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Using Leftovers in New Dishes

Tip of the Day

I once knew a chef who taught me that nothing should ever go to waste. His role model was the “Frugal Gourmet” … remember him? His name was Jeff Smith and he had a very popular cooking show devoted to cooking “frugally”.

Using leftovers in new dishes is something chefs do every day. They make the most of all parts of foods… making stocks from bones and bits of meat… or from vegetables… using left over vegetables in soups… so many ways to use what we have.

Leftover mash potatoes make wonderful German potato pancakes. My grandparents lived during the Depression and through the shortages during the war.. .they learned to make meals out of what they had… using everything they had available. Many of the foods of my childhood are “holdovers” from those lean days… they became family recipes.

Before throwing that bit of leftover away… think about what you could possibly use it in. In fact, when meal planning… think about foods that might be leftover and how you can use them in another meal. We can learn a lot from frugal chefs and older relatives that lived through and thrived in lean times.

2 comments:

Aimee April 24, 2009 at 10:46 AM  

I consider myself kind of a champion leftover cook. Extra mashed potatoes are good for lots of things beyond pancakes (one of my favorite applications.). I use them to thicken soup, I add lots of chopped fresh onions and celery and other stuff and make "smashed potato salad." I even use them in bread sometimes. And let's not forget shepard's pie! Rice is another thing that it's a good idea to make extra. Extra rice can be used for the next day's fried rice, rice pudding, or if you're feeling fancy, arancini.
One fat chicken has a three day life in my house: roasted the first day; in enchiladas, chicken salad sandwiches, or a casserole the next day; and finally soup. I like to make the soup an unusual one with a very different flavor than the preceding days meals to avoid boredom. Maybe chinese ginger and garlic, or avgolemono.
I consider leftovers a challenge. Of course once in a while you get stumped (there's not much to do with leftover lsagna except reheat it) but it's all part of the fun.

Linda April 24, 2009 at 11:57 AM  

Absolutely! All great ideas... you are definitely my kind of person..

You're right about lasagna too... but then again... it's great all by itself

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