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How to use leftovers to save your sanity

I love cooking and eating homemade dinners.

I also don't have time to cook dinner everyday. I am not home until 6:30pm a few days a week. My kids take the bus at 6:30am, which means bedtime is 7pm at our house.

It's difficult to make dinner, eat dinner and help everyone with their things in 30 minutes.

So I'm learning to prepare ahead. This is hard for me because I prefer to "wing it!"

Last week I prepared ahead for the evening grind by batch cooking on Sunday. Batch cooking is intentionally making enough dinner for leftovers. I like to call it "cook once, eat twice (or thrice)." My sister calls it "leftover lane."

Whatever you call it, leftovers can save your sanity if you are a working parent with minimal weekday cooking time.

Can you count how many times I served leftovers last week in the following menu?


Lunch: chili (made a triple batch) + crackers + apples

Sunday dinner: ratatouille over polenta + bread + apple slices + green salad


breakfast: German pancakes + apple sauce/butter

Lunch: leftover ratatouille

Dinner: leftover chili + healthy cornbread + green salad + apple slices


breakfast: triple batch oatmeal pancakes

lunch: leftover pancakes + fruit

dinner: grilled salmon (no recipe, just grilled it for 6 minutes without any seasonings)+ leftover pancakes from breakfast


breakfast: no flour pumpkin muffins (Novembers cooking class!!)

lunch: leftover pumpkin muffins

dinner: leftover chili + baked potatoes + apple cake

note: we ate muffins for snack too and hardly had room for dinner!


lunch: leftover salmon + leftover chili (still lov'n the chili!)

dinner: broccoli cheese soup + bread from the store + apples


breakfast: egg strata (trialing recipe for January's class)

lunch: tortellini tomato + sausage soup (from our best bites, love this recipe!)

dinner: cheese quesadillas + leftover broccoli cheese soup


breakfast: shaped Halloween pancakes (blogpost coming later in the week)

lunch: leftover sausage soup + bread + apple slices

dinner: mushroom stroganoff over whole wheat egg noodles + canned pears


breakfast: pumpkin muffins, apple muffins

lunch: leftover sausage soup + leftover noodles from stroganoff

dinner: meaty lasagna (planning to eat leftovers for dinner Monday)

I used leftovers as the main part of my meal 12 times last week. I don't usually write in my breakfast and lunch menu because I don't want to bore you. But I included it this week to show you how leftovers can save your sanity.

I challenge you to make a double batch of something you love and serve it for dinner twice instead of just once this week. If you love leftovers, let me know in the comments!

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