In Praise of Leftovers: The Unsung Heroes of Meal Time

Let’s be honest, leftovers have been getting a bad rap for far too long.

If you’ve ever refused to carry home the remains of your meal or turned up your nose up at the sight of those lonely leftovers the next day, it’s time to rethink your relationship with leftovers.

Often relegated to the back of the fridge waiting for their moment in the spotlight, leftovers are often passed over and forgotten until way past their prime. Then they’re not good for anything except the landfill.

Leftovers deserve a place of honor in your fridge and on your table. It’s time to learn to love leftovers. The picture above is of repurposed brisket that’s been stuffed into a poblano pepper with melted cheese on top. What’s not to like?!


Top Five Reasons to Love Leftovers

Here are my top five reasons to embrace leftovers for the culinary champions they truly are.

1. Reduce Food Waste. Did you know that approximately one-third of all food produced globally is wasted? That’s like cooking a three-course meal and tossing one entire course straight into the garbage. This is not just bad for the environment in multiple ways, it’s a sad squandering of the labor, energy, and water that went into producing that food. Leftovers are the knights in containers ready to combat food waste one reheated meal at a time.

2. Save Money. Leftovers are wallet-friendly wonders. Eating leftovers means you’re making the most out of your grocery budget, reducing the need to buy more food or splurge on eating out. Enjoying last night’s dinner today is the ultimate trick for eating well on a budget.

3. Save Time. On a busy day, leftovers are a lifesaver. Having a meal ready to go means you can skip cooking and still enjoy a satisfying and delicious meal. What’s not to like about having more time in your day?

4. Enhanced Flavors. Many dishes improve with time. Soups, stews, and sauces often taste better the next day after their ingredients have had more time to meld together. That’s not myth, that’s science. Flavor molecules have more time to make their way around a dish the longer the dish sits.

5. EmbraceCreativity. Leftovers are the perfect canvas for culinary creativity.  Transforming leftovers into a new dish or adding a few extra ingredients to reinvent them can be a fun and rewarding way to experiment with flavors and textures.


Learn to Love Leftovers

Leftovers deserve your respect, admiration, and attention. So next time you find yourself with an extra serving of lasagna, remember: You’re not just saving a meal; you’re saving the planet, your time, and your money.

Let’s give leftovers the love they deserve and make every meal a round two worth celebrating.


Check out this article on How To Manage Leftovers Effectively.

And try these recipes with leftovers you may have lurking at the back of your fridge.

Vaca Frita – this is an easy and delicious Cuban dish that uses leftover roast.

Vaca Frita

A frittata is a great way to use up leftovers!

The Humble and Fabulous Frittata

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