Repurpose It Part II

Are you repurposing your leftovers, people? Below, enjoy a few more handy tips for food management in your kitchen, as well as a few more ways to turn those leftovers into stars on your table! By the way, I hope you are continuing to eat at your dining room table, not just on your lap while watching Netflix. Turn your phones off, and have a conversation with your loved ones while you consume your fortunate bounty! Elbows on the table is acceptable.

Package any leftover food so you can see it. Put it at eye level in the fridge. I’m so visual, it’s out of sight, out of mind. I have to see it to remember it’s there. That goes for my whole kitchen, by the way. I have dishes and equipment on open shelves. I also put pantry items in clear jars instead of leaving them in plastic bags and boxes. It’s a lot to look at, but I always know what I have at a glance!

For my chef business, plastic containers are most practical since they endure travel and won’t break. Only once did I take a big mason jar of chicken broth to a client’s home, only to break it on the edge of their concrete step through the tote bag. What a mess!

If you make too much, freeze it after a few days, or even right away. Label it with the date and contents. This is good theory, but hard in practice for my household. I am impatient, and when I want to eat, I want to eat, not wait for something to defrost. You might have a better system. For now, Lance is about to leave for Arkansas on a temporary Forest Service job. He doesn’t cook, so I’m sending all the frozen leftovers with him to deal with!

Do you know your neighbors? Feeding them will go a long way. Gone are the days of borrowing a cup of sugar, but make a big batch of stew and walk some across the street. Consider it good karma. If you forget what's in your freezer like I do, keep some containers at the ready to fill with that extra bit of stew or pasta and take it to your neighbor.

Use those leftovers to…

Load Up Nachos

Grab a bag of your favorite tortilla chips, a jar of your favorite salsa, and shred some of your favorite cheese. Chop leftover meat and veg into bite-size pieces. Heat up 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet, and add chili powder, cumin, coriander, crushed red peppers or cayenne for some eat, and a bit of oregano. When you can smell the herbs and spices, they have bloomed and are ready. Toss in the meat and veg and stir around until coated. Dump onto plates of tortilla chips and immediately sprinkle the cheese then other toppings and serve. Or, put chips, seasoned meat/veg, and cheese on a sheet pan and bake until warm and cheese is melted. Put in the middle of the table and enjoy family style. 

Cook a Casserole
Chop up leftover meat and veg into bite size pieces. Put in a large bowl. Mix in a dozen eggs, a jar of marinara, a large can of enchilada sauce, or a creamy sauce made with butter, onion, garlic, flour, stock, milk, Dijon, salt and pepper (don’t use canned condensed anything). Dump that into a sprayed casserole dish, sprinkle on a mixture of Panko bread crumbs and olive oil, then sprinkle your favorite cheese on top of that. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes. 

Curry It

Chop up leftover meat and veg into bite size pieces. In a skillet add 2 tablespoons of coconut or canola oil, heat. Add 2 tablespoons of curry powder, 1 teaspoon ginger powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, one teaspoon coriander, and stir until spices bloom. Add leftover meat/veg and stir to coat. Add one can full fat coconut milk and a cup of broth. Stir and simmer for 20 minutes until warmed through. Pour over your favorite cooked rice. Top with fresh herbs and crushed toasted nuts if desired.

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