As Michaela stated last week, cooking once and eating twice is a great way to simplify meal planning and preparation. And by simply tweaking a few things, you can create something completely new and reduce food waste. Today I will walk through the ins-and-outs of one of my personal favorites – the leftover makeover.
Food Saver Friday – The Art of the Leftover Makeover
If you are familiar with Diary of a Recovering Food Waster series then you know that, much like Food Saver Friday, it was meant to keep me transparent and hold me accountable to my goals of reducing food waste. It is where I began using the term, leftover makeover. The term and the idea behind it sparked some friendly debate from readers, discussing the benefits of reducing portion size and fixing only what will be consumed in one sitting. I cannot disagree, cooking only what you’ll eat in one sitting is an absolutely fantastic way to reduce food waste, for sure.
I have young kids and it is anybody’s guess what they will or will not eat at any given meal. Sometimes they are persnickety, only taking but a nibble of the scrumptious spread before them. And other times they resemble ravenous wolves ready to rip your arm off if you dare even think about taking the last little bit of whatever was fixed for supper. They are tricky like that.
And the leftover makeover – it is my creative outlet. It is my art. Some people are creative and wildly talented working with media such as oil paints, graphic art software, ceramics, wood, or musical instruments. But for me, my medium of choice is food. Turning raw ingredients into something delicious is something I quite enjoy. And I absolutely love the challenge of taking that delicious something and turning it into something completely new and maybe even more delicious the next day.
The key to a successful leftover makeover is picking one ingredient and brainstorming ideas until you come up with a transformation that works for you. The ingredient I most often focus on is the meat. If I am including something into our meal plan that I know yields leftovers, I brainstorm what I can do with said leftovers and add those to the plan as well. For example…
Hot Beef Sundaes are a family favorite! And while there are other ways to make them, I typically make them from the leftovers of Juicy Sirloin Tip Roast because – simplicity. It comes back to the cook once eat twice concept. Doing it this way I am already time ahead with the meat and gravy part.
As with the roast to sundae example above, I generally make Easy Delicious Oven Roasted Chicken with Simple Tasty Chicken Salad in mind. But once I roasted a 13 pound chicken. In case you were wondering, that is a lot of chicken. We had company over that night, but still had a substantial amount of leftovers, which I transformed into chicken bacon ranch sandwiches one night and chicken black bean and corn burritos the next night.
Grilled T-Bone Steaks – Steak Salad with Pears and Honey Mustard Dressing
On the rare occasion that we have leftover grilled T-Bones or steaks of any sort, I like to make Steak Salad with Pears and Honey Mustard Dressing the next day because it is quite simply the perfect blend of meaty, tangy, crunchy, sweet goodness. I have also been known to slice leftover steak for hearty breakfast of steak and eggs.
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork – Pulled Pork Stuffed Sweet Potato
I recently, as in yesterday, signed up for The Preserves Project monthly newsletter. In it Stacy included a section called “Double Duty” in which she shared these two recipes. I have not tried them yet, but they look so tantalizingly tasty (and I have made her Sausage Cheddar Bites – delish!) that you can bet they will be on our menu soon – very soon!
Hint: Because it is a bonus if you want the recipe for the Slow Cooker Pulled Pork, you’ll need to sign up for Stacy’s stellar newsletter, which can be done by visiting The Preserves Project and entering your information into the sign up form on the sidebar. 😉
Now while I tend to focus more on transforming the meat or the main dish, side dishes or other single ingredients can also be made over as well. If we have leftover mashed potatoes from Hot Beef Sundae night, I will use them to make Once Boiled Once Baked Potatoes the next night. Leftover marinara from making homemade pizza makes a great dipping sauce for grilled mozzarella cheese sandwiches. And, taking another one from Stacy at The Preserves Project, the last little bit of jam can be transformed in to a tasty cocktail.
Next Week on Food Saver Friday
Remember those tricky children I mentioned above? Well, I am positive mine are not the only ones. So if you are one of the lucky parents who have sometime persnickety and other times ravenous kids, stay tuned next time for the tried and true tricks we use to turn our kids from persnickety nibbler to ravenous plate cleaners.
In the meantime, if you have questions feel free to leave them here in the comments, or shoot us an email using theContact Me page. And if you’ve missed any of the food saving goodness, click here to catch up.