It's not hamburgers, not hot dogs, not pizza.  It's not salad or spaghetti.  The most popular meal in America, according to a study by the Food Marketing Institute is:

LEFTOVERS.

We make an art of leftovers in our home and apparently we aren't alone.  With the tough economy, people are more selective about how often they eat out.  That means, they're working harder to make each dollar stretch at the grocery store.

Just to show you how it works in our home (to save time and money), here's what's on the menu this week.  Everything that is made from leftovers is highlighted:

  • Saturday
    • Marinated London Broil
    • Tabbouleh
    • Roasted Carrots and Onions
  • Sunday
    • Chicken Pot Pie with leftover chicken from Thursday night and leftover carrots and onions from Saturday
  • Monday
    • Cod baked in foil with leeks and carrots
    • roasted potatoes
  • Tuesday
    • Grilled wings
    • mac & cheese
  • Wednesday
    • Grilled Pork kebabs
    • Cole Slaw
    • Green Beans
  • Thursday
    • Big Salads using leftover London Broil, leftover cabbage
  • Creamy Lemon-Pepper Orzo with Grilled Chicken using leftover mean from wing night
    • Leftover tabbouleh
    • Steamed Broccoli from leftover big salads

Here is how we use leftovers in our home:

  • Buy meat when it is on sale (love some buy one, get one free) and plan the menu to accommodate these items.
  • Don't think of leftovers in terms of a whole  meal, break them into parts and re-image what you can do with them.  We had grilled chicken one night with corn on the cob.  The next night, we used that chicken in fajitas with the corn as a yummy salsa.
  • Leftovers can almost always be built into a soup, stew or other home favorite.  Get your imagination going!  We've use leftover cauliflower to mix with mashed potatoes for a healthier version of our favorite dish.
  • The most important part of our conservation of food:  plan it, do it and repeat!  We save (on average) 20% - 35% on groceries (compared to this time last year) just because we are more strategically planning what we make and what we eat.  This way, we buy more quality ingredients that get used and don't have to be thrown away.