Money-Saving Challenge #1: Turn Leftover Food into Delightful Meals

Food.

What are your goals this 2018? Do you want to travel more or buy a car? Or get your own place, perhaps? It is nice to have these goals for they set the tone, the direction that will inspire and motivate you. But what this ultimately means is that you need to be wiser when it comes to managing your finances. You have to start saving more.

There are many money-saving ideas out there. Each of them requires a certain level of commitment and dedication. They can be as simple as making your own coffee rather than buying at a coffee shop, to the more extreme such as automatically saving 30% (or more) of your monthly income religiously and without fail.

If your goals include life changing ones such as getting your own condo, you’d have to start somewhere, and you’d have to start soon. Start saving today by doing a simple change: recycle leftovers and turn them into delicious home-cooked meals. Beat your cravings and stop spending too much on fast food. Apart from saving money, you also don’t add to the already alarming statistics of food wastage all over the world. You would be surprised at the huge returns this will make on your weekly and monthly savings.

Leftover food doesn’t have to taste awful. They can be as appetizing and tasty as freshly-cooked ones. Here are a few samples.

 

1. Fried rice or Korean Bibimbap

stir fried rice

Turn leftover rice into fancy fried rice. Photo courtesy of takedahrs via Pixabay

You can never go wrong with fried rice. The thing with rice is you never quite know how much you’ll actually cook. It’s either you’ll cook an insufficient amount or end up cooking a little bit too much. In the event there would be leftovers, stir-fry rice for the next day’s breakfast. Make it extra special by throwing in excess bacon or ham and a few veggies.

To satisfy your Korean cravings, you may also make your own version of Bibimbap, a specialty meaning “mixed rice.” Mix rice with some meat and vegetables such as mushrooms and carrots at the side, and top with sunny-side up egg. You can throw in some hot sauce if you wish.

 

2. One-pan casserole dishes

potato casserole

Explore the ease of cooking one-pan casserole. Photo courtesy of RitaE via Pixabay

You can turn almost any meat — beef, pork, or chicken — into a one-pan casserole meal. For example, chicken casserole may be achieved using very basic sautéing and baking skills. Just add onions, garlic, and mushroom in a pan of heated olive oil. Add leftover shredded chicken meat then add cream of mushroom soup and all-purpose cream. After 15 minutes, transfer the mixture to a baking dish covered with mashed potatoes, butter, and cheese. Bake in an oven pre-heated to 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Now, who would think this warm home-cooked meal was made from leftovers? You can use any meat you have left from a meal.

 

3. Stir-fry meat with veggies

stir fried meat and vegetables

Add wonders to leftover meat by adding vegetables. Photo courtesy of Zichrini via Pixabay

One of the easy recipes anyone can do is a stir-fry dish. If you have leftover meat, just sauté it with garlic and onions. Add spinach, basil, pinch of salt, and some pepper or chili sauce for that extra kick. Stir-fry dishes are best paired with rice and are perfect to bring to the office. They are fuss-free to prepare and they feel light, too. This is the perfect on-the-go packed lunch for professionals and one of the easy cooking recipes for beginners.

 

4. Meat and sausage stew

sausage stew

Another way to make leftover meat fancy is to make it a stew. Photo courtesy of annemelbydahl via Pixabay

Beef stew is a comfort food, but it can sound a little intimidating. If you have beef or even pork leftovers, you can just add some sausage for minimal prep work. Throw it in tomato sauce and mix with carrots, string beans, and potatoes. Garnish with celery or parsley. Serve it hot with rice for a truly comforting meal.

 

5. Wrap it up

chicken vegetable wrap sandwich

Left over food work good with flour tortilla wrapper for tasty snack. Photo courtesy of pzphone via Pixabay

Another easy recipe for meat leftovers is to wrap it up in tortilla wrapper. Cut pork, chicken or beef in cubes and mix with some lettuce, tomatoes, and onions. Drizzle mayonnaise or any other dressing you like. You may also use leftover ham during the holidays. Wrapped meals are perfect to-go snacks that aren’t only easy to prepare, but also filling and healthy. If you are not a fan of wrapped meals, you can just make a sandwich instead.

 

6. Pasta fritters and frittata

Too often that there’s not enough sauce for the pasta you prepared. The result is you have leftover cooked pasta that goes straight into the trash bin. Next time you have leftover pasta, turn them into fritters or a frittata.

For fritters, toss pasta with beaten eggs then fry.  Flip once crisp on either side. Top it with fried egg. For a frittata, sauté noodles in olive oil until crispy. Add beaten eggs and cook until set. Top it with cheese and broil until brown.

You can also treat leftover pasta like leftover rice. Stir fry pasta in olive oil, chopped veggies, and ham or meat. Drizzle some soy sauce to taste. Voila, stir fry noodles.

 

7. Fruit smoothies and desserts

banana apple and milk

Combine fruits and milk and turn them to tasty drink. Photos courtesy of ImagesBG via Pixabay

For leftover fruits such as bananas, mangoes, pineapples, and apples, you can make healthy desserts and smoothies. This is way better than leaving ripe fruits to rot. In the morning, a banana apple smoothie will surely get you pumped up. Just combine fruit slices with skim milk. It is also a great post-workout snack.

If you are into baking, a banana bread will be good to go in just 20 minutes. Add some oatmeal and berries for a healthier treat.

Embracing condo living requires commitment and a lifestyle change. You have to want it bad. And you have to prepare for it by challenging yourself to save up more, without necessarily giving up the essentials of the good life.

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