Simple Green: Spice Up the Leftovers

01_16_09_leftovers.jpgHave you vowed, like us, to take your lunch more often and eat out less overall? Well, we are discovering some tips in our journey. Today, for instance, we noticed we were eating leftovers in a very roundabout way.

One thing we know from our history of taking lunches is that we didn’t ever want to finish last night’s soup or spaghetti. (This is most likely a result of childhood, where the word "leftover" connoted something we really weren't interested in!) We’re more prone to finger foods at lunch. So we’re learning how to keep the footprint small and still enjoy the impact. Consider it... Creative reuse for food. One big way we’re reducing our footprint this year is to cook (and eat) more locally and freshly. We’re trying--operative word, because we caved on ice cream--not to buy any processed foods (which led us to make our own granola bars and veggie stock this week). Cooking more at home inevitably means more leftovers, but we’re finding a fresh approach to next-day meals: little ways to shake it up.

One night we made soup with carrots, celery, and bacon. For lunch the next day, we had a bacon sandwich (with local goat cheese and organic pears on homemade bread!) and celery and carrot sticks with yogurt dip. Even though it wasn't a reheated soup dinner, it included almost all of the same ingredients. This meant we didn't have to buy any more, and less will end up in the compost pile.

The trick? Cook less for dinner and use your fresh ingredients to imagine up snazzy sandwiches or salads. If you've made a spicy stir fry, set some of the meat or tofu aside and toss fresh veggies together for an Asian-inspired salad. Having spaghetti? Save some sauce and make yourself a mini-pizza on a flatbread. Making enchilada casserole? Set some filling aside (think sauteed veggies, grilled chicken, black beans and cilantro) and make cold tortilla wraps the next day.

So far, it's helped us enjoy our midday meals a whole lot more!

Sandwich photo by superfloss via sxc.hu. Soup photo by Amber Byfield.

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