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Leftover Wonders

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You know that familiar sinking feeling? When you come home after a long day, open the fridge and are greeted with little more than a few old vegetables and rotting leftovers?

Food shopping is never at the top of the priority list. In fact, it is somewhere at the very bottom. After hard graft at work, social commitments, family obligations and basically everything else.

Anyone with a bit of imagination and love for experimenting with food can make wonders out of the overnight leftover food. I learned the art from my mother. Simple daily food leftovers turned into delicious dishes in no time.

But before I go any further, let me give your a few handy tips:

  • Proper refrigeration is essential for foods leftover. Consuming spoilt food can result in disaster. Beware that food gets spoiled before it looks, smells or tastes bad. Therefore use a refrigerator thermometer to ensure proper storage below 40 degrees Farenheit.

  • For a safe and tasty meal, it is desirable to reheat the leftover to 165 degrees Farenheit.

  • Follow the golden rule on reheating. It should be done once and once only. A cooked item that is reheated for more than once can harbor bacteria which could make one seriously ill.

  • Make sure that reheated dishes are cooked right through and served piping hot.

  • In case of restaurant leftovers, refrigerate within two hours of eating the meal. It is also recommended to label the date of restaurant leftovers as these should be consumed within three to four days.

A few handy recipes:

  • Form balls with leftover mashed potatoes around cubes of cheese and roll in crumbs and broil until golden brown.

  • Leftover spaghetti noodles make a wonderful addition to any stir fry dish. Stir fry noodles in two tablespoons hot oil for few minutes and remove and set aside. Stir in the fried noodles last.

  • For delicious turkey sandwich, place sliced leftover turnkey breast and add a spoonful of stuffing between two slices of bread.

  • Combine leftover mashed potatoes with chopped onions and shredded cheese and then bake.

  • Add diced raw vegetables and enough bottled Italian dressing to leftover spaghetti noodles for an easy and refreshing salad.

  • Leftover veggies from a relish tray can be used in soups, stews and salads. They can also be sliced and sautéed d until tender to fill an omelet or use as a fillet for meat loaf.

  • Freeze leftover cooked fish and thaw, flake and toss with onions, salad vegetables and a dressing.

  • A delicious sandwich filling can be made with minced beef scraps, mixing them with mayonnaise or cream cheese or spicing up with mustard horseradish or pickle.

  • Freeze leftover coffee or tea into coffee / tea ice cubes and use for iced coffee or other iced drinks instead of pouring leftover coffee/tea

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