Tasty Ways to Add New Life to Leftovers

New Life for LeftoversSo what do you do with those odd leftovers…you can freeze them, sure. But how about giving them a new life and turning them into a new dish altogether? Instead of re-inventing the wheel when creating a new meal, use the leftovers to give you a head start. Here are a few ideas.

Leftover Hamburgers

A few leftover hamburgers from your cookout don’t have to go to waste. You can always crumble those burgers up and use them in new dishes. Combine with a marinara sauce and add pasta for a yummy Italian meal. Toss in a skillet and add taco seasonings and water, simmer for 10 minutes and make short work of a taco dinner.

Fried Chicken

Pull the skin off of the chicken (works great for takeout chicken too) and chop. Mix with mayo, a little celery and onion, and a dash of garlic salt, and you have chicken salad to use in sandwiches or wraps. Or, mix the chicken with a jar of white sauce, boil some pasta and you have easy chicken fettuccine.

Beef Roast

Open a jar of pre-made gravy, mix with shredded roast and pour atop toast for an open-faced hot beef sandwich. If you like Italian beef, shred your leftover roast and add to a slow cooker with sliced onion and green pepper, a packet of onion soup mix and water. All you need are some fresh onion rolls, and dinner is served!

Pork Roast

Shred leftover pork roast, add barbecue sauce and some rolls and you’ll have the makings for pulled pork sandwiches.

Hardboiled Eggs (think after Easter!)

Chop up and toss into a bed of greens, add a few extra veggies and chopped lunch meat for a hearty chef salad. You can also add mayonnaise, minced onion and celery, along with paprika to create egg salad for sandwiches.

Pasta

You can make a wonderful pasta salad with that leftover pasta! Toss with Italian dressing, diced tomatoes, peppers and onion for a quick pasta salad.

Rice

Add your choice of chopped veggies, tossed until crisp-tender, and create a stir-fry. Add any of the above leftover meats for a heartier meal.

I highly recommend Plan to Eat for a great place to store all your favorite recipes! Check it out with a free trial and see how easy it is to add recipes from the Internet, plan meals for your family and even print out a handy grocery list.

Photo Credit: iClipart

Cut Your Budget with Plan Ahead Weekday Dinner Prep

Cut your Budget with Plan Ahead Weekly Meal PrepWe all know how easy it is to get sucked into the drive-through or to pick up that takeout menu and order dinner, but it’s hard on our wallets. With a little planning, we can avoid those traps.

1) Make a Plan

I like to cook on Sundays, and have meals ready to go for Monday through Wednesday. Thursday then becomes “leftover day.” You choose what works best for you and your schedule.

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5 Meal Planning Tips for the Frugal Family

5 Frugal Meal Planning Tips

Meal planning can be a difficult task, especially for busy families. If you’re trying to lower your food budget, it may seem ideal to plan your weekly menu based on the items for sale at the grocery store—but it’s also not something you may be able to practice on a regular basis. Here are some great frugal meal-planning tips that can help you stay within budget:

1) Keep your pantry well stocked.

Your pantry may be overflowing with goods acquired from couponing, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve got a well-stocked pantry. Make sure that you’ve got the basics on hand so you can throw together a meal at any given time. Have items such as onions, garlic, potatoes, canned tomatoes, pasta, rice and beans readily available. Also have fruits, vegetables, chicken and beef at all times.

2) Plan meals based on what’s in your kitchen.

At least once a week, carefully inspect the contents of your refrigerator, freezer and pantry. Practice a little creativity and resourcefulness to come up with dishes using the items already in your kitchen. Not only will you keep things from going to waste, but you may just also save yourself a trip to the grocery store.

3) Try making dishes you would eat elsewhere.

If your kids really love pizza, then why not make some homemade pizza instead of calling for delivery? There are plenty of scrumptious recipes on the Internet just waiting to be tried—so be adventurous and try the ones that sound good to you. Homemade dishes are not only cheaper, but much healthier, too!

4) Use your slow cooker.

Many households blow their budget on Chinese takeout or pizza delivery because there’s no time to put dinner together. A slow cooker is not only a time-saver, but a cost-saver, too. It may require some planning ahead of time, but it will definitely help you avoid that sense of panic that arises when dinnertime nears and you’ve got nothing cooking.

5) Overcook.

There’s nothing shameful about serving leftovers to your family. Overcook a few days in a row and you’ll likely have enough leftovers for at least one full meal. If you’re coming home late (or won’t be home to cook for your family), the family can simply reheat the leftovers instead of settling for fast food or ordering in.

I highly recommend Plan to Eat for a great place to store all your favorite recipes! Check it out with a free trial and see how easy it is to add recipes from the Internet, plan meals for your family and even print out a handy grocery list.

Photo Credit: iClipart

Tasty Tuesday: Freezer Cooking

We’ve been freezer cooking for a couple of years now and I’m still amazed at how much more money we save on our budget by making up a bunch of meals in advance and then use menu planning based on our freezer inventory to plan each month’s meals.  Not only does it save us money because we’re not wasting food and we’re basing our freezer meals on what is on sale, but we also save a tremendous amount of stress around dinnertime because we have a plan in advance and we no longer waste time on “what do you want for dinner?” and “I don’t know, what do you want for dinner?”  Here are a few terrific freezer cooking recipes to help fill up your freezer with inexpensive homemade meals.

1) Slow Cooker Recipes

Stephanie at Mama And Baby Love lists some fabulous slow cooker recipes for the freezer including Healthy Mama BBQ Chicken, Stephanie’s Goulash, and Chicken Curry.

2) Breakfast Burritos

Money Saving Mom is one of my favorite blogs and Crystal always has terrific recipes that are both yummy and low cost like these Freezer Friendly Breakfast Burritos.

3) Teriyaki Chicken

We eat a lot of Teriyaki Chicken at our house and this is an excellent recipe for the freezer from Jaima at Ring Around The Rosies.  You’ll also find recipes for Savory Chicken, Lazy Day Stew, Sweet & Tangy Meatballs, and Sausage & Peppers on this page.

4) Homemade Freezer Pizza

Here’s another family favorite as shown by Crystal at Money Saving Mom – we like to buy our chicken in bulk then cook large batches in the crockpot that we dice and shred before freezing meal size packages.  We later thaw and use the chicken in pizzas, salads, quesadillas, soups, tacos and more.

5) Pizza Pockets

Amy at Amy’s Finer Things swears that these Pizza Pockets and her Pigs in a Blanket saved her summer!  With five young kids of my own I can easily see how having a freezer full of these would be a life saver and I’m definitely making a bunch very soon.

6) Mexican Casseroles

Joyful Momma’s Kitchen provides the list to her top five freezer meals including Layered Enchilada Casserole, Quesadilla Casserole, Wild Rice and Chicken, Goulash, and Potato Soup.

7) Crab Cakes

These Crab Cakes from Abbi at Once a Month Mom look absolutely scrumptious and are a great way to make expensive crab meat go a little further while its in season and be able to enjoy it off season too when the price is higher.

I highly recommend Plan to Eat for a great place to store all your favorite recipes! Check it out with a free trial and see how easy it is to add recipes from the Internet, plan meals for your family and even print out a handy grocery list.

Menu Plan Monday ~ June 11th

We’ve had record setting levels of rain over the weekend along the gulf coast and we’re having problems getting out down our six mile long dirt road which is no fun at all!  I’m very happy to have a freezer full of home cooked meals so I don’t have to worry about running out for any ingredients 😉

Monday – Spaghetti & Meatballs

Tuesday – Lemon Pepper Chicken

WednesdayBeef Fajitas

ThursdayOven Fried Parmesan Chicken

FridayDate night – dinner out!

Saturday – Club Sandwiches & Baked Fries

SundayChicken Nuggets

My meal plan is listed at OrgJunkie.com!

Menu Plan Monday ~ May 28th

Since the kids are out of school today and their summer camp starts tomorrow I’m taking the girls with me for a day out today while the boys hang out with daddy working on some yard projects.  The girls and I plan to hit a few stores and have a nice lunch then visit a friend before heading home.  I’ll be sure to share our shopping trips with you later!

MondayBaked Honey Mustard Chicken

TuesdayHomemade Freezer Pizza

Wednesday – Lemon Pepper Chicken

ThursdayChicken Fajitas

FridayDate night – dinner out!

Saturday – Rotisserie Sausage

SundayChicken Nuggets

My meal plan is listed at OrgJunkie.com!

Menu Plan Monday ~ May 21st

The kids are so proud to have harvested their very first big batch of green beans so we’re having our favorite Easy One Skillet Chicken Dinner for supper tonight!  It’s super simple to make and I’m sure the kids will eat the green beans since they had a hand in growing them.  I’m also looking forward to using some of our garden tomatoes with our tacos tomorrow night.

Monday – Easy One Skillet Chicken Dinner

Tuesday – Beef Tacos

Wednesday – Teriyaki Chicken Wings

Thursday – Sausage & Eggs (breakfast for supper)

FridayDate night – dinner out!

SaturdayBacon Wrapped Garlic Chicken

Sunday – Soup & Sandwiches

My meal plan is listed at OrgJunkie.com!

Menu Plan Monday ~ May 14th

Where did the first half of the month go?  It’s really moving fast and with just two weeks left of school for the kids I’m getting a little nervous about how to keep them entertained all summer.  It does seem like they’re getting off a little easy since they’re apparently already done with homework 😉

MondayEasy Baked Ravioli

TuesdaySlow Cooker Fajitas

WednesdayBaked Herb Chicken

ThursdayChicken Fried Rice

FridayDate night – dinner out!

Saturday – French Toast (breakfast for supper)

Sunday – Sandwiches

My meal plan is listed at OrgJunkie.com!

Menu Plan Monday ~ May 7th

I got home last night from a blogging conference over the weekend and was so tired I could barely move and now I have another meeting to go to tonight – it is weeks like this that make me SO happy to have a menu plan prepared in advance.  I’ve been planning our meals in advance based on what we have on hand and/or what is on sale for the week for almost two years now and I’m still amazed at how much time and money it saves us!

MondayOven Fried Parmesan Chicken

Tuesday – Spaghetti & Meatballs

WednesdayHashbrown Casserole

Thursday – Veggie & Ham Omelets (breakfast for supper!)

FridayDate night – dinner out!

SaturdayChicken Rollatini

SundayChicken Nuggets

My meal plan is listed at OrgJunkie.com!

Menu Plan Monday ~ April 30th

This week is going to be busier than usual since one kid has a dentist appointment, another has a doctor appointment and I’m leaving town on Friday for the Brandcation blogging conference.  It’s weeks like this that I am so grateful to have a menu plan and a freezer full of home cooked meals to choose from!  We save a bunch of money because we’re not trying to figure out what to have for supper on the way home from wherever, which made it too easy to stop and grab fast food.  We can even change our minds and mix or match the meals depending on how we feel or how the day is going because there is a list of options available.  If you haven’t tried menu planning yet I highly recommend that you look into it – it not only saves us money but also greatly reduces the stress level around dinner time.

MondayLemon Chicken

TuesdayHomemade Garlic Crust Pizza

WednesdayCrock Pot Honey Ham

Thursday – Crescent Wrapped Hot Dogs

Friday – HOHO (hubby’s on his own – I’ll be out of town)

Saturday – HOHO (hubby’s on his own – I’ll be out of town)

Sunday – Sandwiches

My meal plan is listed at OrgJunkie.com!