There is an image of the 1950s housewife, complete with her red and white ruffle apron, presenting her husband a nice roast fresh from the oven after he has returned from work and had time to read the paper.
Obviously, we are now far from those days; in many families both parents work and the six o’clock hour is a busy one filled with tired, hungry kids and parents stressfully finding a way to put dinner on the table quickly. Even if one parent stays home, life can be busy with extracurricular activities and other events. While there are pre-made foods you can buy to feed your family, it is healthier and cheaper to make your meals from scratch. By utilizing intentional leftovers, you can present a healthy dinner quickly, making both your budget and your family happy.
Intentionally using leftovers only requires a bit of advanced planning. Often, you can do the prep work on the weekend, making weeknight meals even quicker
Buy a rotisserie chicken on Sunday afternoon and remove all of the meat from the bone. That night, place all of the bones and extras in a slow cooker with 10 cups of water, 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks, 6 cloves of garlic, a quartered onion, and a squirt of lemon juice. Let it cook over night and strain in the morning. Put the broth in ice cube trays to freeze for quick, homemade chicken stock.
For one meal, simply mix some chicken with salsa, heat and serve on tacos with cheese, lettuce and tomatoes. This meal can be on the table in less than 15 minutes, and it is cheap.
Later in the week, make a simple tortilla soup. Saute a diced onion, diced red pepper and garlic in olive oil and then add the chicken, some of the chicken broth, frozen corn, black beans, a can of diced tomatoes and spices such as cumin, red pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes and serve.
One morning, place a pork tenderloin in the slow cooker along with diced sweet potatoes and a diced onion. Add a can of diced tomatoes mixed with some brown sugar. Pour over the tenderloin. When you come home, you have a complete meal waiting for you. Save some of the pork for later in the week.
A few nights later, simply mix the shredded leftover pork with bbq sauce and heat on the stove. Serve the pulled pork on buns with the side of your choice.
These examples are just a few of the infinite possibilities. Eating healthy, homemade food doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive. Take a little time on the weekend to do some prep work, always plan your first meal with an idea of how you want to re-purpose your leftovers for another meal, and take advantage of your slow cooker. You may not be cooking for hours as a 1950s housewife might have, but you will still be able to feed your family nutritious meals in about as much time as it takes to go through the drive thru.