My solution is meal planning and cooking/prepping for multiple meals. The planning part is not an ingrained habit yet, so the days my week is not planned out, I At least get the next day's meal figured out. Prepping for multiple meals is a new skill for me, too, but I've found it really lends to using your imagination! So here is what I made this weekend with one pound of bacon.
I actually started with the classic "What's for dinner tonight?" Answer: lamb. Searching the net for a recipe, I found Daube a la Provencale. I have no idea what that means, but it's fancy lamb stew. I didn't want stew (we had beef stew already this week) but I liked the initial prep. I based dinner off this recipe, but after the bacon, lamb (2 lamb steaks, trimmed and cut), onions, and celery were browned, I scraped up the brown bits with a little red cooking wine, and put everything in the crockpot. I did add about a cup of homemade chicken broth so it wouldn't burn while the lamb finished cooking. Add sides of brown sugared baked acorn squash and oven steak fries, and a meal is made. A delicious meal, with only a few pieces of squash left over! **Leftovers are the bane of my fridge, and if there's nothing left, that means everyone liked it, and my proportions were right.
With Friday's dinner done, I had a half pound of cooked, chopped bacon. Now the question is "What do I do with this?" Answer: no idea, not at first anyway. Sometimes ideas need to come on their own. :) Some went into omelettes Sunday morning, and I initially was going to put the rest into a goulash. As I started into the kitchen to make the goulash, I thought better. Hubby and I were doing work outside in cold and snow, and everyone in the house is starting to come down with coughs and sniffles. Soup it is!
I had put the lamb bones and trim into the crockpot with water and onion ends, the part you normally toss or compost, intending to make broth or stock for the freezer (Can you tell I don't like to waste things?) but used it for soup base instead. I tossed it in the stockpot with some fresh carrots, potatoes and celery, some canned corn and green beans, and a bit of seasoned tomato sauce (almost the last of a jar I opened to make spaghetti sauce- I still have to find a use for the rest of that). Oh, and the bacon! Veggie soup with bacon - yum! And only 2 quarts leftover, perfect for 3 lunches and a dinner at work.
So, 2 lamb steaks, a pound of bacon, and some veggies to make 2 awesome meals with extra. I call that successful meal planning and successful use of leftovers - from the lamb trim, the chicken broth (which I had made like the lamb), the scrapings from the pan, veggies before they go bad, and bacon already thawed in the fridge.