Wednesday, June 8, 2016

List: Ten ideas to save your barbecue leftovers from the trash.

I love to entertain.  I love barbecues.  And I love me a good celebration!  Therefore, it shouldn't be a surprise that we're planning for multiple BBQ bashes this summer.  As much as I love to throw a good party, I hate to throw away money.  This could be a problem because any good barbecue is going to come with lots of leftovers.  ...and when the leftovers go in the garbage, so does your hard earned cash!

I try not to serve an insane amount of food, but I always feel the need to make more.  It's impossible to gauge other people's hunger and you always want your guests to have options.  Not to mention, you always need to be prepared for unexpected guests and the occasional spill.  No matter the reason, in the end leftovers will appear despite all of your meticulous planning.  As long as you have a plan for those leftovers, this is totally OK.

ten ideas to save your barbecue leftovers from the trash, ten ways to save leftovers from the garbage

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Ten ideas to reduce waste from a BBQ.

1.  Barbecue as you go.
Let's start with the basics.  Don't throw too much meat on the grill.  Barbecue as you go and throw the remaining meat back in the freezer.  Certain meats taste best when eaten right away which is the perfect excuse.  Additionally, most barbecued meats aren't really something you'll want to have the next day unless you like dry, dead meat.

Idea:  Instead of asking "who else is hungry?" which may imply that you don't want to cook anymore, try saying "How do you like your burger?".  This is eliminates the possibly on unintended implications.

2.  Keep the dessert menu small.
Guests typically will bring a dessert to the party.  Keep this in mind, and only prepare one or two desserts to put out.  I typically go with one sweet dessert and one fruit salad.  Another favorite dessert for a BBQ is Friendly's Wattamelon Roll.  It's the perfect dessert to end a hot, sunny end.

3.  Start the next morning with an omelette.
Save your leftover vegetables for a delicious omelette the next morning.  I love doing this with leftover peppers and onions or my famous sauteed mushrooms.  Leftover beans?  That would go great with a cheese omelette.  The possibilities are endless.

Idea:  Do you love the idea but not the extra work?  Invest in an inexpensive omelette maker like this one for a perfect egg every single time.  Just scramble some eggs with your leftovers, pour it in, and wait for it to cook through.  It also makes a great gift, just sayin..

4.  Serve the salad with dressing on the side.
Serving a salad with the dressing on the side does two things.  First, it's more likely be eaten by guests since you aren't limiting consumers to those who like the dressing.  Second, your leftover salad will be more likely to last another day for an easily prepared lunch.

5.  Store leftovers in portioned containers for lunch.
This one is a triple savings.  You're saving your leftovers,not spending extra cash for lunch, and you're saving time meal prepping your lunch for the week.

Idea:  I use these Rubbermaid containers almost daily and they've lasted over three years.  They survive microwaving, heavy cutting, and being washed in a dishwasher.  This 42 piece set have already paid for themselves ten times over.

6.  Double them up for a dinner.
Do you have 5 burgers left but need 10 for a family meal?  Pick up 5 more on the way home.  I'll never forget the day my father tossed out some leftovers because it wasn't enough for a full meal.  All he had to do was make a smaller portion to eat along with the leftovers.  I mean, I get it takes time, but what about your money?

7.  Serve leftover dessert buffet style at work.
Anytime coworkers leave their extra dessert in the kitchen at my job, it disappears in minutes.  Aggravated that you aren't eating it?  Be grateful that at least someone is enjoying it and you were saved from those empty calories.

8.  Utilize your freezer.
There are so many things that can be frozen including vegetables, cakes, and breads.  If you can't or prefer not to eat the leftovers right away, you'll be surprised at how many things can be stored in the freezer.  I love to freeze cheesecakes that way I have a dessert that defrosts quickly when I get unexpected guests.

9.  Make creative meals with leftover fruit.
Mix your fruit salad into your morning's oat bran.  Bake it into a pie or fruit tart.  Blend it into a smoothie.  Stir it into plain yogurt for a parfait.  Get creative, but there are lots of nutritious ideas that you can use or fruit for.  Or, just eat it plain like I like to do.

10.  When all else fails, hand out doggy bags.
If you know there is something that you absolutely will not use, just give it someone who would.  There's no point in wasting valuable fridge space on something that you know will end up the trash.  Pass it along to one of your guests so that they can enjoy it.

Idea:  This pack of 50 food containers is cheap enough to give away with your leftovers.  You don't have to worry about missing containers and they don't have to worry about returning it.

What do you do with your leftovers?


  1. Well, we don't host BBQs but I'm all about all of these! And I love leaving my parents' house with leftover BBQ food for the week. I think properly planning meals and utilizing your food is something I've gotten pretty good at the last couple of years. Because you're right, lost food = lost money. I like the idea of grilling as you go, I hadn't really thought about that!

  2. BBQ doggie bags. Sounds like a great name for a fast food joint lol I eat the same thing over and over, so no waste for me. If at a bbq, which is rare, I just don't eat. Easy peasy.

  3. Just invite my dog, she'll gladly eat any unwanted food.

  4. Good tips. I used to entertain a great deal. I often sent food home with friends and neighbors. One time I had a couple of leftover party platters from a big Christmas open house. We kept them cold and as soon as the guests left, we called the Salvation Army and offered the food to them. They were pleased to accept. Of course, not every type of food can be given away in such a manner.


  5. I don't think I've ever had food leftovers.... for me, throwing away food, is unacceptable and unimaginable, not just because I had hungry years in my life... but because all the hungry people around us... I could just never throw away anything... I will always use it, or feed the cat... or save it somehow....

  6. My husband never wastes food and comes up with all kinds of "creative" meals with leftovers. Some are good, some not so much.

  7. I'm a big fan of bringing food to work to share with others. I hate throwing food away. Such a waste!


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