The Frugal Table {Transforming Leftovers}

Being frugal is less about setting a dollar amount and more about a state of mind, don't you think? It’s not so much about doing all you can to not cross a certain financial line, but rather, to train your appetite to want what you already have. Simply put, I think frugality is more about doing the most with what you have than it is about having the most of what you can.

I remember this line from a Sheryl Crow song says:

It’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you’ve got.

My point is this: The goal really isn’t to just have more money. The goal is to be godly stewards of whatever God has given us; to make the absolute most of all of it with gladness.

With gladness. If we are honest, sometimes leftovers are not looked upon with gladness at the meal table. Perhaps the number 1 principle found at the Frugal Table is not to be wasteful; and yet, how do we want what we’ve got while enjoying variety?

With that in mind, I thought I’d share something super practical today: How to make one meal morph into another.

Morph--it’s a culinary term.

Here’s what I mean. Look at this menu:

Monday: Shepherd’s Pie Tuesday: Turkey Chili Wednesday: Huevos Rancheros with Hashbrowns Thursday: Loaded baked Potatoes Friday: Beef Tacos and Homemade Beans

Sounds like variety...but a lot of work and prep and new ingredients EACH day. (*For all you non-New Mexicans, Huevos Rancheros is a delicious layering of tortilla (usually corn) beans, fried egg, cheese, red or green chile sauce. I need to post a recipe sometime!)

Now look at this arrangement:

Monday: Beef Tacos and Homemade Beans Tuesday: Turkey Chili Wednesday: Shepherd’s Pie Thursday: Loaded Baked Potatoes Friday: Huevos Rancheros with Hashbrowns

What’s the difference? Here’s the menu with the tips for economy of time and $:

Monday: Save a portion of ground beef for Wednesday. Save portion of beans for Tuesday and Friday Tuesday: Save a portion of chili made with leftover beans for Thursday. Wednesday: With saved beef from Monday, make Shepherd’s Pie. Thursday: Save extra baked potatoes for Friday. Friday: Use leftover beans and leftover potatoes to make Huevos Rancheros.

This is just a quick example of how you can make this work. I chose a menu here that reflects budget and bulk items you may have around the house. Consider transforming leftovers with meals such as beef roasts to beef and vegetable stew; roast chicken to BBQ chicken sandwiches or chicken tortilla soup. Or how about preparing fajitas, with Chinese stirfry in mind? With a little forethought, there are endless possibilities for efficiency and frugality!

I leave you with this thought as you go off to plan your family's leftover makeovers: We train our families to think of frugality and not being wasteful through our own attitudes toward the practice of it. Our children will respond as we respond. If we desire for our families to come to the Frugal Table with gladness, we must prepare it and approach it with gladness as well!

Be blessed today!