Sometimes I blog about cooking. And I think people may get the impression that nearly every day I'm in my kitchen, making some gorgeous, amazing meal. Um, not quite.
Honestly, I usually only do "real cooking"--and by this I mean, get down to business making a main dish from my meal plan (usually with a recipe)--a couple of times a week, if that. In between, we sometimes have hastily-thrown together meals like burritos or canned soup or chicken nuggets...and we very, very often have...
I am a passionate fan of leftovers. Yes, we often even have the exact same main dish two days in a row. (If it's extra good and made a lot, occasionally even THREE days in a row...though that's pushing it!)
Sunday I made Grilled Chicken with Tomato-Avocado Salsa. Yep, a "real meal." It looked better than it tasted, but overall it was decent. I purposefully made twice as much chicken as we'd eat in one meal. I will admit I may end up tossing the leftover salsa--a waste, but it was rather bland.
Monday I chopped up some of the extra chicken and made Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup, which is a recipe I come back to over and over (easy, cheap, and super duper delicious.) I hadn't put it on my menu plan; I just happened to have enough ingredients for half a recipe (which still makes a lot), and so I made it. (By the way, I add corn to it, and this time I topped it with avocado, cheese, low fat sour cream, tortilla chips & shredded cabbage.) Quick, easy, and a hit with The Engineer.
Tuesday we had leftover soup. It was still fantastic the second time, though we'd run out of tortilla chips to top it with. The kids preferred to eat canned soup. Because they're crazy.
Wednesday, I used the rest of the chicken in a pasta salad, which we'll have tonight too.
So, one meal with "real cooking" where I actually cooked meat and made a recipe I'd specifically shopped for...and four meals using leftover chicken. I'll admit, it's very rare for me to stretch a "real cooking" meal this far! But it's nice that it's working out that way, this week.
I have a hard time having patience with the concept of "not liking leftovers." It just seems like such a waste--not just a waste of food, but a waste of time--to make a whole new meal every night! As for the "boring" side of eating the same meal twice in a row, let's be honest--this is a consumer mentality that is worth examining. In many countries, they eat the same foods every day. If you were in Asia living on $1 per day, would you be sighing, saying, "Oh no, not rice again!!!"? And most meals are still good a few days days after you make them, so you can even stagger leftovers if you want to.
If it works for your family to make new meals daily, that's fine. But if you don't like having to think so hard, every day, about what's for dinner...it might be worth having a good, honest household discussion about the merits of leftovers...lovely leftovers!