Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Reuse Take-Out Containers

If you are a regular here, Under the Big Oak Tree, you probably know that Joe and I enjoy ordering Chinese Food to celebrate special occasions.  Rather than going out to dinner (something we don't do much since Grace was born) or cooking an elaborate meal (who wants to clean up that mess on Valentine's Day?), we choose a few things that we like from the menu and Joe will pick it up on his way home from work. 

We love Chinese Food and could eat it every day if our budget allowed for it.  Sometimes we splurge and order just because we're in the mood, but we try not to over-do it.  But as far as take-out goes, it's the most frugal of our choices since there are ALWAYS leftovers!  And since we always get appetizers in addition to our entrees, we can usually get 2 nights' dinners and at least one day of lunch (sometimes 2 days' worth) from our one take-out order. 

Then, after all of the leftovers are finished, we're left with some really handy storage bowls! 

While Chinese Food wouldn't be the same without those traditonal cardboard boxes filled with different rices or noodles, I loved it when most Chinese Restaurants replaced those foil take-out containers that are always a pain in the butt to get the lid back on, with these re-usable, plastic containers. 

I love these containers and use them for everything! 

During the winter months, when I'm making a bunch of soups, stews or chilis, I tend to use a lot of the same ingredients.  Rather than have to chop vegetables each day for each new recipe, I like to check my recipes and chop what I need for each recipe.  Same goes for summer months when I'm making potato salads or macaroni salads.

I then separate the vegetables by recipe.  Putting all the veggies I need for the soup recipe in one container, the veggies for stew in the second, and so on.

I then take out my dry-erase marker and write the name of the recipe on the lid making it easy for me to just grab the container I need on the night I'm making each meal.   

Sometimes I only have a small window of opportunity to get dinner started.   And if Grace is fussy, I just don't have the patience for chopping and measuring vegetables in addition to measuring out spices and other ingredients.  This method makes preparing meals much easier for me. 

And since I use dry-erase markers, the containers can continue being re-used in a bunch of other ways, making me feel slightly better about splurging on take-out! 

  • Store leftovers in the fridge.  These are one of the few containers that will fit on the shelf under my deli meat bin. 
  • Send leftovers home with family and friends.  Since they aren't "part of a set,"  I don't mind that I won't get them back. 
  • Use for packed lunches.  They are the perfect size for Joe's lunch.  Sometimes Joe forgets to take a used lunch bowl out of  the truck for a few days.  In the winter, it's not so bad.  But in the summer, some of those containers can get pretty gross from sitting in the hot truck all day with bits of food still inside.  With these containers, I don't mind tossing them if they're just a bit too funky for me to want to deal with. 
  • They are also great for gift giving.  Small batches of Christmas cookies fit perfectly in these containers.  Put a simple bow on top to give it a more festive look!  A few years ago, I made chocolate covered strawberries for Easter.  I gave some to a few friends in these take-out containers. 

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We use them for vacation picnics, if they are lost or broken no biggie. Work great in the car with little kids eating in car seats, not as many spills.

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