I am a HUGE fan of planning ahead!  I love to make monthly menus so that I know what we are having when and so that I can plan around any special needs and occasions for the month (see my post on Menu Planning here).  I am not really into monthly cooking or making double batches and freezing. That said, I am a huge fan of making sure that we don’t waste food.

I found out some time ago that freezing rice and pasta is simple and it works.  I do not freeze the kinds with sauces already on them but I always freeze the plain stuff.

Let’s say that I make rice and chili for dinner one night. After all the chili is gone, there is still a cup or so of rice left over.  That rice goes into a bowl in the freezer where I store leftover rice.  It’s not a special container or anything, just a washed out large butter bowl with a lid.  I have one in the freezer for leftover rice and one for leftover pasta. Whenever you want to use the rice, simply defrost and reheat in the microwave.  Simple!

I do the leftover pasta the same way ( but not with any kind of sauces on it, just plain pasta).  Leftover plain spaghetti is great to store in the freezer!  Every once in a while I don’t need to make a full meal for everyone, maybe just the kids need to be fed.  I just take out the frozen spaghetti and dump it in a pot of hot water and let it come to a boil.  Then drain and use and usual, adding pasta sauce or whatever.  Talk about convenience food!  So easy and quick and it keeps you from wasting food!

 

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I know I have posted before about leftovers and also about making a monthly menu plan.  Today when I was cleaning out my fridge and taking inventory of the freezer so I could plan my menu for August, it occured to me that I left out a clever tip I use every week.

When I clean out the fridge, I take all of the leftovers out and go thru all the shelves making sure everything in there is fresh and edible.  I put the leftovers on the counter and throw away the stuff that is no good.  Often I still have some leftovers that are only a day old or so and I am not willing to throw away good food.  Because the leftovers have been in the fridge for a day or two, my family does not “see” them there.  Kind of like if you open the fridge for a glass of water and the milk is on the same shelf, you just don’t really “see” it there.

To combat this, I repackage my leftovers, taking them out of the current container they are in and putting them in a different container (or even a storage bag) and then place them back into the fridge on the leftover shelf (the bottom shelf in our fridge is where all the leftovers are kept).  That way when the family opens the fridge and looks around, they see a different container in there that was NOT there this morning and it catches their attention and are more likely to eat it.

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