Nov 19, 2005

Leftover Makeovers

Making over leftovers is one of my favorite ways to create exciting meals even when the budget is tight. Take today's lunch for example... I took some leftover rice, a piece of chicken I had left from the Smothered Chicken I made a couple of nights ago, a 1/2 bag of frozen chopped broccoli and some leftover teryaki sauce and viola! we had Teryaki Chicken over rice. Delicious, easy and a great way to clean out the fridge. Here are some of my other common uses for leftovers that always has my family asking for seconds.

Spaghetti Sauce - if it's a meat sauce I will use it to make calzones. I just make a pizza crust and divide it into 4 portions, roll out into circles, fill with the sauce and some cheese then fold over, roll the edges to seal and bake. For non-meat sauces I use them to top a pizza.

Beef Roasts - Any meat leftover from a beef roast often becomes the filling for burritos. I shred or chop the meat and freeze it then use it as burrito filling.

Pinto Beans - I always make refried beans from leftover pinto beans. My kids love refried beans as a side dish with almost any meal and I also make them burritos or tostadas.

chicken - There are so many uses for leftover chicken. Some of my favorites are chicken casseroles, chicken salad, chicken soup, tacos, burritos, enchiladas, sandwiches.

Bread - I always freeze leftover bread. No matter if it's a store bought loaf or homemade, there is always a use for leftover bread. I often make bread pudding, stuffing, bread crumbs for recipes (store in the freezer in a ziploc bag). I recently found a recipe for breadcrumb cookies that I plan to try... stay tuned...

Cooked Vegetables - In my opinion, vegetables tend to lose their flavor very quickly once cooked. I like to make a very quick soup to preserve the flavor of any cooked vegetables. By cooking some egg noodles in chicken broth and adding cooked, cubed chicken and cooked vegetables, you have a very satisfying meal.

Pie Crust - I don't bake pies very often but when I do, I always save the scraps from trimming the crusts. I use it to make little treat for my kids called pinwheels. Roll out leftover pie crust dough, spread with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and roll up jelly roll fashion. Cut into slices and bake at 375 degrees until nicely browned. Leftover pie crust can also be used to make mini quiche for appetizers.

Bananas - most people toss their bananas when they get a little brown. I have found that if you freeze bananas when brown they make an excellent base for smoothies, or they can be thawed for banana muffins, banana bread, banana pancakes or any other recipe calling for bananas.

Carrots, Celery and Onions - when these vegetables start to look a little limp, just put them in the food processor and process until smooth, then put the mixture into a sauce pan with a little water and cook until soft. Cool and put into freezer bags. This mixture is great as a base for sauces, gravies, soups, stews or any recipe that needs a flavor boost.

Before tossing your leftovers or letting them sit around too long, take a moment to see what new creations you can come up with.

8 comments:

Mona said...

love the leftover suggestions. especially the pie crust ones! i read an amazing recipe recently for leftover butter cookies-cheesecake! i'd probably just EAT the leftover cookies, right? but who knows, that sounds great too!

Michele said...

Glad you enjoyed the suggestions Mona :) Butter cookie cheesecake sounds GOOD! I agree though, I would just EAT the cookies, LOL!

lisaSD said...

Michele--I really admire people like you who can make new creations out of old (or should I say "previously-owned" as they do at car dealerships now). I don't have much luck at it, but I'm inspired!

Michele said...

Lisa, it took me some time to come up with creative uses for leftovers but once I come up with something I write it down so I don't forget. :0)

Dawna said...

I'm a big fan of re-inventing leftovers. I've got about half-a-dozen bananas in the freeze right now, and I need to make banana bread just to clear some room! I like the idea of calzones, but I almost never have leftover meat sauce. Leftover pizza sauce, however, often gets made into pizza-toast - just a simple snack of a piece of toast with a quick smear of sauce and a slice of cheddar. Maybe an olive, if I'm feeling fancy...

Michele said...

Dawna, you have to try the banana bread recipe I have listed, it's so easy and yummy! Love pizza toast, we do that too.

Meena said...

Hi Michele!

I love your blog...will surely be back again!

Drop by my blog sometime at www.hookedonheat.blogspot.com

Hope to see you soon!

Michele said...

Hi Meena, thanks for dropping by, your blog is great too!