Wednesday, February 16, 2011
What to do with leftovers?
Some day's you make a great big meal and then find out that Tom will be working late and Suzie is going to have dinner at a friends house, leaving you with all the food. Or the recipe you've made only calls for half a can of beans and you don't know what to do with rest of the can.
Before you store think about how soon your family will eat them. Was the dish a big hit that might not make it past a midnight snack? Stick it in the fridge. Did no one even touch the vegetable side? Freeze for use at a later date. Are there only 3 servings of casserole left? Perhaps you could freeze them individually for heat-able lunches later that month.
I hate a fridge full of small containers that always seem to end up getting pushed to the back and going bad because either no one can find them or people aren’t sure what’s inside. Keep it simple by making sure that every item that goes into the fridge is labeled with it’s contents and date made. I like to keep a permanent marker and roll of masking tape in a kitchen drawer so I always have label-making materials at hand.
Labels let people know if this is the spaghetti from two nights ago or when you had it a month ago. With masking tape you can customize the size every time you need a label and since it removes without issue you don’t have to worry about ruining your Tupperware.
With just my son and I unless it’s a very small amount of leftovers, or something I can use in a meal later that week, I prefer to freeze any uneaten leftovers. Frozen leftovers keep longer and are useful if you’re feeling too tired to cook and don’t want to order in- simply defrost, reheat and eat!
Some items should never go in the freezer most importantly are lettuces and uncooked leafy greens, they will wilt and become useless, as well as eggs in the shell, which can explode or crack once the white and yolk freezes.
If you freeze an item before the expiration date it will stay good even after the date is passed.
When there are only a few servings leftover I like to freeze them individually rather than altogether, that way later in the week or month when someone wants a large snack or easy lunch they can reheat just enough instead of everything.
Don’t know how long your food will stay good once its put away? Check out these websites: realsimple.com gives a general list and how long they’re good for, whatscookingamerica.net is a thorough list including both more food and options on how to store them (room temp, fridge and freezer) plus some useful comments.
No matter if you use the fridge or freezer be sure to keep it clean!