I never liked leftovers as a child or young adult. My mindset was that tasting more than once couldn’t be topped. I always thought why would I want the same dish the next day? Things have changed now that I’m a middle aged adult. Tastes and preferences change and that’s good, so leftovers won’t end up in the trash.
The last few months my husband and I are finding a new life, an empty nest with both our sons out of the house ( except for vacation breaks and summers). It’s been a challenge to try to cut down from cooking for four to two people. I tried it for a few weeks and didn’t seem to make enough for us. So since I have cooking for four embedded in my brain I’ve used it to my advantage! The leftovers serves as the meal next day. Either I take them to school for my lunch or we have them for dinner the next night.
Who hasn’t taken a leftover meal and changed it or made it better by adding ingredients? The key to optimal flavor and variety is doctoring it up! Here are some suggestions that I’ve tried:
- Take macaroni and cheese and add hamburger, diced fresh basil and garlic or add chopped up bacon instead
- Crockpot chicken can have new life with a teriyaki sauce and served with a stirfry
- Leftover beef can be enhanced with mushrooms and gravy and serve over egg noodles
- Lasagna or spaghetti can be doctored up by adding more sauce ( so it’s not dry) and another layer of cheese
- Leftover fish or shrimp could go in a fish stew ( I’ve never made that)
- Crockpot tenderloin pork can be pulled apart for barbecue sandwiches or bulkies. Just add barbecue sauce
- Leftover hamburger can be used for Shepherd’s pie, Sloppy Joe’s, taco
Whatever is leftover, look at your refrigerator for ideas. Maybe fresh broccoli or carrots could be added. Any kind of cheese from extra sharp cheddar and Parmesan can spruce a meal up. You could add sliced peppers, onions, mushrooms and garlic. Use leftovers for a rice meal, just cook fresh rice pilaf and add vegetables. Leftover mashed and roasted potatoes can be paired with chicken, beef or pork and complete a meal with fresh veggies.
There are endless possibilities if you tap into your creative side. After all, a cook takes simple ingredients and magically transform them into an appetizing dish! We are enjoying our second day meal and it’s easy to do!
Happy cooking with those leftovers!
All My Best,
Heart and Soul ❤