. Fresh spinach, for smoothies, chopped mushrooms, melon, berries, celery peppers. It is best if you go ahead, and chop it the way it will be used for the next time you use it. Such as dicing a green pepper, and then freezing it. I am sorry for my long posting, but I thought it would help mothers of large families. Please check out our Nashville, Facebook page Real Food Made Simple. A christian whole foods encouragement page, and local classes on nutrition.


    jul Reply:

    hi – questions for you if you can:) how do you turn two breasts into enough chicken salad for five kids? i have six, five eaters, and i can’t make that stretch. also, when you mention a meaty side dish that may have leftovers – what would that entail? because we can’t afford grass fed beef and free range poultry, for the longest time we’ve been trying not to eat much, so when i cook meat, there aren’t leftovers, unless i just don’t let them have more than a small portion. i would love to hear how you’re doing this. our budget is further stretched as we don’t do wheat/gluten either, so substitute grains and flours and noodles are more spendy. looking for any way i can afford to feed these puddins yummy food. (we were getting pretty sick of beans beans and more beans….and rice)


  8. Danielle Kyle
    May 4, 2012 | 12:18 am

    Our chicken salad has is always more than just chicken. And our egg salad is too. I have a few recipes. A sweet curry chicken salad with two or three stalks of chopped celery, grapes (or raisins), and raw walnuts. The walnuts are a protein, and a fat, highly nutritious, and very filling. And one with cherries, celery, and walnuts, but no sugar. I add cukes, and grated carrots to my egg salad. I spread the salad on bread thinner than most people, or make wraps. I also add lettuce, cheese, and tomato to our chicken salad. I serve it with these options. Chips, carrots (or many other fresh veggies), homemade hummus, peanut butter and apples, or a melon. When served all of this, and not just a sandwich they will be full very quickly from all of the fiber. I always buy the fresh foods in season, and on sale rather than being picky, and so there is plenty. The cheaper foods like the chips, crackers, macaroni and so forth are actually less filling because your body burns them as a sugar, and it is burned quickly, and then stored as fat quickly. That is why the “whole” grain carbs (it should always have the word whole before the grain) are so much more healthy than the processed. Choose fruits, and veggies that have a lot of water like watermelon, or cantaloupe, tomatoes, and cucumbers. They are more filling. They don’t need a thickly filled sandwich with all of the other things. We always have leftover chicken salad because adding the veggies, and things add almost a whole cup of volume, and makes them full very quickly. Thankfully, our kids aren’t picky. But that is my only food rule. You never have to eat all of your food. You only have to eat all of the fruits, and vegetables. Usually they will eat them first, and get it over with if it is something they don’t like. I am very strict about this rule, and they learn it early. We don’t have fussing at our table. I hope this isn’t coming across too strong, but there are many children who wouldn’t care for all of the items in their salads.

    I will often only have a cup of two or meat in our stew tops. Because I also include beans, or lentils (for sausage stews), and pasta. The three together are very, very filling. Over time you can also get a good idea of what pairs well together while having leftovers. Kale tastes best with beef, and spinach tastes best with chicken. If there is a small amount of leftover chicken, but not enough for more than a single meal or two then that is plenty for a stew. I have a soup that I make with sausage that includes a can or two of diced tomatoes, chopped spinach that is usually left over from salads, onions, garlic, lots of dried basil, a little bit of sugar, and pasta. I sprinkle mozz on top, and call it my pizza in a bowl. It is very low carb, but ultra filling. I let the kids add my garlic, and basil croutons for extra umph if my boys are hungry that day.

    Since you are GF, do you have a bread recipe that you make yourself? That is how I really save the big bucks. My making it. The extra snacky foods, and bars were making our grocery bill very high. So I started making our own yogurt, and cream cheese (yogurt cheese), bread, breakfast bread, and more. I know it is a lot of work, but we are home, and schooling anyway and this is what is best for our personal family. Also, if you are in a very rural area then you can utilize online shopping to get your gf items in bulk. I highly recommend this. Our family drinks raw milk that we get from an amish farm. This also saves us a lot of money since I am able to skim enough cream, from three gallons of milk, for a whole lb or more of butter. I really find comfort in the old saying, “Waste not want not”. It does feel like making something from nothing. This may come across as a bit odd, but I also pray. “Lord what can I do with this to make a meal?” and then it comes to me, I get creative, and things start clicking in my brain.

    Since you have a large family the very cheapest way to get your hands on pastured meat is by ordering parts of a whole animal, and splitting it with friends. Our pastured meat is less expensive than conventional market meat this way. It is worth the work to make it happen.

    I hope this helped a bit.


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