January 26, 2009


Have you ever noticed how the word 'leftovers' makes some lips curl? Some people refuse to eat leftovers and lots of us have good intentions to eat leftovers but end up throwing them away (hopefully) before they become unidentifiable green monsters in the back of the fridge.

What I have learned about leftovers is that the only way to get the most and the best out of them is to turn it into something else. In other words - don't serve leftover spaghetti - serve a nice tomato/noodle soup with buttery garlic bread. Main ingredient: leftover spaghetti.

Here's what we did with our leftovers the past couple weeks...

We started with one whole cooked chicken. The meat was picked apart and I made a thin gravy. For Dinner we ate the chicken gravy over brown rice with a salad. The bones from the chicken I simmered with veggies and garlic for a few hours. The next day - for lunch - we used the broth (tossed all the bones and soggy vegetables) in a vegetable soup where I added carrots, zucchini, potatoes and corn. We put a spoonful of the leftover brown rice in the bottom of each soup bowl.

Alas, we ate the leftover rice but then we had leftover vegetable soup. So, for dinner that night, I added some browned beef and tomato sauce with some spices and turned it into a totally new soup. We ate this with some warm french bread. There were no leftovers.

Another time...

We start with a big pot of cooked beans. I season my beans with salt, cumin, cayenne, and garlic. We usually like to just eat the beans (like soup) with warmed tortillas and the usual fixings - sliced avocados, a little sprinkling of feta cheese, jalapenos, and chopped red onions. Leftovers? The next meal I will "refry" the beans. Warm your iron skillet with a little oil and spoon the beans with lots of liquid into the pan. Sprinkle grated cheddar cheese over the top and smash them as they cook. Bake your corn tortillas in the oven until crispy (we don't add anything - just put them on the rack until crispy) and dip into the beans (like chips) with the usual fixings. If we still have leftover beans - which we undoubtedly do - then I add ground beef, tomatoes, tomato sauce and seasonings to make chili. Serve this with a nice salad.

The key to stretching food is to not eat the "same" thing two times in a row...Happy leftovers to all you frugal minded cooks out there. I would love to hear what you do with YOUR leftovers.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this blog. I think about it all the time when I want to prepare left overs. :). Thanks also for the tip on using a left over pork chop in fried rice... so delicious!!! So last night, I turned our left over french onion soup into beef stroganoff!! Just added hamburger a little bit of alfredo sauce ( I know I know, processed food) and some pepper. Oh yeah, some pasta swirls. Yummy.


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