Being Intentional with Extra Food
Being Intentional to Repurpose Leftovers
No matter how good a planner you are, or how precise your measurements may be, as a home-cook there will be days where you will have leftover foods. Perhaps this is one of the biggest areas of wasted food there is in this country. Most of us do not like eating for more than one day in a row. Often leftovers get re-purposed for lunch the next day. That is a great re-use of a dinner meal. But what do you do if you have more than that left over?
Tips for Repurposing Leftovers
- Left over meats can be frozen and then later added to a quick burrito or fajita.
- Cube leftover chicken and throw together with a pasta or rice casserole.
- Meatloaf makes for delicious lunchtime sandwiches. Leftover chicken or ground meat can make for a simple chicken pot pieor shepherd’s pie.
- Leftover Pot Roast can be re-purposed for quick and easy Philly cheese steaks. Just sauté some onions and mushrooms, add the pot roast and heat through. Place on buns cover with cheese. Yum!
- At the end of every meal, place leftover vegetables in one large freezable container such as a gallon freezer bag. When the bag gets full, thaw and mix together with a can of whole or crushed tomatoes, your favorite seasonings and some water for a simple thrown together vegetable soup.
- Left over bread can be repurposed for croutons or bread crumbs. Biscuits can be used for topping pot pies. Use leftover dinner rolls for making sliders the next day. Leftover cornbread can be made into cornbread dressing or corn casserole.
- Leftover scrambled eggs from breakfast can be saved for the next day’s breakfast burrito, just add crumbled sausage and a little salsa.
- Leftover spaghetti sauce makes for a quick and easy throw it together lasagna.
- Or, think outside the Italian box and use that spaghetti sauce as a base for sloppy joes. Simply add in some chili powder, paprika and if you like some chopped green peppers. Serve on a bun with a salad on the side.
- Leftover Spaghetti Sauce also makes a great base for Chili. Just mix in chili powder, paprika, cumin, canned beans, cayenne or any other preferred spices add some water and maybe a little extra tomato sauce and before long you have a delicious chili.
- Mashed potatoes can be used to thicken a stew.
- They also can make for a simple potato cake as a next day side dish. To your leftover mashed potatoes, add a few tablespoons of flour to thicken until stiff. Pat out into patties, dredge the patties in cornmeal. Fry in a little oil until golden brown.
- Leftover baked or boiled potatoes can be repurposed into a cheesy “campfire” potato, just chop the potatoes drizzle with olive oil or butter, sprinkle with garlic powder, salt & pepper, add in 2 heaping tablespoons sour cream and sprinkle with your favorite shredded cheese. Heat through.
- Or, make “smashed” potatoes by doing the same.
Re-Purposed Leftover Pulled Pork
I love pork carnitas at Chipotlé so I tried to make my own using leftover pulled pork. In a sauté pan, sweat some sliced onions and minced garlic in olive oil. If you like you could add in green bell peppers. Stir in the pork and sprinkle in chili powder, paprika, cumin and parsley. Think about how you can layer the flavors.
I also add a couple of whole roasted dried red hot chili peppers which I remove before serving, these just add a ton of flavor! Wrap in a low-carb tortilla. Serve with a side of brown rice and you have a flavorful and filling meal.
Doesn’t that sound so savory?
With a little creativity and imagination you can re-purpose just about any leftover for another meal. Try to think outside the recipe box, many times necessity is the best mother of recipe invention.
Happy meal planning friends.
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