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Leftovers Revisited

May 13th, 2008 at 02:20 pm

I've generally tried to be very careful about not wasting food, but in light of recent grocery price increases, it's more important than ever.

Rather than suffer through leftovers, I'm trying to use this as an opportunity to be creative. I'm sharing this here because I've found that the family will often be very eager to eat what's prepared, until it's stigmatized because they know it's a re-do Smile Definitely can't tell them!

The secret I suppose is to "hide" the evidence so what's prepared looks like all new materials, even if it isn't.

Case in point: Last night we had a BBQ chicken focaccia. 1 cup of leftover, seasoned mashed potatoes (frozen from dinner 2 weeks back) went into the crust. It was delicious, moist, tender, and filling. The BBQ chicken that was part of the topping was also from that dinner 2 weeks ago- a leftover leg quarter that was chopped and frozen in BBQ sauce. They loved it, and the less the family knows, the better.

One of my favorite re-do's is freezer enchiladas. Enchilada sauce (homemade from a 25c can of tomato sauce and a handful of spices) is strong stuff and can effectively, and deliciously disguise just about anything. Any kind of leftover meat, rice, potatoes, cheese- anything that's been frozen and needs to go is a candidate for enchiladas. If there are corn or flour tortillas in the freezer that are past their prime, don't even bother to roll them, just layer them into a casserole.

We also have freezer pizza from time to time. This is a great way to use up little bits of meat, whether it be the tail end of a package of bacon, a lone bratwurst, a smidgen of kielbasa, ham scraps, etc. 2 oz of this and that becomes a pizza-load of bliss.

This weekend I'm planning on making a taco casserole. There's a small amount of leftover crockpot pork in the freezer, which can be shredded and combined with beans, leftover (frozen) rice, salsa that needs to be used up, and even the crumbly end of a bag of corn chips. Served with cheese and new corn chips, it will hopefully be a good couple of meals and also a big hit.

One of my biggest leftover challenges is my DD's oatmeal- or "ugmeal" as she calls it. She loves oatmeal much of the time, but sometimes I make it for her, thinking she wants it, and she turns up her nose. Since she hasn't touched it, into a 2 cup jar it goes, into the freezer. This morning I did a little digging around and found an oatmeal roll recipe that should work just about perfectly with 2 cups of prepared (brown sugar added) oatmeal. Can't wait to try it.

Another food leftover challenge I'm facing at the moment is the crumbs left in the shredded wheat bag when all the cereal is eaten- there always seems to be a rather large amount. Not too long ago I saw a recipe for cookies that called for grapenuts and I wondered if the "wheat shreds" might be a good substitute in that recipe. I'm not quite ready to try it, but will let you know how it goes when I do.

Although it's not a 100% proposition, I sure feel best when very little goes to waste. I wish that I always felt so optimistic and creative when it comes to this sort of thing, it's a lot more fun than always feeling discouraged by a too tight grocery budget.

4 Responses to “Leftovers Revisited”

  1. miclason Says:

    crepes are also great for leftover chicken...just mince it and add some white sauce!

    if the recipe you found for the oatmeal doesn't work, let me know, there's a recipe on an old "homemade cookies" book for leftover oatmeal, and Mom even marked it...I've never tried it, and it's in Spanish, so i'd have to translate it!

  2. midlight21 Says:

    Slice the frozen oatmeal and fry it in a little butter. Pour syrup over the top. Breakfast!

  3. luvinmylife Says:

    Shredded wheat crumbs...add them to a banana (nut) muffin recipe. Yummy! Smile

  4. Petunia Says:

    LOL over the "stigma" of leftovers. My dad was the same way, but my mom wasn't nearly as creative in the cooking department as you. I'm impressed by the way you hide the "evidence" in the freezer, and quietly serve it again as a new, tasty meal.

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