Sometimes it really stings when you go through the fridge, cleaning out the old stuff, and you find something that was really delicious the first time around, only now you have to throw it away because it's three weeks old or you can't even remember when you made it.
You don't have to come up with an intricate system of recipes, or a fancy interconnected menu, to make efficient use of your leftovers... just have a handful of recipes for each type of meat, fish or poultry that you cook regularly. Like my Easter ham to ham and egg fried rice, or roast chicken to chicken chow mein.
But have I mentioned my grandmother's standby, the Gooey Bun?
No, it's not a breakfast roll. It's gooey from layers of meat and cheese, and it's actually quite tasty. The original recipe calls for ground up meats such as hot dogs or baloney, but damn... aren't those ground up enough? And what the hell's in them? No, no... I use real meats for mine.
Take a pound (or whatever you have left) of cooked roasted meat (last time it was a combination of ham and roast beef) and run it through a blender or food processor until it's shredded. Add half that amount of shredded cheese, whatever's appropriate for the meat, like cheddar or swiss, and enough mayonaise to moisten, plus a dollop of prepared mustard to taste. Sometimes with roast beef, I'll throw in some horseradish. Mix this all together well.
Take this mixture and apply a generous portion to sandwich rolls or hamburger buns. Wrap each bun in foil, and heat in a 325° oven for 15 minutes, or until the cheese becomes melty. If you want freezer snacks for later, put the foil-wrapped bundles in a gallon freezer bag before baking. Add five minutes or more to the cooking time for cooking from the frozen state.
Everything in this is fully cooked, so the spread is also good cold, but believe me it is much more delicious when melty and inside toasted bread. And the added bonus of being frugal makes it taste that much better.