Old settlers used to say “Do you have gold in your pantry?” meaning “Anything to eat?” Food, water and shelter were big concerns as wagon trains moved across the Country, and at times fresh food was considered to be more valuable than a gold nugget.
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“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
Planned-overs are extra foods that are prepared when you cook a meal and then set aside to be used in future meals. This not only saves you time when cooking once for several meals, you save money by purchasing larger quantities and minimizing trips to the market. Here are some tips for using planned-overs:
- Make a calendar and plan meals for a week or longer
- Get the whole family together and make planning an important event.
- Choose recipes that are simple and allow for some ingredients to be made and stored.
- Search your pantry and plan to use those ingredients if possible
- Put labels on food needed for your planned meals. Indicate the date it is to be used. It can be frustrating when preparing a planned meal and discover that your tomatoes and cooked roast beef has disappeared.
- And finally, when you cook a double batch of food, divide the planned-overs, label, and store them BEFORE you sit down to eat the rest.
Here is an example of how we used planned-overs for a nearly “free” meal.
We had relatives over for a pot luck dinner and had enough food for another meal after they left for North Carolina.
- Lettuce with mushrooms, onions, avocado, and tomato was left by Aunt Wanda.
- Biscuits were made earlier from a Master Biscuit Mix.
- The ice cream in the biscuit sandwiches was purchased at Rite Aid for $2,75 with plenty left for 2 more desserts.
- Tomato soup was in the cupboard and we threw in planned-over rice and veggies before heating it up.
- The canned peas were also in the cupboard.
- And rounding out the meal is pulled pork in a BBQ sauce over biscuits. When we had company we served slow cooked BBQ pork and using those “leftovers” as a base, I sautéed onions and three bell peppers found in the refrigerator and added that to the BBQ pork. It was delicious and we still have some for lunch.Note:
This meal was not really a planned-over but we did have pre-cooked ingredients available to make it an easy dinner. And other than the ice cream, we spent no money.