I hate wasting food. My kids and husband mock me mercilessly, but I just know I can put those leftovers to use! I also love re-using plastic containers before recycling and these are perfect storage vehicles for various food remnants. Hence, the running joke in our house about the multiple cottage cheese containers in our fridge, none of which actually contain cottage cheese.
Despite my family’s ridicule, I have become something of a self-made expert on creating new dishes from previous meals. I recently had a marathon session from a single meal that ultimately produced 3 new dishes. I think this was a good run and maybe even a record for me.
I started out making a delightful chicken piccata meal with cauliflower-potato mash [link] and roasted vegetables for my husband and I. It is one of his favorites and I always make lots of the sauce because it is so good! Bright and tart with lots of lemon and briny capers [link].
The next morning I made myself a breakfast quesadilla by spreading some of the leftover potato/cauliflower mash on a brown rice tortilla (GF) topped with some of the sliced chicken, a dollop of piccata sauce, shredded sharp cheddar and sliced green onions. So good! Savory breakfast lovers rejoice! Dinner the next night involved chopping the leftover roasted veg and stewing it with cooked green lentils, brown basmati rice, onion, cumin, chili powder, garlic, a splash of Worcestershire sauce and V8 to make a vegan sloppy joe. My husband surprised himself and loved it; he’s always a wee bit suspicious of vegan food. Last meal of the series was a breakfast hash made from frying up the rest of the roasted veg, a chopped-up half of baked potato form a different original meal and some onions and peppers. Topped all of that with a fried egg and a drizzle of the dregs of the piccata sauce. Divine!
In general, soups/stews, quesadillas, pasta, hash, frittatas/scrambles are all great vehicles for using up leftover food. I treat it as a challenge or a game to breathe new life into old morsels. Its fun for me, tired food gets a new lease on life and my family tolerates/teases me about it. Everybody wins.