I hate throwing away food. I really, truly do.
But most likely, it’s because I’m…um…cheap.
Every spoon of corn or handful of salad dropping into the garbage disposal feels like money going down the drain. So, whatever my constantly-hungry children don’t eat gets saved. And although I usually schedule leftovers into our meal plans, sometimes I end up with an unusual assortment of odds-and-ends littering the refrigerator shelves.
When the fridge reaches full capacity with tid-bits of food needing used up, I know it’s time to get out the muffin tins at lunchtime. My two younger kids have always loved muffin tin lunches. For some reason, odd combinations of small amounts of food brings joy to my children’s hearts.
An Easy and (Almost) Free Lunch
Simply line the cups with muffin papers and start cleaning out the pantry and fridge.
I trim the brown off the half-eaten apple, chop up the last three bites of chicken, and divide up that baggie of elbow macaroni from dinner two nights ago.
I’ll search the pantry, too. Why is it that there’s always a package of crackers with only four broken pieces left and a box of cereal with just half a handful in the bottom?!?
Well, instead of dumping it all into the trash (an unbearable thought), I’ll throw it in the muffin tins. I usually finish off the collection with some ranch dressing and a spoon of peanut butter, both for dipping.
By the time lunch is over, I have two happy kiddos and a clean fridge, with no food (or money!) being tossed in the trash. A win-win!
This post has been updated and republished from the archives.