I have a love-hate relationship with leftovers.
Most of the time, I really do love them. On the days I have way too many items on my to-do list and just don’t have time to cook – it’s great to just pull out leftovers to warm up and eat. But on the other hand, having a fridge full of little tid-bits of this and that? It makes my fridge look cluttered, which kinda makes me feel annoyed.
This, my friends, is what we call a ”first world problem.” Too many leftovers? So much food in my fridge that I can’t find what I’m looking for? So many people around the world long to have the “problems” I have.
When I have to slide all sorts of bowls and jars around in my fridge, just to find the peanut butter stuffed way in the back? It’s a waste of a good thirty seconds of my life.
Ooh, and you know what’s really annoying? When I make enough peas for each of us to have a nice serving. And then the last person leaves about 13 peas in the pan. Why? Just take the rest of the peas, for goodness sake! I do not want to find a little container for 13 leftover peas, and then put them into the fridge so that I can slide them all around when I’m looking for peanut butter. Likely, they’ll become forgotten and fuzzy because really? Who wants to take the time to re-heat 13 peas?
Oh to have the luxury of complaining about “all” the food in my refrigerator. I truly am thankful for all of the food on my shelves - even the container of 13 forgotten peas. I promise to always be grateful for the cluttery tid-bits.
(But really, if you are the last one to serve yourself at my house, and there are a few peas floating at the bottom of the pan, please, for the love of my sanity as I search for peanut butter, just put them on your plate and eat them already.)
And now for a real food recipe that costs a very small amount of money and uses up some of the leftovers that are taking up space in your fridge.
6 cups (give or take) leftover chili
2 cups water
4 cups whole wheat or rice pasta (any shape)
Sea salt to taste
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
In a large pot, bring chili and water to a boil. Add uncooked pasta. Cover and cook on medium heat until pasta is tender. Sprinkle in salt, according to your taste. Serve with shredded cheddar cheese sprinkled on top.
Estimated cost of this meal? About 65¢ per person. And that includes the peas. All of them - even the last 13.
*I calculated my cost based on the food sources and prices I have available to me. Most of the ingredients I use are organic. Your cost may be slightly more or less depending on where you find your ingredients.
If you are sick of chili, and don’t want to eat your leftovers immediately – simply spread this Chili Mac mixture into a 9×13 inch baking dish, top with cheese, cover, and freeze. Reheat another day.
I am happy to report that the day recently when I served Chili Mac, there were no leftover peas. But just in case, maybe I should come up with a recipe that uses 13 peas…
Looking for more meals on our Real Food Dollar Menu? Here are the recipes I’ve shared so far:
- Hearty Chili
- Spanish Rice
- Pasta Alfredo
- Crock Pot Barbecue Chicken
- Crock Pot Beef Stew
- Easy Chicken Pot Pie
Stay tuned for many more recipes and ideas for our Real Food Dollar Menu!
Are you a fan of leftovers? Do you sometimes find a few straggly uneaten peas in the pan?