What to Do with Leftovers: How to Freeze, Tips to Change Them Up
I'm only cooking for one, but I don’t like to limit myself to single-serving recipes. After a few days, though, I get bored of eating the same thing. I don't want to be wasteful, but I also don't want to force myself to begrudgingly eat something. Have any suggestions? Thanks!
All Alone with My Leftovers
I get it: Sometimes, you just hit a wall with a dish. And without a plan in place, you could end up letting those leftovers go bad. I have 2 acronyms for you—CIU and FYF!
CIU: Change It Up Give those leftovers the remix treatment! Just because you're eating the same thing every day doesn't mean it needs to TASTE the same… Serve it with a twist!
* Got meat, chicken, or another protein? Shred it or chop it. Then serve it over salads or saucy veggie noodles. Mix it into soup. Press it into a quesadilla, fold it up in a wrap, or divvy it up among lettuce cups. Create a power bowl with whatever else is in your fridge. Stir it into a simple veggie stir-fry. Recipes like my Go-To Garlic 'n Herb Shredded Chicken are perfect for concepts like this. Since the flavor profile is pretty neutral, you can easily change it up with different sauces and condiments.
* Is it a big batch of chili or stew that you're bored with? Eating it with a spoon isn’t the only option. Enjoy it over a plate of high-fiber pasta, cauliflower rice, veggie noodles, or mashed potato/cauliflower. Refresh the flavor with hot sauce or seasoning blends. You can even stir in some cream cheese for a decadent spin. I’ve also been known to use chili as a protein-packed omelette topper!
* Casseroles crowding your fridge? It’s all about the toppings. Sour cream and salsa will take it in a zesty direction. Gravy will bring out the umami flavors. Hot sauce can really transform the taste. And an over-easy egg on top will take that casserole straight to breakfast town.
Don't be afraid to get creative & use whatever's in your fridge or pantry!
* Step 1: Divvy the food into individual servings. First, make sure the food is cool or room temp. (If you put hot or warm food in the freezer, it could partially thaw the foods around it.) Then divide up your portions. The food will thaw and reheat faster & more evenly when you take it out later. Plus, you'll be able to easily prepare the exact number of servings you need.
* Step 2: Wrap & freeze. The better you wrap your food, the longer it'll last and the fresher it'll taste. For handheld items, securely wrap each one in plastic wrap (or your food wrap of choice); then transfer them to a sealable freezer-safe bag or container, remove as much air as possible, and seal. For everything else, use a freezer-safe sealable container; if you plan on using the microwave to reheat the food, make sure it's also microwave safe. Pick one that's a little larger than the food itself; food can expand when it freezes and can bubble up when it's reheated.
* Step 3: Time to thaw. Your best bet is to transfer the food to the fridge the night before you plan to eat it, then reheat it once you're ready to eat. You can also use the thaw setting on your microwave for a quick turnaround. Remove any wrap first, and make sure the container is microwave safe! For meals and soups (anything not handheld), vent the lid.
* So, what can you freeze? Foods that freeze and reheat well include meat, poultry, fish, baked goods, soups, stews, meatloaves, casseroles, burger patties, oatmeal, and other cooked grains. Veggies with high water content like spaghetti squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and celery don't turn out well after defrosting. Sturdier veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots are fine.
There you have it… Now can I come over to help with those leftovers?
Amazon Find of the Day!Fullstar Food Storage Container Set Making good use of leftovers requires a solid set of food containers! This find is borderline mind-blowing. It contains 24 containers with lids in various shapes and sizes… everything from itty-bitty dressing cups to 33.8-oz. rectangular tubs! The lids have a snap-lock feature that forms an airtight, watertight, spill-proof seal. All completely safe for your fridge, freezer, and microwave. Also included: labels and a chalk pen to help you clearly identify what’s inside and when you made it. Plus, it’s earned a massive number of rave reviews, and the value is insane…
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Chew on this:
Oh goody, it's National Caramel Popcorn Day, April 6th! That means we have an excuse to stock back up on Lily's incredible no-sugar-added Milk Chocolate Style Caramel Popcorn.
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