I sometimes have these really random ideas for blog posts that come to me while I’m doing other things—mostly times where it’s not really convenient to write these thoughts down. The next best step? Trying to fit them into my already-filled-to-capacity mental cavity.
We were at a restaurant the other day and when the waitress came to the table beside ours and asked to package their remaining food (which was a lot)—they said “Oh, we don’t do leftovers”. Hmm, okay. That’s pretty interesting, because I’m pretty sure no one ever comes home for lunch/dinner/otherwise and is thinking, “Damn, I’m really craving leftovers.” I just don’t think that happens. And seriously—restaurant leftovers are better than regular leftovers. Am I right? This was when I decided these people were tourists and/or crazy.
When I’m cooking in my own kitchen, I know that our leftovers will always go to Dane’s lunch. That being said, it’s often really difficult to cook for just one person or two people and throwing food away just isn’t in my genes. See: Leftovers are never going away.
Because of all of this, I’ve become a master of repurposing leftover food into totally new meals. Let’s take spaghetti sauce for example, solely because I made a huge crock-pot of it the other day. Obviously, Dane and I will not eat spaghetti for 3 weeks straight while we rid ourselves of all this sauce. Mostly because that is incredibly boring and boring doesn’t mix well with me either.
So on the first day, of course, we had spaghetti. That only seems fair that you get the obligatory meal out of the way first. The rest of the sauce yielded 4 plastic containers of sauce. 2 got frozen and 2 got kept in the refrigerator.
Meal #2? Buffalo chicken pizza. We took a gluten-free pizza crust, mixed bleu cheese and the pizza sauce and spread it across our pizza, added some cheese and chicken, and sent it into the oven. Voila! A whole new creation.
Meal #3? Minestrone Soup. Leftover sauce makes an amazing base for soups, because it’s packed with so much flavor. Simply add 5 cups water for every container of sauce you use (usually only 1 is necessary). Add beans, noodles, and let cook on low in the crockpot. There’s nothing I love more than a good crock-pot meal. Anyone else feel me on this one?
Quinoa Pizza Bites. I shamelessly am taking a page from Sarah’s book, because when I visited she made these and loved them.
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1 cup chopped pepperoni slices (~1/2 of a 7 oz bag)
- 1/2 tsp seasoning salt
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp dried crushed oregano
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix together all ingredients, except pizza sauce, in a medium mixing bowl.
3. Distribute mixture into a greased mini muffin tin, filling each cup to the top (1 heaping Tbs each), and press down gently to compact.
4. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
Heat up some of your sauce for dipping and enjoy! Freaking delicious. I dare you not to hover over the tray like I did.
Baked Brie. Do you ever get into the predicament where friends are coming over and you have 15 minutes to simultaneously clean your house and whip up a snack? Yeah me either. But in case you do, this is the oldest trick in the book. Take store-bought brie and slice off the top rind. Cover lightly with your sauce & breadcrumbs (I usually pass on this part) and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Pull it out, slap it on a pretty serving tray and ohhh baby, your guests are going to be so impressed.
For people that want to get fancy:
Blend one stick of butter and ¼ cup sauce into your food processor and refrigerate. It's the perfect addition to warm bread before a meal or as a snack.
Now, I know what you're thinking--you used sauce as an example--what about other ideas? Throw 'em at me and another re-purposing post could be in the future!
Happy Random Wednesday with Shanna!