Sunday, October 19, 2008

What To Do With Leftovers

I'm sure that leftovers are a foreign word for some of you with growing boys! At our house, many leftovers like pizza or lasagna are relished just as they are. Ed usually takes leftovers to work for lunch and I purposely plan meals so that he has things to take. But those little bits of meat and vegetables are the things that can sit and moulder in the fridge. It always irks me to throw out food so here are a few ways I found to use those little bits!

1 cup chopped vegetable (pepper, brocolli, asparagus, spinich, etc)
1 cup chopped meat
1 cup shredded cheese
Layer in pie pan.
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste (if using ham or bacon, add none)
Mix together. Pour over veggies, meat and cheese. Bake 375 degrees for 45 minutes.
You can easily multiply this recipe and put it in a larger casserole dish.

Fried Rice
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup chopped onion
4 cup cooked rice
1 cup chopped veggies or meat, optional
3 T soy sauce
1/8 tsp pepper
2 T minced fresh parsley, optional
1 tsp garlic powder, optional
1 egg, well beaten
Fry onion in butter until tender. Add rice, any leftovers, soy sauce, pepper, parsley, and garlic powder. Cook over low heat 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occsionally. Add egg, stirring constantly. Cook on low heat 5 minutes more. We enjoy this so much that I always cook extra rice to have this later in the week. Extra good with peas and chicken or even shrimp!

 For a soup that will taste different every time you make it, place two containers in your freezer. In one place any bits of chopped vegetables or meat. In the other, pour meat broth or vegetable juice. When you gather enough, make soup!

4 cup chopped vegetables or meat
2 qt meat or vegetable  broth
1 pint tomato juice or soup
seasoning as desired
Heat. Add noodles if desired. Serve!

Salad Sandwiches
Leftover ham, chicken, and roast beef make great meat salad. Chop the meat finely, add mayonnaise until the consistency you prefer, stir in chopped pickle or olive if desired, and season to taste. Spread on a roll, roll up in a tortilla, or stuff in pita pocket, add some lettuce and serve.

This may seem odd, but our Saturday night pizza can be used to clean out our fridge! Leftover chili, balogna,  taco meat, refried beans, grilled chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers - they  have all found their place as a pizza toppings at our house! And none of my family has complained yet! Give it a try! You might find a new family favorite!

Scrambled Eggs
Almost any leftover meat, veggie, potato or cheese can be combined with scrambled eggs. I usually heat the leftovers in the skillet first before pouring my scrambled eggs in the pan. To make a frittata, cook in the pan until the bottom is cooked. Then put the pan under the broiler in the oven to finish the top. This way you don't need to actually "scramble" your eggs while cooking - but make sure your pan, including the handle, is oven safe before trying this!!! It is also good to add a little milk or buttermilk to your eggs before pouring in the pan.

Did I miss you favorite way to use leftovers? I would love to hear about it! Not wasting food can be our first way to stretch our grocery dollars!

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