Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Clean Out the Fridge - Ideas for Leftovers
This week I have been writing about what to do with all your "stuff" when you are Spring Cleaning. The refrigerator certainly needs our attention when we are cleaning and I'm guessing a fraction of what is in the fridge needs to head straight to the garbage. If you have any edible leftovers remaining, you can stretch them into a new meal with just a little creativity.
- First and easiest, rewarm the leftovers, but create a buffet. Let the family choose, as if it were a restaurant. The younger children love this, but don't forget to give your restaurant a name. If you have small children and especially if they do not like leftovers, create a quick menu in which they can select their own dinner. My children loved the menu idea when they were younger, especially when mom sported the folded towel draped over one arm as their server.
- If you have eggs, possibly a little meat, some veggies and cheese, you can make a quiche. If you're doubting the men in your life will be receptive to quiche, you can call it "Ham and Egg Dinner Pie" or a "Chicken and Spinach Bake." You get the drift... You can make the quiche with either a homemade or store-bought crust, though the store-bought will be quicker. Provided you have a little creativity and a few necessary ingredients, you should be able to find a quiche recipe that will work.
- If you routinely have small amounts of leftover meat (ground beef, ham or sausage are the best) you can start a bag in your freezer to collect pizza toppings. When I have ground beef or chicken, I sometimes turn the pizza into a barbecue or cheeseburger pizza. I mix in a little barbecue sauce with the pizza sauce and top it with shredded cheddar instead of mozzarella.
- If you have an assortment of noodles or rice, veggies, and even a little meat, you can turn it into a soup. Just grab some stock, choosing an appropriate one based on the meat you have on hand, and rewarm in a pot. Add a few suitable fresh ingredients to stretch it into a big enough meal for your family. Depending on which foods you have left from a Mexican dinner, you might be able to create a taco soup. A minestrone can be created with leftover pasta and beans. The veggies, rice and noodles can also be good ways to stretch canned soup when your time is limited.
- If you have chicken and veggies, you could mix up some dumplings from a baking mix or even from scratch, and allow to cook until done on top of the chicken soup. In addition to stretching the meal, the dumplings will be helpful in thickening the soup.
- Betty Crocker has a series of recipes using Bisquick called Impossible Pies that are also great for using miscellaneous leftovers. While the recipes call for specific amounts of the veggies and meat, I'm certain that you could do a little substituting if you are comfortable in the kitchen. However, there are so many recipes for the Impossible Pies that you may not need to substitute.
I hope this helps you find some new ideas to spice up your leftovers. Using food before it goes to waste works for me. You will find more Works for Me Wednesday Tips at We Are THAT Family.
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Great ideas! I had never thought of using my little bits of extra ground beef for pizza topping! Awesome!
Such great tips! I really want to find better ways to use leftovers, and you've given me some wonderful ideas! Thanks!!
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