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Lost leftovers

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
My family eats very unpredictably. One night, they might chow down like pigs, and another night they just pick. So we frequently wind up with leftovers. Usually, dh takes the leftovers to work for lunch the next day, and if there is plenty I'll eat them for lunch, too.

Sometimes, though, they get "lost" in my fridge. I clean out my fridge about once a week, and today I found a container with rice and two strips of beef teriyaki in it, another container with about 6 oz. of chourico in it, and one more with two small pieces of fried haddock. None of the items were edible anymore.... it had been too many days. So it all wound up in the trash, which makes me mad.

Anybody else experience this? How do I avoid it? I'm thinking about making a list for the front of my fridge with the names and dates of leftovers, so nothing gets forgotten.

Another thing... what do y'all do with excessive amounts of veggies? If I buy parsley for a recipe, the majority of it winds up in the trash. I simply cannot use a whole bunch of parsley before it goes bad. Same thing with stuff like celery. I might buy it for soup, but nobody eats the rest of it. I've thought about asking my friends if they want the remainder... would that be weird?
post #2 of 11
I don't have much advice, but I totally feel ya! My DH and I just had a spat last night about how upsetting it is to me that a bag of lettuce gets wasted every time we have tacos. (I eat lettuce, he doesn't and I never really know what to do with the shredded stuff after I have my taco's) I told him to quit buying me the lettuce and he thought it was all a money issue with me...


It's because I'm wasting perfectly good food....

-le sigh-

I also hear ya on the leftovers in the fridge getting lost. The list on the fridge seems like a good idea though!
post #3 of 11
It happens all the time in our house. My husband likes leftovers for work because they last longer in his system. I also use leftovers for the basis of other meals: chicken soup, jambalaya.... I try to put all the leftovers in almost the same place in the referigerator so I can find them but they get lost.

post #4 of 11
leftovers -- how about a leftover night? my mom would do this. she'd make a small new dish if there wasn't enough to feed the clan.

veggies --- uncooked I presume? anything that's getting a little soft -- the lettuce comes to mind, I throw in the freezer in a ziplock and the next time we need stock I boil the veggies down. Same goes for carrot peels, potato peels, etc.

herbs and celery we chop when we first get them and set aside a small amt for "fresh" then divide the rest into some kind of freezer container. when we are making soup we add them to soup.
post #5 of 11
one more thought: re: lettuce. When we lived in a place with a salad bar in the grocery store I found it cheaper to buy a small amt of lettuce, cucumber, whatever at the salad bar than it was to buy the big bag.

yes, the salad bar was more spendy per unit weight, but it was me spending 50 cents on lettuce vs. me spending 3 bucks on lettuce for tacos.
post #6 of 11
freeze them!
If you already have one leftover in ther fridge, stick the next thing in the freezer until it's gone.
vegetables can be blanched and frozen too, or when they are starting to go bad make veggie soup
post #7 of 11
Veggies into the freezer for stock

Freeze fresh herbs in a nice cube tray

The thing I do that helps the most with all of the issues is meal planning.....

I make a list of meals and the ingredients and I plan my meals around those so I buy the right amounts. I do freeze a lot of left overs ususally in single serving containers since DH and I often eat seperately. Luckily, dh is easy and doesn't mind eating the same thing a few days in a row, because I cook in huge quantities!!!

Gotta run, but will revisit this later.....
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Some good ideas here!

I just want to add that I DO plan our meals. It's just that some nights my family eats less than other nights. Most of my leftovers from dinner tend to be meat items.

Unfortunately, my husband and children would rather die than eat vegetable soup. I also thought, for some reason, that certain vegetables (like lettuce and celery) wouldn't freeze well.

I like the suggestion about the salad bar. Never thought about doing that.
post #9 of 11
2tadpoles - ooh, I'm not keen on lost leftovers - they make me kind of ill - when they spoil it's nasty to clean. These days, I try to use the leftovers within the next two days. PERIOD. I'm pretty strict. If the leftover is not eaten in 2 or 3 days, out it goes to the organic waste bin. Meaning, if there is leftover roast chicken, it gets used the next night in another dish or by the following night, no later. That way, there are only one container of leftovers circulating in the fridge. And, I don't keep things I don't think I'll use. For instance, I may cook too many sweet potatoes, but, likely, I won't use those in a pie or muffins so I either composte the waste or put it in our organic waste bin.

I generally try to make enough food for 3-6 (there are 3 of us) and freeze large quantities immediately. Those frozen meals are dated and used promptly.

If I buy lettuce for a particular recipe, I'd just make salads each night and day until the lettuce is gone. This way nothing gets wasted.

It's kind of like de-cluttering but it's done in your fridge! HTH
post #10 of 11
My first thought...you have a 13 and 9 year old and you have leftovers? :LOL
We jokingly call my 9 year old "The Human Garbage Disposal", as he'll clear everything as of late.

Seriously, all great ideas here. What we do here (on the rare occasion): keep them all on the same shelf/area. You say DH eats them for lunch, do you? Also try and keep in mind if it's something that you know will get eaten right away for a lunch or not (once in awhile, I'll get a craving for liver...but after one piece, I don't want it for awhile again :LOL) Last night, we had stuffed green peppers. Only half got eaten, so I froze the others ASAP and we'll have them next week. Last week, we had potato soup and had plenty leftover so I froze it and we'll have it tomorrow.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Neither of my children are big eaters. I don't know why. They'll have periods of 2-3 days where they're constantly hungry, but that's it. It's hard to get my older child to eat more than two meals a day, and he almost never wants seconds.

As for eating leftovers for lunch, there are often only enough leftovers for one lunch. So since DH either has to bring lunch or buy lunch, he usually takes them. If there is enough for more than one person, then I do eat leftovers, too.... if we're home. I think that's the problem, is that we are frequently "on the go," and sometimes we don't pack lunches. Depending upon where we're headed, bringing a cooler isn't always practical, and I'm not fond of cold food that's meant to be eaten hot. So even if we do pack lunches, it's usually sandwiches instead of last night's pot roast.

Also, we don't have a lot of room to freeze leftovers.
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