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What to do with bento leftovers?

Do you waste a lot of food? What do you do with all the leftover bread after you cut out the shapes? These are the questions that I receive a lot when they see my bentos. So I thought I will share some of the ways to use up the leftovers from the bento-making.

1. For sauces & meat, I will try to freeze them in tiny portions so that when I need them, I do not have to defrost them entirely. I just take the amount that I need. So there will be no leftovers. Click HERE to see how I normally freeze my spaghetti sauce. If you don’t have the Lock-Lock box, the ice-cube tray will work too.  Also, check out Lunch in a Box  for a great write-up on freezing individual portions of meat.

2. Bread – this is probably the food item that I get the most leftovers.

  • Mommy’s breakfast!! : )  Since I prepare the bento in the morning, the leftover bread makes a great breakfast for me.
  • Croutons. This is what I usually do with the leftover bread. Cut them into little pieces and save them in a container for a couple of days. Then toss them well with olive oil, garlic powder, parsley or any herb that you like, lay them out on a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes or till golden brown. I usually just bake them in my toaster oven.
  • Bread Pudding. I am not a big fan of bread pudding but if you are, this is a great way to use up those bread.

3. Cheese

  • Macaroni & cheese – When I make macaroni & cheese, I don’t use the cheese powder that comes in the box. I usually use the cheese slices. So when I have leftover from cheese cutouts, this is usually where it ends up.
  • Cheese & Ham omelette – Add some leftover lunchmeat, you’ll have  a great omelette for breakfast.
  • Cheesy Nachos (check it out HERE)  – Since I mostly have cheddar cheese leftovers, I will add some mozarella cheese and mix them together. Lay a layer of nachos on the baking sheet, top off with the cheese and bake it in the oven for 5-10 mins or till the cheese has melted. Remove and serve with salsa and you will have a great mid-afternoon snack.

4. Lunchmeat

  • Mommy’s lunch!!  😛  Need I say more??
  • Omelette – As mentioned above, add lunchmeat & cheese and make a yummy omelette.
  • Quiche – Add some eggs, cream, bacon, spinach and you’ll get a yummy weekend breakfast.
  • Fried Rice – You can never go wrong with fried rice. Add lunchmeat and lots of vegetables for a great fried rice.

Phew, I think that’s all I can think about. If you are worried about wasting food in bento making, I hope that this list is helpful. Happy Bento-ing!! (Is there such a word?? :P)

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{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Elaina March 4, 2009, 2:58 pm

    I found your site through another blog and have been a silent reader for about a month now. I really love your bentos!! You’re so creative. I like the idea that you use your leftover cheese for mac ‘n cheese. My question is what type of cheddar cheese do you use? Sharp, medium or mild?

    I usually use either the medium or mild since my girl doesn’t like the strong cheese smell. But you can use any one that you prefer. Thanks for dropping by! 🙂

  • LCOM March 4, 2009, 8:03 pm

    What a great list! I guess most leftover cut out from the bread will end out in my tummy as well. Haha…

    I guess most mommies will end up eating leftovers anyway, bento or not, right? 😛

  • Art of Eating March 4, 2009, 8:28 pm

    Mommy will not let food go into waste instead will take them for themselves. So rewarding huh…

    :p

  • Rachel C March 5, 2009, 11:58 pm

    :)…very good tips, thanks for sharing

    You’re welcome!

  • Mike Foster March 6, 2009, 12:51 am

    I was raised to always eat everything my plate and what I couldn’t consume I always save for later. Leftovers, especially in these tight times, can be used in creative ways…this post was helpful.

    peace,
    mike
    livelife365
    Social Networking Blues

    Yes, leftovers can be very useful too.

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