How long can leftovers stay in the fridge?

by Julie Divis August 15, 2018

How long can leftovers stay in the fridge?

On Sundays, I do my best to meal-prep. When I actually succeed at roasting all my veggies, grilling chicken, cooking quinoa and soaking overnight oats, I feel like a brand-new woman ready to take on the world! But have you ever wondered how long these prepped ingredients are good for? Should you have made enough for 2 weeks’ worth of meals or only 2 days? Getting ahead of the game is one thing, but you still want everything to be fresh, tasty and above all, safe to eat. Let me ease your mind – not only for that amazing meal prep you just did, but also for that cold pizza from Friday night you just couldn’t finish and your Chinese takeout from a few days before (hey, you can’t meal prep everything).

I like to think of leftovers as meal prep ingredients all their own. Roasted vegetables are great in soups and sliced steak really elevates a simple salad. Whether they’re pre-made or just pre-chopped, prepped ingredients really come in handy when your busy life gets in the way of cooking. Here’s a good rule of thumb to follow – leftovers from a cooked meal, like meatloaf or frittata, can keep in your refrigerator for up to 4 days. The same goes for freshly-prepped ingredients. If you plan to use either at a later date, freeze in freezer-safe containers or bags and thaw when you are ready to use. When reheating leftovers and cooked ingredients, you want to make sure you are reaching a temperature of 165F.

Remember, when saving food for leftovers it is important to not let them sit out at room temperature for longer than 2 hours! Putting food in the fridge fast helps prevent the growth of bacteria. Definite plus.

So, when you are thinking about meal-prep or saving those leftovers from last night’s dinner party, keep in mind you have 4 days to use them or freeze them. My recommendation: meal prep Sunday night for breakfast and lunch Monday through Thursday, then treat yourself to lunch out on Friday to celebrate the end of a successful and prepped week!

All my best,
Julie

 


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Julie Divis
Julie Divis:
QUALITY MANAGER

Julie is really into food. Some might argue too much (we wouldn’t though, she is a Food Scientist after all). She’s our Quality Manager and we are very happy about that. Whether she is conducting a food quality experiment, testing new products (and we don’t mean JUST taste testing) or overseeing our production process, her goal is always the same: deliver the highest quality product and taste every single time. She knows how things work, why they work, and how to make them work better. And she can tell you all the reasons why bread tastes better toasted. Julie has been named one of Progressive Grocer’s 2018 GenNext Award winners and has worked in the food industry for companies like Hillshire Brands and Tyson Foods before finding her way to Pre. Outside of work, Julie loves cooking, doing yoga, hanging by a fire pit (master of s’mores) or spending time with her husband and new baby daughter (lovingly referred to as nugget).

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