meal planning
LeftOver recipes vs PlanOvers – it is how you sell it.

LeftOver recipes vs PlanOvers – it is how you sell it.

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Do you know how many people have no idea what a planover is? It really surprised me! They are familiar with leftover recipes though. There is one subtle difference between the two.

planovers vs leftovers

leftover and planover ideas for saving the budget

I have a few friends whose families will not eat leftovers. What a shame!!!
One of the things I had learned in my years of foodservice was the creative use of what was left. When my Mom and I had our own restaurant, we used to joke that tomorrow’s soup was going to be the cream of today’s special!

This is a key concept when looking at saving money as the average American throws out over one-third of the groceries that they bring home from the grocery store! If you spend $600 a month on groceries, that means you are throwing out about $200!

That adds up to about $2,500 a year. In. The. Trash.


Let’s look at this differently and be a better salesperson than the family member who doesn’t like “leftovers”.

What do you see in the picture? Cheese ravioli with a red mushroom sauce and topped with a little fresh mozzarella next to a serving of mixed vegetables. A freezer addition from tonight’s supper!

Here is a simple rundown on how you can “recycle” meals:

LeftOver recipes vs PlanOvers

–You start with a Baked Chicken dinner with mashed potatoes or dressing and veggies.

–If you had any chicken left, you pulled the meat off of it and whipped up a cream sauce that has a chicken broth base, few sliced carrots, and a tad of marjoram. Then make some dumplings and fold them into the gravy so you have Chicken and Dumplings.

–If you had any of that leftover, you create planovers out of the dumplings (one of my guilty pleasures!) added a few more sliced carrots, peas, and pearl onions. Serve it over puff pastry shells and you now have Chicken a la King.

–Have some chicken and biscuits left over? Create planovers by thinning it down a bit, maybe adding a cup or two of cooked, diced chicken and you have creamy chicken vegetable soup.

See how easy that is?

Let’s look at that pot roast!

–You start with a Pot Roast dinner with mashed potatoes and veggies.

–If you had any roast left, you shred the meat off of it, just that gravy and the vegetables, and serve it over biscuits and you have Beef Stew.

–If you had any of that leftover, create planovers by thinning it down with broth, adding some cooked barley with a pinch of Allspice and you now have Beef Barley Soup.

A few things to keep in mind:

#1 You don’t serve them 4 days in a row…you space it out a bit so you might do Baked Chicken on Monday and then Chicken and Dumplings on Thursday…it keeps it from being super obvious to the intended diners.

#2 If you are doing this to your family, use the freezer so you can space things out a week or two in between reincarnations.

#3 Something like ham simply gets diced up and added to things like soups, scalloped potatoes, omelets, quiches, etc.

You have now learned how to never have “Left-overs” again! You are now PLANNING what to do with the unused fruits of your labor!

It is also handy to make “just a little extra” when cooking so you can put some in a reheatable dish right away and toss it into the freezer. Pat yourself on the back as you have just made your very own frozen “TV dinner”!

Here is some food for thought: If you cook FIVE nights a week, and put ONE meal in the freezer each night…at the end of three weeks, you would have 15 meals ready and the family could just go “freezer fishing” for dinner! This is a particularly great system if you find yourself pulling previous meals out of your fridge and asking someone “does this smell OK to you?”

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