I read a few blog posts about using leftovers this morning (http://inashoe.com/2012/05/4-moms-cooking-with-leftovers-linky/) and thought I’d share how I deal with them.
I love leftovers–they make quick meals so easy. Leftovers have been a life-saver to me more school days when it comes to lunchtime than I can count. So often, it gets to be 12:30 or even 1:00 and I realize we need something to eat–quickly, sort through the fridge and see what’s there. We do occasionally have to throw things out (maybe my husband would say more than occasionally), but it gets recycled into eggs.
Some days, depending on what I find, I’ll put the leftovers in a casserole dish and heat in the oven at about 300°F. If there were several casserole leftovers, they can all go in the same dish and won’t run together too much; or I’ll use a couple of smaller dishes. Usually, 20 minutes is long enough to heat. Then, everyone gets to choose from the offerings.
Other days, again depending on what I find, I’ll put it all together into soup. Most of the time, it turns out delicious! Adding cheese on top in each bowl always helps, too.
Today was a clean-out-the-refrigerator day. Since I was thinking about this, I kept track of what went in the pot. We had approximately 1/2 cup of goat stew, 1/4 cup of pork headcheese (brawn), 1 cup peas, 2 cups hash browns, 1 cup cooked rice, 1 or 2 cups stuffing and about 1/2 cup cooked hamburger (I had baked them together in a casserole last night). I added a small can of pork and beans (a secret ingredient in a lot of my soups/stews) and some water and heated it on low. It wasn’t one of my more successful leftover stews, but fairly good. Cheese would have made it really good, but Daddy was home and he can’t have cow cheese so we didn’t have it.
Sometimes I’ll add tomatoes or tomato juice, or broth, to make it easier to heat without scorching and add flavor. I just try to have some meat and some vegetables, as well as something starchy (rice or potatoes).
One thing the children really like is leftover mashed potatoes, put in a casserole dish and topped with bits of sausage, then served with cheese and ketchup. Baked potatoes, diced, work really well in a quick soup.
I’m thankful that my crew doesn’t mind eating leftovers! Oh, I should also say–my husband likes leftovers every day for his lunch; I try to plan meals so we have extra. I put them in a microwavable plastic dish that fits nicely in his lunch box and he heats it at lunchtime. Much easier than coming up with sandwiches!