Leftover Lessons 101
From the packing process to that third round of reheating, here are 5 simple ways to keep surplus servings extra fresh
1. Pack in portions
Lumping all your mashed potatoes in one big bowl and putting the lid back on your roast may seem like the fastest way to store after a day of cooking, but now imagine pulling out those full-sized containers each time you want another meal. Plan ahead by dishing out individual servings of each side on one plate. Save a few of the plastic soup bowls you get with takeout; they're the perfect size to pre-portion the next day's lunch.
2. Stamp your own barcode
Your groceries have expiration dates, so why should your perishable leftovers be any different? Stock a slim roll of masking tape in your cabinet drawer so you can label each container as you store your food. Be sure to mark the date with the contents to save the time, messiness, and occasional smelliness from opening each forgotten container past due.
3. Freeze as you please
Too many party cancellations? Not enough hungry guests? Don't throw out that giant tray of lasagna or stuff it in your fridge all at once. Many foods, such as pasta sauce or soups, can be frozen for months without sacrificing any future flavor. When you get bored with repeats, seal up the remains and put them in the freezer. The next time your grocery supply starts to dwindle, stave off shopping for a few days with a recycled feast.
4. Front and center
It's easy to forget about leftovers. They don't have labels. Their flat lids make great mini-shelves for stacking whatever's coming into your fridge next. Plus, they seem to just WANT to hide, inching back a little more every time we buy some new groceries. By the time we remember what's inside those plastic containers, the contents may have evolved into inedible (and possibly alien) messes. To fight this habit, reserve a constant space towards the front of your refrigerator exclusively for leftovers and be consistent about always putting your containers back in the right place.
5.Liven up the menu
Eating the same thing every day will sour even the finest cuisines, so transform your leftovers into entirely different meals. Almost any dish can make a great sandwich, but add some crunch with toppings that bring new textures, such as sliced celery, fresh lettuce, or even flavored potato chips. Throw leftover meat in a blender for taco night with a unique twist. Crack open some eggs and invent your own omelet. A little creativity can make food taste better than the day it was cooked.
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