Starting this blog came from a desire to see less food waste and less financial strain on families like yours and mine. I was finding that people, including myself, were throwing away perfectly good food in the days after being made simply because they were leftovers. I was also finding that pantries and freezers were lacking in precious real-estate due to items we were purchasing with no real intent to use. Or perhaps we were purchasing them for one recipe and the excess was left to linger for months, only to get thrown away later. Regardless of the reason, throwing away money and food became two realities I was no longer willing to live with.
For the Love of Leftovers mission
- to help families meal plan better in a way that actually works for them.
- to learn how to re-purpose leftovers into new, exciting meals.
- to put to use those seemingly random ingredients they’ve forgotten about in their pantry or freezer to use in everyday meals.
- to save money by using what they already have.
- to learn what they truly would need to stock up on in an emergency to ensure an arsenal of good taste for their family.
How to best navigate this website
You’ll find all our recipes are located on this page (click here). This is a simple way to see all our recipes at a glance and filter down based on your dish or it’s ingredients. You can also use the search bar located at the top of any page to find a recipe that suits your needs.
If you’re looking for recipes that repurpose leftovers specifically, we have a section for that. Each recipe post will include two recipes, which should make your meal planning a breeze. Each leftover recipe starts with a “step 1 recipe.” This recipe is what you would make first. Then the leftover recipe of my creation is noted as a “step 2 recipe”. The step 2 recipe uses the final product or the rest of an ingredient from that step 1 recipe, thus saving you money on excess ingredients or waste.
Example 1: Step one recipe is to make a side dish of mashed potatoes. Step 2 is to turn the leftover mashed potatoes into an appetizer dish of fried mashed potato balls.
Example 2: Step one recipe is to make a side dish of mashed potatoes that ends up using only half of the 5lb bag of potatoes. The step 2 recipe then provides you with the perfect clam chowder soup to use the rest of those potatoes.
Sometimes there is an ingredient that hides out in the pantry a little too long. While we tend not to throw it out, it certainly likes to mock us every time we go in there. So these particular recipe posts will focus on an ingredient found in your pantry that needs to be used. In these posts, we identify “the culprit”, aka the ingredient in your pantry, then create a delicious recipe to use it up.
Freezer recipes work in much the same way as the Pantry Essentials category. These recipes are designed to use up “the culprit” hiding in your freezer. The difference between these two categories is that they focus on the ingredient, where the leftover category focuses mostly on a previously finalized dish.
Example 1: A Pantry Essentials recipe would show “the culprit” as canned artichokes. The recipe that uses it up is a Spinach and Artichoke Chicken Bake you now buy artichoke hearts on purpose for!
Example 2: You purchased a large bag of frozen strawberries when they were on sale, months ago, and you keep forgetting about them. Those strawberries are now “the culprit”. But we’re going to set things right with making frozen Strawberry Limeade for the kids and a Strawberry Daquiri for mom!
Where to start
One of the easiest places to start is in your home. Start by taking an inventory of all you have in the house. Go through your refrigerator, freezer, pantry, cupboards – anywhere you have food hiding and purge. Get rid of food that is expired and donate food to a local pantry that you know for certain that even the best recipe couldn’t get your family on-board. Check out my blog post on purging your pantry for a video and more information.
Next, I would suggest you create a list, binder, or spreadsheet of go-to recipes you know your family loves. While we love every recipe that’s on this site, I’m not so high-and-mighty to think there may be a few here and there that don’t work for your family. Having a list of family favorites on hand ensures that everyone is kept happy throughout the week while you try out new recipes.
Finally, you’ll want to review your stock and start meal planning with our Modern Meal Planning System and delicious recipes! It’s important to be prepared for national emergencies (COVID-19), weather happenings (winter power outages), and other situations that throw a wrench in the mix (having babies, surgery, flu season, etc.). Click here and you can download my Pantry Planner for free, which includes a comprehensive list of items your family might need as well as a list of links to recipes all around the web to help you cook when you’re in the thick of it.
Between the Pantry Planner and the Modern Meal Planning System, you’ll be well on your way to saving time, money, and resources.