Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Great Leftover Ideas!

Need to shake up your leftovers? Here are some great ideas for those leftovers:

COOKED RICE: If you have enough leftover rice, you can make a wonderful rice pudding or fried rice. If you have a small amount, mix it into ground beef for your next meatloaf or into your meatballs. You can also add it to canned soup, such as cream of tomato, or mix it into a salad.

PASTA: Heat leftover pasta in a pan with some butter or margarine and Parmesan cheese...delicious side dish! You can also make pasta just like when it was fresh by dipping it boiling water until just heated through.

MEATLOAF: Crumbled meatloaf can be used in any meal calling for cooked ground beef, such as tacos.

BAKED BEANS: Use leftover baked beans to make chili.

BREAD: If your bread is getting a little stale, consider letting it dry out to make your own breadcrumbs. Or you can make crouton. Another option is to make french toast with day-old bread. Just follow your usual recipe, and then place the french toast on a cookie sheet and "flash freeze" in your freezer. When frozen, remove and place in a freezer-suitable container for easy breakfast any morning.

HAMBURGER/HOTDOG BUNS: Do you have just one or two buns left in the package? Freeze them each time you do, and when you have several saved up, make cheesy toast with them. Just remove them from the freezer, let them thaw slightly (no need to be fully thawed), separate the top from the bottom, spread with soft margarine or butter and top with Parmesan cheese. Broil until lightly brown in your broiler.

Another thing I do with leftover/slightly stale bread is to keep a freezer bag in the freezer and cut up the leftover buns and bread into cubes and put in the freezer bag. When I want to make stuffing, all the bread is ready and already cubed.

ROAST: Leftover roast can be used in a variety of ways, but my favorite way is to cook it in a crockpot with seasonings until you are able to shred it. I then use it to make shredded beef tacos. Another favorite is to cut it up into small chunks along with any leftover potatoes and carrots and fry in a skillet with butter and onion for a great roast beef hash.

STEAK: Much like the roast above, I enjoy using leftover steak by slicing it very thin, cooking it in a pan with sliced green bell pepper and onion, adding some fajita seasoning and making fajitas.

BAKED POTATOES: Never waste your extra baked potatoes! If you only have one or two, they are excellent cut up and fried in a pan. If you have several extras you can make stuffed potatoes by cutting them in half lengthwise and scoop out the pulp. Place the potato pulp in a bowl and add any of the following until light and fluffy: milk, margarine/butter, shredded cheese, cheddar cheese soup, chives, bacon, sour cream. Place the mixture back into the potato shells and top with additional shredded cheese, if desired. Place in oven until hot for yummy twice baked potatoes. If you prefer, freeze your twice baked potatoes in the freezer for a meal another day. Leftover baked potatoes are perfect for making Loaded Baked Potato Soup.

MASHED POTATOES: Make into patties, drench in flour and fry in butter. You can also add them to your bread dough for really moist potato bread.

TURKEY OR CHICKEN: Leftover turkey and chicken is one of the most versatile leftovers. By using just meat (removing bone and skin), you can make sandwiches with the meat sliced, chicken or turkey salad sandwiches, or even make enchiladas or tacos. Make delicious turkey/chicken noodle soup or chicken pot pie.

STALE CEREAL: Just about any corn-based cereal, even Capt. Crunch, can be used to coat chicken. Just crush the cereal well, dip your chicken pieces in an egg wash, and roll in the crushed cereal. Bake according to your favorite oven baked chicken recipe. Cornflakes can be used as casserole toppings. Raisin Bran for muffins.

HAM: You can use leftover ham for sandwiches, casseroles, added to scalloped potatoes, omelets, crepes, and quiche. You can use the meat and bone for bean, split pea or lentil soups.

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