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Large Family Moms Serve Leftovers

The 4 Moms of 35+ Kids are serving leftovers today. That is to say we are discussing how large families go about serving leftovers.

When large families cook, we usually go big or go home. We must cook in large quantities to feed our many members. And that often means leftovers.

Being left with leftovers is good and fine, because that means one less step in serving the meal since the cooking is already done.

Here is the way we do it in the Smockity Family.

  1. Save all of our leftovers for 3-4 days.
  2. Warm each dish in the microwave.
  3. Display all leftovers on the counter and announce in an dramatic fashion that we are having "buffet" for dinner.
  4. Place cafeteria style, compartment trays on the counter.
  5. Everyone is allowed to dish themselves 4 items of their choice. (This is very exciting for the children since most of the time there is no choosing what dinner will be.)
  6. Enjoy dinner and compare with others what you chose to eat.

Simple and effective!

Do you have ideas for using leftovers?

Link 'em up!

Now, check out how the rest of The 4 Moms team deals with leftovers:


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  1. We did that when I was a kid! There are only 6 in my family (I have three sisters) but once a week or so my mother would get everything out, lay it out and she called it McMother’s. We still do it around Christmas when all of us are in with our families. We’ve added three husbands, nine kids and a (well-loved) dog.

  2. liza lee grace says:

    This was standard Sunday night dinner in my house. It was called either “clean-out-the-fridge-night” or “eat-whatever-you-can-find” night. The only rule? NO COOKING!

    Only your method is cooler…we didn’t get cafeteria trays.

  3. :) We do the same in our family of 7… only my hubby says, “Wow! We get to eat Shoney’s tonight!” 😉

  4. Yup, same here. I call it “eating to the back of the pantry” or “E-BOP” and my kids like it because we flesh out the meal with a bowl of cereal (cereal is dessert here so it’s exciting). This usually happens twice a month. On the in-between weeks we usually have enough leftovers for the kids and me to do this for a lunch one day.
    Word of advise: Keep the dishes separate. I serve each left-over dish “as is” and we chose a serving each of a few different dishes. Growing up, my mom did E-BOPs too but she tried to make it more meal-like. She might mix the rice, green beans, tomatoes and meatballs into one casserole. This was a nice idea and I think once or twice we enjoyed her creation but mostly it was just down right gross. We still pick on her for those meals :)

  5. I just linked my absolute favorite way to use leftover chicken….yummm!

    Excited to find some new ideas. :-)

  6. “Clean the fridge” is what we call it! Since I don’t have to cook for that meal, I often bake bread to serve alongside the leftovers. At our house, the kids ravenously devour fresh homemade bread, but they can’t have seconds of bread unless they take seconds of the leftovers. I am finding though that my kids are growing up (huh…go figure) — and there are fewer leftovers than there used to be… :(

  7. I love that idea! I will now be on the lookout for cute trays! My husband doesn’t do leftovers, but I can pre cook meats to use in other dishes. (yes I know they are still left overs but he will eat them this way 😀 )
    With a growing family I find that sometimes I have various amounts of unplanned left overs. With homeschooling on our horizon I think the trays and buffer lunch will be my planned lunch at least once a week:D

  8. We usually use left overs for lunch. IE I will probably have left over pasta, marinara and steak for lunch today. :) I don’t cook breakfast or lunches, so left overs it is most often.

  9. First time I’ve ever done this linky thing. And I’m so embarrassed because my blog is currently a hot mess! But I guess ya gotta start somewhere.

  10. I loved this post! We have 8 children we are raising. My problem, I get nervous that the food is spoiled and probably throw out more than I should. How long do leftovers last in the fridge? I love the idea of making leftover night on Sunday! Thanks!

    • I have a seven day rule. If it’s been in the fridge for around seven days OR I can’t remember when I cooked it, it gets thrown out.

  11. Such a useful idea for a post. I like the tray idea.

  12. We have left over buffet too! Love that idea. :)


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