|From Flickr's Muffet|
But that’s where leftovers come in. When applied carefully, they can:
- Reduce food costs, because you're not spending extra to eat out.
- Optimize the health quotient of your lunches (or any meal, really), by allowing you to control exactly what goes into your food.
- Eliminate packaging waste, since there's no need for restaurant meals.
- Decrease the time it takes you to prepare an office lunch – just pop 'em in your bag and go.
And to that, I proclaim, “What a bunch of hooey. Seriously now.” Leftovers are decidedly un-lame. In fact, they’re the universe’s way of saying, “Nice work with dinner last night, chief. As a reward, here’s some more of the same. And – bonus – this time, you don’t have to do as many dishes.”
The secret to successful leftover-ing is creating them intentionally. You can't look at them as an occasional bonus, but an almost-every-night inevitability. To make this easier, remember MSR:
M: Make more than enough
S: Save the extra
R: Repurpose it later
Make more than enough: Instead of cooking just what you need, make two or three times the amount. Never scale recipes down, even if you're cooking for one.
|From Flickr's Apreche|
Repurpose it later: Most likely, you'll be using the leftovers as straight-up lunches, with little or no alteration. But in some cases, you can save part of a meal to make into something entirely different later. The perfect example is Fried Rice, which uses leftover grains as a base for all-new flavors. Another example: last week, HOTUS and I ordered Mexican takeout. There wasn't much left beyond onions, peppers, and about a cup of enchilada sauce. This week, we combined them, added some pinto beans, scooped it on rice, and shredded some cheddar into the mixture for an excellent, 10-minute chili.
And that's it: MSR.
Readers, do you make leftovers intentionally? Do you consider them a vital part of your diet? How do you optimize their use? Fire away in the comment section.
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- The Brown Bag Brigade: Your One-Stop Shop for Work Lunch Ideas