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I have a few friends who’s family will not eat leftovers. What a shame!!!
One of the things I had learned in my years of food service was the creative use of what was left. When my Mom and I had our own restaurant, we used to joke that tomorrow’s soup was going to be cream of today’s special!
Here is a simple run down on how you can “recycle” meals:
–You start with a Baked Chicken dinner with mashed potatoes or dressing and veggies.
–If you had any chicken left, you pulled the meat off of it and whipped up a cream sauce that has a chicken broth base, few sliced carrots and a tad of marjoram. Then make some dumplings and fold into the gravy so you have Chicken and Dumplings.
–If you had any of that left over, you pulled out the dumplings (one of my guilty pleasures!) added a few more sliced carrots, peas and pearl onions. Serve it over puff pastry shells and you now have Chicken a la King.
–Have some chicken and biscuits left over? Thin it down a bit, maybe add a cup or two of cooked, diced chicken and you have creamy chicken vegetable soup.
A few things to keep in mind:
#1 You don’t serve them 4 days in a row…you space it out a bit so you might do Baked Chicken on Monday and then Chicken and Dumplings on Thursday…it keeps it from being super obvious to the intended diners.
#2 If you are doing this to your family, use the freezer so you can space things out a week or two in between reincarnations.
#3 Something like ham simply gets diced up and added to things like soups, scalloped potatoes, omelets, quiches, etc.
You have now learned how to never have “Left-overs” again! You are now PLANNING what to do with the unused fruits of your labor!
It is also handy to make “just a little extra” when cooking so you can put some in a reheatable dish right away and toss into the freezer. Pat yourself on the back as you have just made your very own frozen “TV dinner”!
Here is some food for thought: If you cook FIVE nights a week, and put ONE meal in the freezer each night…at the end of three weeks, you would have 15 meals ready and the family could just go “freezer fishing” for dinner! This is a particularly great system if you find yourself pulling previous meals out of your fridge and asking someone “does this smell OK to you?”
What do you see in the picture? Cheese ravioli with a red mushroom sauce and topped with a little fresh mozzarella next to a serving of mixed vegetables. A freezer additon from tonight’s supper!