Leftovers

More than 1/3 of all food produced on the planet is wasted—tossed out without being eaten. It’s a travesty on so many levels, many of which are probably quite hard to grasp here in America. It’s not our fault, of course, but we can do our part to decrease our impact. Case in point: The Dreaded Leftovers. Sure, in the post-meal yummy haze we are convinced we’ll eat the rest eventually, but then new meal temptations appear and all of a sudden, there sits a fridge full of been-there-done-thats… but don’t toss perfectly edible foods away! Get creative reinventing your leftovers.

Scramble It: Anything can find new life in the next morning’s egg. I prefer organic tofu, but the result is the same—a flavorful and hearty breakfast. Thai noodles, curries, beans and rice, crumbled veggie burgers, samosas—you name it, they scramble.

Stew It: The very best soup/stew is what I call “refrigerator stew” or “anything but the kitchen sink” as they say and it’s basically whatever is in the fridge with some veggies and stock (that leftover jar of tomato sauce works well, too). Soup has a way of homogenizing and refining leftovers, especially if there’s only a little bit left.

Wrap It: You only think spaghetti sandwiches sound weird because you never had one! But layer those few leftover noodles, some fresh sautéed spinach and a bit more sauce in a burrito and you will never want to eat noodles with a fork again.

Don’t Drown It: Salad dressing and sauces can wilt greens and make them less than yummy the next day, so if you know your salad is too much to begin with, dress as you go (pour some per bite, dip or move to another dish), and your greens will stay fresh for several days.

Route It: Can you salvage a big hunk of avocado for a sandwich and send the rest to an omelet or atop a salad?

Break It Down: The very best way to maximize your leftovers is to not have any… and here’s how to do that: Cook in stages. If you’re making fried rice, cook your brown rice separate and dole out enough for your servings. Then, you have plain brown rice to use in paella, risotto, etc. Same with veggies—you can precook most of ‘em and add a few to each dish. Rather than committing a whole head of broccoli to a stir-fry, save some for a broccoli potato soup the next day.

Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

image: ginnerobot