A microbiologist at the University of Massachusetts recently developed a low cost battery that runs on, believe it or not, leftover food. Imagine:
Sunday night's mashed potatoes could charge the battery for the alarm clock that wakes you on Wednesday morning. The idea, while fascinating, remains experimental- and forsaken food as fuel is unlikely to ever become a major component of the power grid. However, it’s often worthwhile to find a way to squeeze some useful energy out of material that would otherwise go to waste.
Do you often watch helplessly as the fruits of your previous week’s culinary labor hide, untouched and unwanted on refrigerator shelves… until they finally reach the stage of the unidentifiable? Unless your family actually likes leftovers-and believe me you are blessed if they do!-throwing out perfectly good food is a waste of our precious time, energy and material resources.
It's Good for Your Wealth
Retaining our resources is a concern in the Torah. Many places in the Gemara address the importance of preserving one’s wealth. In order to preserve our energy, use our time wisely and safeguard our bank account, we have a commandment not to destroy things needlessly. Halacha dictates that we show respect for food by not stepping on it, throwing it or wantonly wasting it.
But what to do when you open the fridge, crowded with mismatched plastic containers and mysterious aluminum foil covered pans, and decide there is nothing appetizing in there? Do they ever stare back at you as if to say: “please enjoy me again?" With Planned Over recipes you will now be happy to proclaim, “I plan on it.”
Leftover Food, Fresh Ideas
Planned Overs combine staples in your pantry with those foods in your fridge destined to oblivion after their moments of stardom on your Shabbos or Yom Tov table. mashed potatoes become easy knishes, potato pancakes or a filler for kid-friendly salmon cakes. Brisket and chicken simmer together unattended with tomatoes and seasonings to make a rich Brunswick Stew.
Make a fritatta!
Add planned over chopped chicken and fresh vegetables to cold rice for Outrageous Fried Rice.
With a bit of planning, fajitas, stir fries and sauces emerge from your kitchen for weeknight meals that your non-leftover loving family will really enjoy.
It Really IS About Time
Today, women manage active households, hold down jobs and work tirelessly in our communities. Often, we feel that there is never enough time to get everything done or resources to accomplish the necessary, let alone the niceties. Planned Overs are one tool to help you make the most of your resources.
Whether you plan over, create a meal from scratch, or when your battery runs low and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich becomes the dinner entree, it's important to plan a sacred meal time, free from phone calls and fighting. Your table will always be worthy of royalty when the meal is kosher, brachos of gratitude are said aloud and a word of Torah is spoken.
When your plate seems just too full of responsibility and too scarce on time and energy, know you are not alone. Ask your loving Father to help you access your inner resource of strength, insight, or patience and may He help you to draw on them and guide you through.