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Please don't remind me that I'm poor; I'm having too much fun pretending I'm simply "living green" like everyone else these days.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Using leftovers - oh yuck

The sound of "using leftovers" seems so unappealing. Just the thought of warming up last night's supper can send chills through some people. My daughter says "gross Mom" and

refuses to eat something warmed over from the night before.

I try always to use the smallest amounts of leftover foods just to keep from wasting the money. Feeding a landfill, one spoonful at a time, goes against my sense of frugality.

So what does a mother do to compromise between my frugality and her taste buds? Well, let's see, have you ever heard of having a container in the freezer where you save spoonfuls of veggies plus a container for small bits of meat to be used at a later date to make soup? The idea is to save enough bits and pieces until you have enough of the basic ingredients for soup.

Yes, I do make leftover soups on occasion. Yet, there are days when I want to use these leftovers but I'm simply not in the mood for soup, know what I mean?

Here's some left over chicken from a couple of days ago. These are going into the freezer. I date it with the first ingredient so I know when it must be used.

Here's some left over cheese broccoli rice from the same dinner. I haven't dated it yet but I will before it goes into the freezer.

What do I do when I'm simply not in the mood for soup but the leftovers need to be used? I make a casserole. It occurred to me you might like my recipe for "anything goes casserole". Keep in mind that this is a casserole for one or two. To make a larger casserole for more people you need more ingredients.
1 cup meat
1 cup veggies
1 starchy ingredient
1 cup new stuff
2 cups of something to make it slick
The meat can be anything. Ham, chicken, tuna, beef, etc. What's in the container?
The veggies are what ever you have in the container.
The starchy ingredient can be anything starchy. Potatoes, noodles, rice, beans, etc.
The new stuff might be things like mushrooms, olives, onions, celery, boiled eggs, etc. Just be sure it's not leftover. It should be fresh.
Hmm.... something to make it slick. This means wet. It might be a gravy, a cream soup, tomato sauce, sour cream, etc. All the dry ingredients will need moisture in order to move easily down to the stomach.
The topping can be something in the freezer.... or not. It could be potato chips or crackers that have gotten stale. My granddaughter likes for me to use her goldfish crackers on the casserole. You could use bread crumbs that you've saved. It could be cheese you really need to use before it gets hard.. Use your imagination, topping is simply a frugal person's idea of using something instead of feeding the birds with it.
Mix everything together and see if it's wet enough. If it's not then add milk, stock, butter, ketsup, or whatever you think will make it tasty.... depending on what your ingredients are. Bake at 350 degrees for half an hour. Or just enough it becomes a whole new dish.
Oh you poor thing, you worked sooo hard to create dinner. (smile) Your family will probably never know the difference.
No, there's no pictures of a finished casserole because I didn't create it today. I just thought you might like to know about it so I posted the recipe.

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