Monday, October 17, 2016

31 Days of Money-Saving Tips: Day #17 - Freeze Your Leftovers

We've discussed cooking at home to save money, but what do you do when you make too much?  Well, you could pack it for your lunch the next day.  But, what if you've already ate it for 2 days and you need a break?  Well, freeze it for later.  I LOVE to take leftovers and make little homemade TV dinners with them.  You can get some really nice containers (like these or these) from the Dollar Tree just for this purpose.  You could also invest in some nicer Pyrex ones if you like.  It's totally up to you.  So, basically I take my leftovers and divide them out into these little containers, let them cool, label them, and then into the freezer they go.  When I need to pack lunch for work, I just grab one and stick it in the fridge when I get there.  When lunchtime comes I pop it in the microwave, and in about 2 or 3 minutes I have a nice hot, home-cooked meal to enjoy! 
What if you don't have enough leftovers for a meal?  You should freeze them anyway.  I have made different soups and chili's almost completely using bits and bobs from the freezer.  Vegetable soup is an easy one.  I take a freezer bag and whenever we have just a few tablespoons of a vegetable left, I add it to the bag.  Once it's full, I dump the bag into the slow-cooker, add some vegetable or chicken stock, a diced onion, and maybe some pasta or rice (which can be frozen too), and you've got dinner.  It's really that easy.  You can really re-purpose almost any leftover, but that's a post for another day. 
So, how does this save you money?  Well, first of all the food you made is not going to be wasted.  You are finding a new purpose for food that some might throw in the trash.  Secondly, you are getting a night/day off from cooking by just reheating the leftovers.  That's saving you money spent on the electric used to cook another meal, and it's saving you time from having to do it. 
So, freeze your leftovers to not only save yourself some money, but to save time too!

Photos for this series are from Flickr.  They are pictures that are under the license of ‘commercial and mods allowed.’  Edits were done by me.  The licensor does not endorse me or my use.

Menu Plan Monday: 10/17/2016

This past weekend was the Fall Harvest event here at the museum, so things were very busy and a little crazy around these parts.  It was a lot of fun though, and Howard loved seeing the tractors!  Crunch time has officially begun for me - I have tea next week, followed by 2 weeks of Christmas decorating, another tea, baking pies for sale, cleaning and prepping for our family holiday dinner, Thanksgiving, Black Friday shopping, and then two more weeks of tea and Christmas tours, followed by a week of cookie baking and Christmas - I get tired just thinking about the next couple months.  My menu plans will of course reflect the level of craziness going on, and will be super simple, and probably involve a crock-pot - surprise, surprise.
Here's what's on the menu this week...
  • Breakfasts: Fruit, Eggs, Cream of Wheat, Bagels, and/or Oatmeal for Me; Pop-Tarts for Joe; Turkey Sausage Links, Mini Muffins, Fruit, and/or Fruit and Grain Bars for Howard
  • Lunches: Tomato and Bacon or PBJ Sandwiches, Leftovers, Chips, Veggie Dippers with Ranch, Soup, and/or Fruit for Joe and I.  Howard will have Turkey Sausage links, Cheese Slices, Mac and Cheese cups, Blueberry Pancakes, French Toast, and/or PB Waffles, and Fruit.
  • Dinners:
    • Sunday - KFC Chicken Tenders/Popcorn Chicken and Mashed Potatoes
    • Monday - Crock-pot Meatballs and Marinara, Pasta, Broccoli
    • Tuesday - Baked Leftover Pasta and Sauce topped with Cheese, Salad
    • Wednesday - Day away in Hanover, so probably Take-out
    • Thursday - Crock-pot Pork, Sauerkraut, and Mashed Potatoes
    • Friday - Leftovers
    • Saturday - Pizza, and Salad
For more AWESOME Menu Plans, visit Org Junkie!