Repurposing Leftovers…

15 May

I’ve been on a money-saving kick lately, and with my ankle issues (by the way, the doctor’s office reports that I don’t currently have a fracture but I have an old one that’s healed…  evidently I was walking around at some point over the last twenty years on a fracture and didn’t know it…  fabulous…) I have been trying to stay around the office for lunch.

So I’ve been working on repurposing leftovers.

Earlier in the week, I grabbed some meat left over from a fondue dinner we’d had the night before.  There wasn’t quite enough to eat and get the protein I needed at lunch (being a hypoglycemic I need to keep my protein levels up), so I made a quick white bean puree from a can of beans we had in the cupboard, a shake of dehydrated garlic, some olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon I’d zested for the Mother’s Day lemon cake.  I grabbed a handful of whatever raw veggies we had in the fridge.  I ran to the store and grabbed a small package of prepared grilled chicken (high in sodium, but I got the healthiest one I could – they’re still better for you than lunch meat, as far as sodium goes) and a bag of “hand-stretched” flatbread.

I put the other half of the white bean spread in the freezer to eat next week, but I’ve been eating the bread all week in different forms – sometimes as part of a snack and yesterday as a “sandwich” with part of the remaining chicken.  Today, I made a quick puree of basil leaves that we’d bought over the weekend and not used (our friends preferred pancakes over omlette, so I obliged; the basil was on its last legs, though, so a pesto was the only way to go) and grated the end of a piece of sharp gouda that I’d actually bought to make my contribution to the Easter dinner (mac n’ cheese).  There was a single, lonely tomato in the bottom of my icebox with two moldy spots – but I was able to work around them.

In two minutes my work microwave, I put together a flatbread “pizza” using the last of the chicken and bread, the grated cheese, the “pesto”, and the tomatoes.  I’m pretty proud of myself – I managed to make something extremely tasty and decently well-balanced (I guess I could have used more veggies, if I’d thought about it!) with ingredients we already had laying around the house.  Tonight, we have leftover steak (frozen after a dinner at my parents’ house) that we’re planning on making into burritos…

Anyway, it got me thinking about how to make leftovers fun, interesting and edible.  Aside from pizzas and burritos, I remember my mom making “fried rice” and soups from leftover ingredients.  Pastas and salads are also fantastic ways to use up bits and pieces – the more random things tossed in, the more interesting they become.   And I love making a curry from ingredients sitting in the fridge.  I know my parents and grandparents were always very good about using every resource they had – and that we sometimes are wasteful, forgetting about ingredients until they’ve gone bad.  Do you have a good plan for using up left over bits and pieces to make an awesome lunch or dinner?


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