Reuse That... Pork Chop?

Leftovers.  We all have them.  They create clutter in our refrigerator, and in many cases, we forget about them until they grow fuzz, start breathing, and gain what just may be sentience.

As I made dinner tonight using leftovers from the previous two meals, I thought about just how much food we throw away.  It wasn't until about a year ago that I really realized just how bad I was about it.  I had a problem with having so many leftovers in the fridge that they would hide the leftovers before them.  Those leftovers would hide the ones before them, and so on.  It was one big, nasty circle of slowly decomposing and unrecognizable food.

I'm not sure quite what the food item was that caused my habit to change, but the image of it will forever haunt my memories.

The thing is, it's actually pretty easy, and economical to stop wasting food. Here are a few methods I use:

1.  Leftover Surprise! 

I pack each leftover food item into a separate container.  I'm not one for heating up whatever I ate the night before, so instead I let two nights go by, and stare at what's sitting in my fridge.  I blend it together into a new dinner using additional food staples to ensure there's enough for my family of three.  Some suggestions for this method of reuse are burritos, pot pies (Using biscuit mix instead of crust, just so I can be lazy), and casseroles.

2. Composting

All fruit or vegetable matter that I don't want to reuse, as well as any that I didn't get to use in time went into my compost bucket when I lived in the southwest. Now that I've moved I need to set up a new one.  I'm thinking about doing a full blown compost heap this time, since there's plenty of space in the back yard.  No, compost heaps aren't stinky.  At least, they're not stinky when you get the right blend of green matter, brown matter, and dirt.  More on that subject later...

3.  Animal or Vegetable stock

All of the edible portions of a vegetable can be used in stock.  Use skins, ends, and anything else that wouldn't go into your normal meal.  Freeze these by-products until you're ready to use them.  Adding bones from any beef or poultry is even better!   

With a little bit of creativity, the sky is the limit!  It's actually pretty easy to reuse food, and it saves money, as well.