Twice in the last few months, I have had a conversation with someone who says they don't like leftovers. They make sure they have just enough and no more when they cook and sometimes won't even do Thanksgiving, the big holiday of leftovers.
To which I say...whaaaaattt? Leftovers are a cook's..and an eater's..best friend. You should not only stop turning up your nose at leftovers when they happen, you should be planning for them when you cook. They make great lunches for the whole family and can even be surprisingly good as the base for other meals. And when 20 percent of all food produced ends up wasted, leftovers will save you money and help save the planet as well.
The most important thing in learning to love leftovers? Cook more. I mean, DUH, but I know, it can sound way too complicated. But making a double batch of something healthy that your family likes is not that much more work than you're already doing . You can each get a second meal out of it that way, and if there's enough left and it's freezer friendly....voila, homemade frozen meals at a fraction of the sodium and unpronounceable ingredients of the ones you buy at the supermarket.
Also, re-purposing leftovers can make them into something even more delicious. And no, I don't mean some scary casserole. Take a hearty stale bread and crisp it in the oven, then toss it with good olive oil, vinegar, basil and fresh tomatoes for a wonderful panzanella, or turn leftover roast pork into filling for spring rolls along with herbs, julienned carrot, scallions and whatever else you may like. Reheated meat can taste stale, but I find putting it in the oven on low wrapped in foil with just a little of the pan juices makes a lot of difference.
In order to save leftovers for other uses, we also follow the no cherry- (or cheese-, or chicken-) picking rule. That means you have to eat everything on your plate before you get seconds of any one thing. If you're so hungry you must have more food, you can eat the perfectly good broccoli on your plate before you hog three servings of the main dish.
Do you like leftovers for lunch? How do you use them?