Sunday, August 2, 2009

Be A Kitchen Magician With Leftovers

Become a Kitchen Magician with Leftovers

Famed chef Julia Child preferred to call them "remains of the day." To the rest of us, they're just leftovers. It's a term that can mean anything from half a pan of lasagna to a dab of mashed potatoes that sit in the 'fridge until they turn green, at which time we feel a lot better about throwing them away. These days, that's like throwing cash in the garbage.

The secret to stretching the food dollars is to find a delicious use for every last bit of what you buy. You need to see all leftovers as ingredients for new dishes, not just multiple go-rounds of the same thing in an effort to get rid of it. Here are some ideas that have helped me to see leftovers in a new way:

Coffee. Freeze leftover coffee in cubes to cool off hot coffee. Add black coffee to pot roast to create rich, brown gravy.

Halloween or Easter candy. Take all the chocolate candy and break it up into little pieces. Place the pieces into a zip-type bag. Many recipes call for a cup to a cup and a half of chocolate morsels. Use these to replace the morsels. Freeze until ready to use.

Cooked Ham. Brown the last bits of cooked ham in a small amount of butter or margarine in a skillet. Beat a few eggs with water or milk and grated cheese, if desired. Pour scrambled egg mixture into skillet with ham. Cook, as usual, over low heat.

Another option for ham is to thread chunks of it onto skewers, alternating with fresh pineapple chunks and squares of sweet red or green bell pepper. Brush kebabs with butter and grill until browned. Serve with rice and fresh asparagus.

Ground Ham. Mix together cooked ground ham, cold mashed potatoes and seasonings. Shape into oval cakes and roll in flour. Sauté in hot fat until brown on all sides.

Meatballs. Slice meatballs. Sauté bell pepper strips until crisp-tender. Add the meatball slices to skillet. Heat through. Use as a sandwich filling in French or Italian bread, adding warmed spaghetti sauce as desired.

Salmon. Combine chunks of salmon with chopped sweet pickles and diced onions for a great sandwich filling.

Spaghetti. Chop up cold pasta. Add diced raw vegetables and enough bottled Italian dressing to coat for a wonderful salad.

Biscuits. Split in half and spread each cut side with butter. Sprinkle with garlic powder, parsley, dill weed and shredded cheese. Bake at 400 F until the cheese is melted.

Cereal. Even if it has become stale, crush the cereal well. Dip chicken pieces into egg wash (one or two eggs beaten with a few teaspoons of water). Then, roll meat in crushed cereal. Bake according to your favorite oven-baked chicken recipe.

Chili. Reheat and spoon over cooked hamburger patties. Top with shredded Monterey jack cheese and sour cream. Or, warm leftover chili and spoon into taco shells. Add shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and sour cream.

Oatmeal. Add cooked oatmeal to pancake or muffin batter.

Pancakes. Sprinkle with a cinnamon-sugar mixture. Then roll up and eat.

Roast beef. Put into a crock-pot with some canned green chilies, cumin, garlic, and a little water. Cook until the beef is easily shredded. Then, use as a taco or burrito filling.

Taco meat. Put a layer of tater tots in a baking dish. Bake according to package instructions. Top with taco meat and mozzarella cheese. Bake until the meat is heated through and the cheese is melted.

Turkey. Combine turkey, gravy and dressing. Put into a greased baking dish and bake at 350 F until golden.

Wine. Freeze leftover wine into ice cubes for future use in casseroles and sauces.

SOURCE: Everyday Cheapskate NL


  1. These are great ideas for leftovers.


  2. Can you tell I have had too many leftovers lately???


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