(sorry for crummy picture quality. This was taken without intention to be seen by anyone, but alex)
I've mentioned it before, but we live off leftovers over here. I typically plan a few possibly-maybe meals in my head for the week and then go on my cravings or Marlowe's mood and cravings. I'll tell you, I'm pretty lazy when it comes to running to the store to pick up one or two things. I like to make one big trip every one to two weeks and work with what I've got. Also, I've noticed our bill goes higher with the quick "let me run and get this" days and weeks---- because every time we run in to get one thing---- we tend to grab 3-4 extra things we could have lived without. I wrote this post---- an organic/vegan shopping list... over two years ago. By planning out a few meals, living off leftovers, and re-working leftovers, I was saving quite a bit of money while still eating organic. Things have changed a lot in that two and a half years. We've added a carnivore to our household and a growing, super (snack) hungry toddler. While our vegetable, grain, and basic need list/prices have stayed basically the same.... by adding extra fruits, dried cereals, packaged yogurts, the occasional box of cookies, coffee, and egg and dairy products, I've seen a HUGE increase in our shopping bill.
We're actually currently in the process of over-looking our spending to see where can we cut back and save more--- and our food list is top on the list to be re-worked. In the meantime (and for forever), I'm still leftover queen. Because leftovers, sometimes as boring and as purposely overlook-able they may seem---- are still a huge way to save money and a great chance to sometimes make something new. Sure sometimes it takes work, and some food maybe not have the same loved consistency the next day----- but realistically: soups and sauces taste better the next day, eating leftovers removes an opportunity to waste, and sometimes it can be fun to put your creative mind to work to create a whole new dish. (think of yourself as a top-chef contestant if you'd like ;)
You've seen these images before, but here is what I did last week. Marlowe wanted pizza. We made a basic sauce. Basil, onion, garlic, canned tomatoes. The next day, we wanted soup, Alex recommended a tortilla soup, I made a creamy tortilla soup. I used the leftover sauce and water as a base/broth. With carrots, a pepper, celery, more onion, spanish herbs and spices, and tortillas. When storing the soup after the meal, the extra corn made it in pot. The next day I cooked down the soup, added more corn, added more indian spices (to the oregano, cumin, basil, and chipolte, and paprika that were there) and let chickpeas simmer and served over rice. And tada! One base sauce, three meals. Food can be overwhelming when starting out (I didn't even try to start cooking until I was 22--- I was a mock-meat/pizza/french fry-atarian before then) but once you get down a few basics and spice combo, meals can be fun and easy (and all these were SUPER quick too!).
Happy creative money saving leftover eating, friends :)