Stretching dinner into lunch

Special thanks to Alise Wakeland, a quality assurance specialist for MMI, for providing this guest post.

Earlier this week, I wrote about how to reuse chicken left over from barbecueing, this time I am writing about how to reuse the hamburger. Now I know you are thinking that it’s not easy to reuse hamburger meat, and you would be rightit is not easy. That’s where having fun and being creative plays a big part of reusing food.

The simplest way to make a lunch or dinner from left over hamburger patties is to have a bun-less cheeseburger. Take a slice of your favorite cheese place it on top of your leftover patty, place on a plate and heat in the microwave for about 45 seconds, or until the cheese and patty are heated to your liking. Add some vegetables, I like green beans, peas or even carrots for this, and maybe a few red potatoes or corn if you want to incorporate a starch. These can be frozen, canned, or raw, whichever is quickest for you to enjoy for lunch or for your family’s dinner.

Another good way to use leftover hamburger patties is to crumble them up and make spaghetti. Cook your preference of pasta noodles you like, I use whole wheat. Mix up some sauce if you do not have any on hand. A simple pasta sauce can be made from a can or two of tomato sauce or paste depending on how much you’re making and how much your family likes sauce. Two small cans of tomato sauce or paste typically cover the spaghetti enough for flavor. If you use tomato paste you can of course make it thicker or thinner depending on how much water is added. To make it taste just like a jar of Ragu or Prego, I use the Mrs. Dash salt free seasoning in Italian blend. I also add in a bit more basil and oregano and garlic, but that is my preference. Use a separate small pot to mix your herbs with the tomato sauce so that you can experiment until you find the right blend and simmer until warm. If you do not have any herbs or seasonings on hand, you can ask a neighbor, or keep it plain. It may not have as much flavor, but it is still a quick and easy solution, to family dinner. Side veggies could include salad, green beans, mushrooms, spinach, yellow squash, or zucchini. If you would like garlic bread as well, instead of buying a fancy loaf of garlic bread, grab a few slices of sandwich bread, toast, and if you have fresh garlic on hand, rub a clove over each slice and drizzle some olive oil over it, for a healthier alternative. If you have neither fresh garlic nor olive oil, but have some garlic salt or granulated garlic, again use sandwich bread, butter lightly sprinkle your garlic across the slice, place on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 7 to 8 minutes, until butter is melted.

Have fun get creative, and if you have any ideas that you want to share, please feel free to add them in the comment box below.

For more ideas on stretching your food dollars, download the free Cheap Eats eBook.

Alise Wakeland graduated from Angelo State University in 2008 and started working at Money Management International in May 2009.  Alise chooses to help clients and co-workers was by sharing her personal experiences to motivate. She feels that if you know someone else had the same struggle and overcame it by making a few simple changes then that will empower you to do the same. Alise enjoys cooking, reading, and music.

Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.

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