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Use those Leftovers! Or Esle!

I know you all made the Beer-Can Chicken we posted on Wednesday, and if you are like us, you had some leftovers.  We talked a little bit about leftovers in our lunch post, but I feel like I have more to say.  In our house, we have leftovers from meals more often than not.  If you don’t want to waste food, and money, because food costs money, or at least the food we get costs money, you need to use them up.  Odds are good that you don’t want to eat the same meal two nights in a row.  Well, Crystal doesn’t like to eat the same meal two nights in a row.  I could eat stir fry five nights a week.  In order to make sure you are using your leftovers, you might need to come up with a few new things to do with them.

1.)  Salads.  Salads are a great way to use up leftovers.  If you have leftover grilled meat from the night before, fix yourself a salad and add the grilled meat to it.  This is a healthy way to go, but it’s not the only salad we’ve talked about here before.  Remember the chicken salad we talked about that one time?  Sure you do.  It’s better when you make it with leftover chicken than with canned chicken.  Don’t limit yourself to chicken salad though.  I remember my grandma taking leftover meat, whether it was pork roast, beef, anything really, and putting it through her meat grinder.  If you don’t have a meat grinder, you could just chop it up.  After that, she would mix it with a little mayo, some chopped pickles and onions.  Just like that you have a tasty spread to make a sandwich with, or put on crackers.  Salads are great for the “I don’t what else to do with this stuff” leftover.

2.)  Hash.  I love hash.  It’s the most perfect thing to do with leftover roasts that I can think of.  I really like making roasts in the crock pot during the school year.  It’s really easy, and there are always lots of leftovers.  When I make my roast, I always add onions, potatoes, carrots, and celery.  Chop up the leftover veggies and meat, toss them in a pan with a small amount of olive oil.  Fry everything up until it is crispy.  I always save the extra cooking liquid from the roast as well.  That way, I can add it to a pot, and thicken it up with a little cornstarch mixed with cold water (called slurry).  Put that sauce on top of your crispy hash, and you are good to go!  Hash is also wonderful for breakfast.

3.)  Mix and match.  Sometimes, you might have leftovers from multiple meals.  With a little creativity, you can combine these leftovers into a whole new meal.  Not too long ago, Crystal and I had some leftover bruchetta from appetizers.  We also had a few leftover chicken breasts.  I took the leftover chicken breasts and topped them with the bruchetta, and a little bit of asiago cheese.  I then took them to my grill, which I had on low.  I used the rotisserie burner to get the cheese good and melty.  I few minutes on the grill to heat up the chicken and melt the cheese and dinner was ready.  It was quite tasty, too.  Take a look in your fridge, and see what you can combine from previous meals to make a new one.  It’s tasty and fun!

4.) Reheating Rare.  Sometimes, but not often, we have leftover steak, or roast beef.  We like our steak and roast beef medium rare.  Sometimes, this can be tricky to reheat without taking it to the well-done mark.  We figured out a way to reheat these things without toasting them.  Get a sauté pan, and heat up some beef broth with a few spices.  We like Herbs de Provence.   Bring the liquid to a simmer.  Meanwhile, slice the steak or roast into slices.  Not too thin, but not thick either.  Try for about 3/8 of an inch.  All that’s left is poaching the meat in the broth.  This way, you heat the meat though without overcooking it.  Then, if you want to get really fancy, take your cooking liquid, add a little slurry (we talked about that earlier) and make a gravy.  Take your slices of meat, and put them on a piece of toast.  Top that with the gravy and serve with a side salad.  It’s pretty awesome, just like me.

Hopefully this post has given you some ideas of how to use your leftovers.  Again, I encourage you to write to us with your questions.  We will be more than happy to answer them.  In the meantime, use them leftovers, and be well!

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