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Theme and variation

  • n

Right up front I'm admitting that I'm researching an article. So anyone who doesn't want to contribute to my yacht-purchasing savings plan should definitely not help me out here. I'm looking for ideas - not recipes (unless you're really generous) just ideas for something where you make one thing, say a roast chicken, and then make something entirely else with the leftovers.

For example, roast beef and then shepherds pie. Or grilled chicken breasts and then grilled chicken burritos. That kind of thing. Family-friendly. And by that I do not mean stupid, but just simple enough for busy parental units to cook with a screaming toddler clinging to a knee.


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  1. l
    La Dolce Vita

    Okay, I'll contribute---as long as I get to take a spin around the harbor when the yacht arrives!

    Here's how I make use of leftovers. I'll do a roast prime rib, for example, for Christmas dinner, and then use the leftover meat for beef fajitas. Or I'll make a boned roast leg of lamb, and use the leftovers to make souvlaki sandwiches. I usually cut the meat into strips and then freeze it in smaller portions. Then, I defrost what I need and toss it into a hot frying pan with some onions or red peppers.

    I made steamed halibut this weekend, and I'm planning on making fried fish cakes with the remainder.

    Hope this helps.

    1. I usually dislike left(plan)overs, wasteful I know, but that is just me. My DH is fine with them. My mother was a teacher who cooked most weekends for the week. One thing she used to do is make pot roast and then make soup with the left overs, pureeing the cooked veg into the broth and then adding fresh veg to the soup and macaroni or other pasta. I really got tired of pot roasr and the soup early on.

      Outside of hash with leftover roasts the only plan-over I do is chcken or turkey enchiladas. I do the filling in a creamy cheese sauce with sauteed onions and chopped roasted green chilis. I serve them with a red sauce rolled into lightly fried corn tortillas. I prefer Pendery's Bull Canyon chili powder for this. It is deeply flavored and quire rich.

      1. I will make a baked ham and then lots of different leftovers...ham quiche; ham with some veggies, say asparagus, and pasta in a cream sauce; plain old ham sandwiches or ham salad; ham and eggs sandwiches; grilled cheese and ham sandwiches; pea soup with the bone; I can go on and on with what we do with leftover ham...I also use leftover roasted chicken in pasta dishes with veggies and wine/broth sauces; chicken salad; chicken fajitas...oh the joys of leftovers!! Yes, I am making these while my toddler is clinging onto my leg telling me she is hungry!!! (when can I borrow the yacht to get away from the kids) lol...

        1 Reply
        1. re: ctmom

          I forget about the roast beef, french dip sandwiches; shepards pie; hot open faced sandwich; for lunches (or small dinners) I will put the leftover meat/chicken/turkey over salad...

        2. m

          I have a toddler, so this should fit right into your specifications...

          I've been using my slow-cooker for the "first round"...pot roast or chicken legs/thighs. Easy because I can set it up in the early afternoon when my son goes down for his nap and it's done by dinnertime.

          The next round is equally quick...stir-fry with a few veggies and the leftover meat, or homemade pasta (hubby fixes it) with veggies and meat. Even if the slow cooker meat has some kind of non-oriental or non-italian sauce, it still works out pretty well.

          1. We Roast a chicken or turkey, have some of this with veggies and mashed potatoes. Then I usually separate the remaining white and dark meat. Using the white for Greek Chicken Pie in Phyllo and/or homemade chicken pot pie. The dark in Mole/empanada or tamale filling. I cook the carcass down for stock. I also usually make extra mashed potatos so the leftovers can be used for potato cakes later in the week.

            1 Reply
            1. re: AimeeP

              Greek chicken pie in phyllo? Mmmm. Would you post the recipe?

            2. Pork roast becomes pulled pork sandwiches that become enchiladas

              Roast chicken becomes chicken salad OR chicken enchiladas OR potpie and the carcass is used for stock

              Roast beef gets sliced thinly for cold sandwiches, cheese steaks, or french dip OR crockpotted for Italian beef sandwiches from there they become tamales if there is anything left.

              4 Replies
              1. re: EAF

                can you post the recipe for Italian beef please??

                1. re: ctmom

                  Put leftover roast beef in a crockpot with water or beef broth (Broth is better IMHO). Add liberal amounts of S&P chopped garlic, basil, oregano, thyme, crushed red pepper, bay leaf and an envelope of onion soup mix. (You can add a can of diced tomatoes, too if you would prefer a more red sauce). Cover and slow cook until fork tender. Pull beef into sandwich sized chunks.Serve on good crusty bread with au jus for dipping. I usually put roasted red peppers and mozzarella cheese on my sandwiches when I make this my husband prefers those greenish yellow italian peppers. YUM!

                  1. re: EAF

                    how long would you let it cook in the crockpot?? THANKS!!

                    1. re: ctmom

                      I would say 4-6 hours MINIMUM. The meat should pull apart easily when "forked". When I make this I usually throw everything into the pot before I go to work and its ready to eat when I get home which is approximately 10 hours.

              2. A couple times a year, and on St. Patrick's Day, we have corned beef and cabbage. I chop the leftover corned beef with the boiled potatoes and onion to make great corned beef hash--you can add as much potatoe/meat/onion as you like. Then stash in individual serving freezer bags and any morning you want you can make a single serving of hash.

                Leftover ham is recycled into split pea soup; turkey for soup/shepherd's pie.

                1. On the chicken theme, I do a roast chicken (actually two) and use the meat in several ways. The first is chicken and dumplings. The second is a curried chicken salad. And the third is a Vietnamese chicken salad with cabbage and mint.

                  I have also done marinated southwestern grilled chicken for my birthday party (had a LOT of it) and then the chicken was perfect for a green enchilada casserole.

                  I also do a very versatile sundried tomato dip that evolves. It starts out as a spread for crostini. And then gets tossed with spaghetti. And then the spaghetti gets turned into an egg torta.

                  1. One more. Risotto becoems risotto cakes.

                    2 Replies
                      1. re: Candy

                        Oooo! What's that?

                    1. Everyone seems to have covered the essential roast-followed-by-salad/sandwich/enchilada/hash options. Here's some non-meat-centered options:

                      Make twice the salmon you need - eat the first night poached, the leftovers as salmon cakes.

                      Make twice the cornbread you need - eat with roasted chicken the first night, make the leftovers into stuffing and either stuff and bake peppers, or bake alone and serve with leftover chicken in cream sauce.

                      Make twice the side veg you need (eg, broccoli, steamed then sauted with red pepper in olive oil), serve first with chops or what have you, make the leftovers into quiche or savory bread pudding.

                      Make twice the dressing you need for salad, serve a big impressive salad the first day, use to marinate meat for grill the next.

                      Make twice the pasta dish you need, if you're making something with plain (not stuffed) pasta, make the leftovers into a pasta fritatta.

                      Make twice the baked potatoes you need, stuff with leftovers from rest of meal (bits of ham, mushrooms, broccoli, etc) and cheese and re-bake.

                      Make leftover rice into fried rice, incorporating other leftovers if you have anything that will work. In this case, I often chop the vegetables in one big round the first night and reserve half uncooked to stir-fry the next.

                      1. I use leftover flank steak from Friday night for fajitas on Sunday evenings. Just stir fry some sliced red and green peppers, garlic, and onions, add a bit of the marinade, then add sliced steak. I microwave the leftover Near East rice dish from Fri. as well. Serve with flour tortillas and salsa (Trader Joe's smoky hot chipolte).

                        My family loves cold noodles and sesame sauce. In addition to being useful for leftover spaghetti, I will add (via separate bowls so as not to offend the younger members) sliced leftover asparagus and leftover chicken. This makes a lovely Sunday evening summer supper. In the winter,I also make my Mom's 1955-era chicken-noodle casserole, without the dairy ingredients.

                        I bake extra potatoes to use for home-fries: slice and saute with a little EVOO, sliced onion and minced garlic, salt, pepper, and maybe some paprika.

                        Good luck! p.j.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: p.j.

                          Oops, almost forgot:
                          Leftover broiled salmon is great for breakfast or lunch, on a toasted everything bagel with cream cheese and capers or sliced onion.

                        2. Thanks to all of you for your suggestions. I have narrowed down my list and here's what I think I will develop. Still some room for changes but at least I've got a direction now:

                          Grilled salmon fillet (some marinade or other)
                          Followed by Fettucini Primavera with Salmon AND/OR Salmon patties

                          Baked Chicken Breasts (probably a simple soy-based baking sauce with it)
                          Followed by Black bean, chicken and brown rice burritos AND/OR Thai or BBQ chicken pizza

                          Roast beef (simple recipe using less expensive cut of beef - possibly eye of round or similar)
                          Followed by Shepherds pie AND/OR Beef barley soup

                          Had been also hoping of doing a roast pork loin but if I do two variations on each main, I've got plenty of recipes already.