Next Day Thanksgiving Grilled Cheese

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By Cooking Panda

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9 Awesome Ways To Breathe New Life Into Your Leftovers

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By Cooking Panda

Did you get a little overzealous with ordering takeout this weekend? If you have a fridge full of leftovers, you’ll want to read ahead.

Yes, we love cold next-day pizza as much as anyone else (seriously, why is cold pizza so good?) but guess what? We can do you one better.

You already have most of the ingredients you need, so why not take a few minutes (still less time than delivery takes) and whip up some savory pizza bread pudding or a sensational takeout burrito?

1. Shrimp Fried Rice

Also known as leftover stir-fry — use whatever you have on hand.

2. Savory Pizza Bread Pudding

Remember that cold pizza we were talking about? Yeah. Chop it up and make it into this savory bread pudding instead. You know you want to. (Ok, but if you really don’t want to, you can also make this breakfast casserole instead.)

3. Leftover Orange Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Leftover orange chicken can get pretty soggy, so it’s not always delightful when eaten days later. These lettuce wraps totally take that into account and provide some awesome crunchy textures and zippy flavors that absolutely complement your leftovers. Plus, it’s the healthiest thing you can do to orange chicken.

4. Orange Chicken Burritos

Alternatively, you can burrito-fy your orange chicken if you’d like. Feel free to do this to any takeout dish. It would be great with teriyaki chicken, broccoli beef or even Hawaiian barbecue (mac salad belongs in a burrito!) or a thick, chunky curry (not too soupy!). Throw in some fried rice or even noodles too. Go to town.

5. Fried Chicken Tacos

We can’t confirm this, but we’ve heard stories that there is, in fact, such a thing as “leftover fried chicken.” We aren’t 100 percent sure what that means, but these tacos look like a pretty good use for it.

6. Leftover Casserole

Got a bunch of leftover meat? Throw it, along with whatever else you want to use up, into this tasty casserole.

7. Butter Chicken Pizza

Got leftover curry? Put it on pizza — you can use store-bought dough, flatbread, naan — whatever you want. This works beautifully for just about any curry with big chunks. Use your imagination.

8. Mashed Potato Muffins

If muffins aren’t your style for some strange reason, consider kneading your mashed potatoes into gnocchi instead.

9. Pot Roast Patty Melts

You know you want to. Shred whatever meat you have and patty-melt it. Bonus: If you used a lot of onions in your pot roast (and if you like them nice and soft), throw a bunch on the patty melt and skip the caramelized ones.

Featured Photo Credit: What Do You Crave

Tags: easy weeknight recipes, leftover pizza, leftover recipe, leftovers, what to do with takeout
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New Italian Law Helps Put The Kibosh On Nation’s Food Waste

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By Cooking Panda

A bill aiming to eliminate 1 million tons of waste from Italy’s annual estimated 5-million ton output has been passed into law.

The bill, which was backed by 181 senators (with 2 against and 16 abstaining) has been widely praised, with Agriculture Minister Maurizio Martina even declaring it as “one of the most beautiful and practical legacies” of the Expo Milano 2015 international exhibition, according to the BBC. 

The exhibition focused on tackling hunger and food waste worldwide — a pertinent topic for Italy, considering that the cost of food wasted amounts to more than $13.4 billion per year for Italian businesses and households, according to ministers.

Of course, Italy is only one country; the problem is worldwide, and especially bad in Europe.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations suggests that around one third of our world’s food may be wasted worldwide — however, that figure rises to a staggering 40% in Europe.

“The food currently wasted in Europe could feed 200 million people,” the FAO states.

The new bill includes drafts that seek to help make donating food not only easier (there were some who worried about violating health and safety laws by donating food that was technically past its “sell-by” date, but still perfectly healthy and nutritious), but also encourages farmers to give away their unsold produce to charities without worrying about losing money.

Additionally, the BBC reports that the Agricultural Ministry will spend more than $1.1 million researching how to revolutionize packaging foods, in order to prevent spoilage during transit, and ultimately extend shelf life. An informational campaign for the public aiming to reduce food wastage will also be released.

Lastly, “family bags” (popularly known as those “doggy bags” us Americans take home if we’re unable to finish our entire meal at a restaurant) will be introduced to Italian culture. While it is expected in many parts of the world to be able to save your leftovers after a meal, the practice has so far been uncommon in Italy — until now. A $1.1 million campaign will back a new “family bag” scheme.

Congratulations and good luck, Italy!

Sources: BBC, FAO / Photo credit: Yes Health

Tags: family bag, food waste, italy, leftovers
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Here’s When You Should Be Throwing Out Your Leftovers

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By Cooking Panda

You spent your whole Sunday night cooking extra food for the week. Or maybe you’re single and you followed one of those recipes that’s supposed to feed four, because nobody ever posts recipes with single portions for some reason. Days later, you find yourself eyeing the Tupperware in your refrigerator, trying to figure out if it’s ok to eat and relying on the smell test. If this is you every week, you might want to read on.

In order to make sure your food is safe to eat, all you need to do is keep track of when you cooked the food and do a little simple math. The USDA has a pretty standard rule of thumb: if it’s been sitting in your fridge for more than 4 days, chuck it. It might not smell like rotten eggs or look like a science project, but it might not be safe to eat. Use your best judgment, but try to use your leftovers within those four days. If you have a bunch of stuff on day four, it might be time to throw everything in a stir-fry and finish it that night.

If you don’t think you’re going to eat your leftovers by the fourth day, consider sticking them in the freezer. The USDA says you can keep food in there pretty much as long as you want, as long as it doesn’t thaw. While it will be safe pretty much until the apocalypse, it’s best to use your frozen food within four months in order to get the maximum flavor and texture out of it. You can save it longer, but it might get freezer burn.

The best way to freeze your food is to place it in shallow containers or gallon sized freezer bags with the food flattened out. It will freeze faster this way, which not only preserves taste but also keeps bacteria out.

When you’re ready to reheat it, bring the temperature of the food up to 165 degrees Fahrenheit to keep any lingering bacteria, and chow down.

Tags: food safety, how long, leftovers
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