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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

What's the Magic Word?

There are a handful of things in this world that make me blush and give me legit butterflies.
I have to give props to my main man for being the source of most of them. As I sit here now, I can hear the song that was on the radio as he nervously leaned over and kissed me for the first time. Swoon. I can feel a little tremble every time.

There's a very tiny list of thoughts that can evoke a similar feeling.
Leonardo DiCaprio
Tom Hardy
Leo with a beard.
Tom with a beard... that pretty much sums up the list.
 Nope wait- there's one more thing.

There's one more thing that can make me feel a little lightheaded. It makes me giddy. I even feel slightly light on my feet.  It's actually two words. Two magic words...


I'm serious, ya'll! When I am putting all that work into making the list/menu each week (with or without anyone's help) I am sure to write in one night that's nothing but leftovers.

I work hard standing in that kitchen all week, sweating away, breaking my back in the oven, straining my muscles as I stir and knead....ok, it's not that bad- but it is still a lot of work.

So each week, I reward myself. This night is celebrated! I should consider getting a small red carpet that leads from the fridge to the microwave. Maybe I'll even have them take a few paparazzi style shots as I gently tilt the lid for venting while it cooks (These are all genuine possibilities, folks.)

OK, ok, so maybe there shouldn't be that much fanfare, but, man, it's a special night in my mind! The preparation is easy. The cleaning is simple. And probably the most important part to me (all joking aside) is that we are not wasting food.

Wasting food was a BIG no-no for me in our house growing up. When my mom made something for dinner, it was beautiful. We spent quite a bit of time remarking on how pretty the spread was. And then a few days later, part of that meal would make a cameo appearance in a new meal. Then maybe, just maybe, there was just enough left that it could morph into some type of casserole. (If the woman had cream of anything and ritz crackers, then by golly, we could have a casserole). And the invention of the freezer bag made it even worse! Now she could freeze something we didn't finish and SURPRISE!! a couple weeks later there it was again....damn those bags.

Now these same Empty Nesters, will cook a meal and let the remainder spoil in the fridge because "I already had that once this week.' or "It just isn't the same reheated".

Not in my house.

Actually, I want to share how we "manage" the leftovers. I know it may sound a little silly to say it that way, but it is something that you can't let get away from you. No one wants to take the lid off of the "fuzzy stuff" in the blue container. And no one wants to sniff the "mystery meat" to see if it has one more day in it. There's nothing more appetizing than hearing someone say. "Well, if you don't eat it, I'm just going to have to throw it away."
Really? Those are the options? My mouth or the landfill.....mmmmm...... #tasty

We have a pretty good system- what the heck, I'm going to say that we have a GREAT system that keeps food moving IN and OUT of the fridge in a way that shouldn't scare anyone.

When dinner is over. We use two types of storage containers. The main squeeze isn't here for dinner most nights, so we make a plate that is just like if he were at the table. It is divided into thirds and has a vent for steam on top. It's perfect. He takes that to work the next day. So he is usually a dinner behind us. But it's new to him.

Anything that didn't go into the "Dad Plate" goes into container that is only divided twice. It is a flimsier container- but it is going straight to a plate- so no biggie there. In those containers, we are making servings. (That's the key). We put the meat on one side and the starch on the other. It is just enough to be a meal if someone were to choose it for leftover night. Some nights we get two containers made like that- which makes it easier on leftover night because now the boys don't have to fight. (Nothing like needing a bouncer at the microwave)!

I think one of the things I used to do wrong was put all the meatloaf in one container and all the mashed potatoes in a different container. Then things get pushed around back there in the fridge and the two foods never end up pairing up again. But not this way. This way there are meals. And all they have to do is put the whole container in the microwave.
Since these are all in the same type containers, they are easy to stack in the fridge. Sometimes the stack gets higher faster than I had anticipated it would. When this happens, I have to institute an Emergency Leftover Night. Only I have the power to make that call. It's good to be in charge (sometimes).

I will show which ones we use to make this so easy.
These are the "Dad Plates". They work perfectly for his lunch box. The vent makes it easy to heat up his dinner. We picked these up at Wal-Mart, but they are everywhere. (These are very durable).
These are also from Wal-Mart. They only have two compartments. They are perfect for a meat and side. They are sturdy enough for the dishwasher, but also cheap enough that if anything does get lost back there in the depths of the fridge it won't break the budget to toss them out.
Having the distinct containers makes it easy on everyone. They know that anything in this container is "fair game" and Lord Grantham knows which one to put in his lunchbox in case I'm not here to pack it up for him. 

Believe it or not, I really don't have an issue with them when it is a leftover night.
 1)  For the most part, they eat what I cook. They have a say in the menu, so often times it's something they initially picked anyway. 
2) They like having the choices.

And I definitely don't have issues with it because:
1) I didn't have to cook anything new.
2) I didn't have to cook anything new.
3)I didn't have to cook anything new.

It's a win-win!! 
Seriously though, for us it's something that really works. Maybe you can use part of it to smooth out your week and even get a night off from cooking! Our system keeps us on track and keeps us from wasting a ton of food each week. It's also keeping me from breaking out the "cream of something and the ritz crackers"! :)

Enjoy your week.


  1. You always make me smile. I still visit blogs- I just wish I took the time to comment more!

    Dinner so nice, you gotta have it twice...


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