Stay Connected

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Yesterday's Lunch: Letting Nothing Go to Waste

Since I don't plan to spend as much as usual on groceries for this month, I am making use of every leftover that is possible. For breakfast yesterday, I had the leftover serving of potato casserole that one daughter didn't finish. Usually, I won't eat someone else's leftovers. You know, germs and all of that. But hey, we are family, she did grow inside of me long ago. So, to get over the hurdle of "germs," I changed the casserole serving into a fried potato dish. Quite good. Lunch, though, is really where I excelled at using the leftovers.

This is what I used from our assortment of leftovers for my lunch yesterday. On New Year's day we had a ham dinner with asparagus (and that potato casserole). When I prepare asparagus, I break the bottom of the stems off at the tender point. This is the portion that many people discard. At almost $3 per pound, I was not about to throw these pieces away. So I saved the tough ends of the stems in a plastic container in the fridge.

Yesterday, I peeled the tough ends and was able to salvage all but the bottom half to one-inch of each stem after peeling. That bottom bit was still too tough to cut through easily, so those bits went into the compost, figuring their stringiness would be unappetizing.

Still, I had a nice pile of asparagus ends to steam and accompany my lunch. Going back further on the calendar, Christmas Day dinner was homemade pizza. I had mixed up a pizza sauce for the occasion, using herbs, seasonings, and tomato paste. There was a small container of this leftover sauce lingering in the fridge. Pushing the limits with how long to keep something, I wanted to use this up right away.

I took 3 whole English muffins from the freezer and made 6 mini pizzas for my week's lunches. I also used more of the wrinkly green pepper plus sliced olives that were lingering in the fridge to top the pizzas. There was also a bit of soft tofu leftover from our tofu and chocolate pie dessert on New Year's day. The tofu was bought on markdown and was past its expiration date, so I knew it was use it or lose it time. I melted a small amount of chocolate chips in the microwave and pureed the tofu with the chocolate, adding in some honey and vanilla extract for a creamy chocolate dessert.

My lunch made use of several of the lingering foods in our fridge, and it was very delicious, to boot!


  1. Good job with your saves. No waste and tasty, too.

  2. good job! I love it when others are mindful of not wasting food like me. I use everything and waste very very little. Bones and fat from meat are thrown away only after they broth has been made. It tends to be very little. The biggest waste is that I pay for garbage pickup and only have one little bag in the cart. The garbage company is making money off from me!


    1. Our garbage company lets us purchase bags rather than using the bin and we only put the bags out when they are super full--it does save us money--is that an option with your company?

      Avoiding waste must be on my mind. I dreamed last night that I forgot to refrigerate a slice of pork loin and I was going to have to throw it out and I was mad at myself about that!

    2. Hi Alice,
      I understand the frustration of paying full price to have so little hauled away. Does your garbage pickup service offer a once per month, pick-up at a discount? Ours offers once per month at about half the cost of weekly. We did once per month for about twenty years and saved almost $2000 in total. Just a suggestion.

  3. I love it when leftovers can make a great meal! I find lunch is the easiest time for me to use up leftover bits and bobs, too.

    1. Hi Shara,
      I agree, lunch seems to be a good time for keeping leftovers in check. It's easy to forget about those odds and ends when family members (me included) are planning dinner.

  4. I'm going to have to try this with asparagus ends. I have saved them in the freezer before to make cream of asparagus soup-which I never make-only to compost them later. This might be a more useful and practical option. Thank you for the good idea Lili!

    1. Hi Lynn,
      I'm glad to share this. You can either peel the ends when you serve the asparagus, the first time around, or save them for using later in the week. Asparagus is so pricey and does not grow well in our garden, so I try to make the most of what I pay for.


Thank you for joining the discussion today. Here at creative savv, we strive to maintain a respectful community centered around frugal living. Creative savv would like to continue to be a welcoming and safe place for discussion, and as such reserves the right to remove comments that are inappropriate for the conversation.


Be a voice that helps someone else on their frugal living journey

Are you interested in writing for creative savv?
What's your frugal story?

Do you have a favorite frugal recipe, special insight, DIY project, or tips that could make frugal living more do-able for someone else?

Creative savv is seeking new voices.


share this post