Loving Leftovers: Delicious Recipes to Stretch Your Senior Budget

Loving Leftovers: Delicious Recipes to Stretch Your Senior Budget

How do you feel about leftovers? Some people don’t like them at all and refuse to eat them. And that’s a shame, because leftovers can taste even better the next day! Sitting in the fridge gives those delicious dishes the time to blend and marry their flavors, leading to a more complex taste the next day. And besides that, who doesn’t love to have a home-cooked meal that only requires re-heating? Getting dinner on the table with very little work may actually be the best part about leftovers.

As you walk into the kitchen to make these hearty meals, remember that an emergency button alarm for seniors makes a great kitchen companion. The National Council on Aging points out that 60% of all falls among the elderly occur at home, and many of those falls happen in the kitchen.The kitchen is a place where water spills are common, the floor might be slick, and you might be distracted by doing many things at once. Take some time to choose the in-home or mobile medical alert necklace or bracelet that is right for you, and then pick your favorite recipe out of the bunch. You’ll love the feeling of safety and protection just as much as the leftovers!

Hearty Meatloaf

No list of great leftover recipes would be complete without this classic staple. Dress it up by finely chopping any vegetables in the fridge to incorporate into the mix. Even bits of zucchini or broccoli will work just fine!

This comes together in a snap.

·        1 large onion, cut into small pieces

·        1 large bell pepper, cut into small pieces

·        1 tall stalk of celery, cut into tiny bits

·        1 tbsp. olive oil

·        5 tbsps. reduced sugar ketchup, divided

·        2 tbsps. Worcestershire sauce

·        1 tbsp. whole-grain mustard

·        2 tsps. smoked paprika

·        1 tsp. garlic powder

·        1 large egg, lightly beaten

·        ¾ cup dry whole-wheat breadcrumbs

·        2 pounds lean ground beef (ground turkey or a mixture of ground beef and ground pork may be substituted)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.

Finely chop the onion, bell pepper, and celery until they are in small pieces. You can also put them into a food processor to break them down even further. This might be a good idea for those who have difficulty with chewing.

Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet. Add the veggies and cook until they are fragrant and tender. Transfer them to a large bowl.

Add 2 tbsps. ketchup, Worcestershire, mustard, paprika, and garlic powder to the vegetables. Stir to combine the flavors. Stir in the egg, breadcrumbs, and the ground beef. Use clean hands to mix it all together. Pat the mixture into a loaf shape and place it in the center of the rimmed baking sheet.

Spread the remaining ketchup on top of the meatloaf.

Bake the meatloaf for about 45 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the center reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Let the meatloaf rest for several minutes before slicing it.

Loaded Chili

This is another recipe that is absolutely loaded with veggies – thus the name! Since the veggies will break down so well in the long and slow heat of this dish, don’t worry about cutting them into the finest pieces; instead, you might like the bite of a larger bit. Remember that you can add all sorts of things to this chili, so don’t hesitate to use up whatever is in your fridge.

·        1 tbsp. olive oil

·        3 cups chopped onions

·        2 cups chopped bell peppers

·        3 cloves minced garlic

·        2 pounds lean ground beef (ground turkey may be substituted)

·        1 cup reduced-sodium beef stock

·        1 14-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes

·        1 6-ounce can tomato paste

·        2 bay leaves

·        3 tbsps. chili powder

·        1 tbsp. ground cumin

·        1 tsp. red wine vinegar

·        Pinch of cayenne pepper (if desired)

·        1 15-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, peppers, and garlic. Cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Add the beef, breaking it up as it cooks, until it is no longer pink. Add all other ingredients except the kidney beans; cover the pot and simmer over low heat for at least one hour.

Stir in the beans and cook the chili uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaves before serving.

Crockpot Beef Stew

Few kitchen items make life as easy as the crockpot. This recipe calls for a 6-quart crockpot and either feeds a crowd or creates a lot of leftovers. The flavors mingle overnight in the fridge and are actually better the next day – or even the day after that.

·        2 pounds boneless beef stew meat

·        ½ cup all-purpose flour

·        4 tbsps. olive oil, divided

·        1 large onion, halved and sliced into strips

·        2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces

·        1 small bag of baby carrots

·        ¾ cup red wine

·        1 ½ cups low-sodium beef stock

·        1 6-ounce can tomato paste

·        1 tsp. dried thyme

·        1 bay leaf

Place the beef in a large bowl and add the flour. Toss to coat. (As you remove the bits of beef from the flour, leave the extra flour in the bowl for later.)

Heat 2 tbsps. oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add a third of the beef to the pan and cook on all sides, browning the beef well. Transfer the beef to the slow cooker. Add another tbsp. oil to the pan and cook the remaining beef in two more batches. Adjust the heat as needed. Transfer all the beef to the slow cooker.

Pour the last tbsp. of oil into the pan and sauté the onion until soft. Add the onion, potatoes, and carrots to the slow cooker.

Add the wine to the pan to deglaze it. Scrape up all the browned bits. Pour it all into the slow cooker.

Whisk the beef stock, tomato paste, and thyme into the flour left in the bowl. Pour it over the stew ingredients. Add the bay leaf.

Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for four hours or on low for seven hours. Remove the bay leaf before serving.

Classic Steak, Peppers, and Onions

This delicious combo can be added to a hoagie bun the next day for fantastic cheesesteak sandwiches. Just break out some provolone, top the sandwich and place it in a hot oven until the cheese melts. Perfection!

·        2 pounds chuck shoulder steaks

·        4 tsps. dry mustard

·        1 tsp. ground coriander

·        1 tsp. cracked black pepper

·        ½ tsp. salt (or to taste)

·        3 tbsps. olive oil, divided

·        2 large sweet onions, sliced thin

·        2 large green bell peppers, sliced thin

·        1 pint mushrooms, sliced

Tenderize the steaks by pounding them with a mallet. Combine the mustard, coriander, pepper, and salt, then rub it over both sides of the steak. Set aside the remaining spice mix.

Heat 2 tbsps. olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the steaks and cook for 8-10 minutes or until medium doneness. Remove the steaks to a plate and allow them to rest while you cook the remainder of the meal.

Add the remaining 1 tbsp. oil and sauté the onions, peppers, and mushrooms until tender, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle the veggies with the remaining spice mixture and cook for one minute more, stirring well.

Thinly slice the steaks and serve them with the veggies on the side.

A Note About Leftover Safety

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, leftovers should be wrapped well and refrigerated promptly, then eaten within three to four days when left in the refrigerator. If you want to save the leftover for much later, they should keep in the freezer for three or four months.2

When reheating any leftovers, make sure they reach the appropriate temperature. Use a thermometer to make sure the food reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit in the thickest part. Reheat them in a microwave, in a saucepan, or in the oven; the Mayo Clinic advises against reheating anything in a slow cooker, as the gentle heating might not be enough to prevent bacteria from taking hold and making you sick.3

Whether you stay mainly at home or are on the go, senior alert systems are great for security, protection, and peace of mind. When you press the 24/7 alert button, the friendly professionals at a monitoring center can send help fast. And if you choose medical alert technology with fall detection, the device itself can automatically send an alert for help if it senses a fall. Be safe and bon appetit!