I make a big effort in my house not to serve the same thing over and over again. For one thing, I get bored cooking the same thing again and again (and I have a feeling my family would get bored eating the same thing as well). I also think that by trying new things you open your family up to new things (especially if you have kids) and it also makes making dinner a fun and creative experience. This past month, I’ve managed to make some delicious entrees – and unlike most months, I’ve tried to really take advantage of leftovers and turn them into something new and exciting as well. Taking advantage of leftovers ends up saving you money in the long run since you usually have the “star” – most often the meat or protein in the dish which also happens to usually be the most expensive part.
Since most of the second night’s meal is based on what is leftover and what I happen to have on hand in the kitchen – I’d like to share the concept using leftovers instead of actual recipes. I think by doing so, it will get your creative juices flowing and get you on the right track of making use of what’s on hand and turning it into something as special as the original meal.
Meal #1: Chuck Roast with Wine & Porcini served with Carrots and Mashed Potatoes
Meal #2: Shepherd’s Pie (leftover cubed chuck roast combined with onions, celery and leftover carrots – warmed with sauce and topped with mashed potatoes then baked until hot and bubbly)
Meal #1: Glazed Ham with Mashed Potatoes and Steamed Asparagus
Meal #2: Baked Macaroni & Cheese with Ham
Meal #3: Split Pea Soup with Ham
Meal #1: Roast Chicken with Roasted Potatoes & Brussels Sprouts
Meal #2: Chicken Fettuccine with Spinach & Basil
Meal #1: Tacos
Meal #2: Egg Scramble with taco meat, salsa, sour cream and tomatoes
Meal #3: Baked Potatoes with Taco Fixin’s
I really like maximizing meals like this – it is so much better than having to clean out the fridge from leftovers of really good stuff that have gone to waste simply because no one wants the same thing twice. The message here is simple – be creative and identify what you have on hand that would transform your leftovers into something equally as delicious – so much so your family won’t even know that it started with leftovers.
- Chef Jessica