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Tips for Using Up Leftover Food

leftover food

Whenever you make a great meal, you might find you have leftovers. That might be leftover ingredients, such as half the pot of sour cream you didn’t need, or it might be complete portions of food. Maybe you have a leftover chicken breast or some leftover rice, so rather that waste these items, what can you do with them?

If it’s good food, don’t throw it out. You can use dry bread for making French toast, croquettes, stuffings or breadcrumbs, for example, or use an egg yolk instead of, or as well as, a whole egg, perhaps for an omelette. Try adding leftover fruit to cakes or muffins, or cooked vegetables and legumes like carrots, peas and beans in soups, stuffed peppers, vegetables in cheese sauce, or a meat and vegetable pie. Leafy vegetables can go in meatloaf, omelette, soufflé, or you can make them into a soup or stew.

Fruit and Eggs

Cooked or tinned fruits are good for making jellied fruit, shortcake or yeast breads, while cooked what, oat or corn cereals can be used to make meatloaf, burgers or sweet puddings. Egg yolks can go in cornflour puddings, cakes, sauces or custards, or you can make scrambled eggs with them or use them to make a dressing for your salad. Egg whites are good for soufflé, meringue, fruit whip or custard. Hard-boiled eggs can be made into egg mayonnaise (egg salad) or devilled eggs. They can also be added to sandwiches or used as a garnish.

Meat, Fish and Grains

Cooked meat, poultry, fish and seafood is fine for making salads, sandwiches, stuffed tomatoes or bell peppers, or you can use it in casseroles, stews or soups. Chop some and throw it into your next risotto or baked pasta dish.

Talking of pasta and rice, the leftovers can be used in meat or cheese loaf, timbales or to make a salad. An easy salad is made by stirring mayonnaise into cold cooked pasta or rice and adding some leftover chopped meat and/or vegetables to the mix along with salt and pepper. Don’t forget leftover cooked rice is perfect for making Chinese fried rice (you shouldn’t use freshly cooked rice for making fried rice because it turns mushy!)

Leftover cakes and cookies can be topped with ice cream or whipped cream for dessert. Cooked potatoes are good for making fried potato slices, corned beef hash, or a chowder or stew, and sour cream is good for making salad dressings and vegetable sauces, or you could use it in your next pie filling, dessert sauce or meat stew. It can also be used in cake and cookie recipes. Sour milk can be used in cakes, cookies or quick breads.

Make Friends with Your Freezer

A lot of types of food freeze well, whether you have a portion of lasagne left over or whether you can’t face looking at turkey if you had tons of it the day before and would prefer to freeze the rest until the turkey craving kicks in again. Not everything can be frozen, but consider freezing fruit in small bags, then you can just empty one into your blender with some water, milk or juice, and rustle up a healthy smoothie. If you have a lot of food left over, freeze it in portions so you can thaw only what you need.

Photo by Huffington Post

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