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what do you do with your spare parts?

the other night i made lasagna and had more leftover noodles than i was happy to throw out, but less than i would make some other meal out of. i remembered when i was a kid and my mom had leftover noodles i would take one, slather it in butter, put some cinnammon sugar on it and have a pre-lasagna lasagna dessert. I did this in the end but thought maybe there is something more creative to do here. What would you do?

And another thing-- all those darned fortune cookies that you get from chinese takeaway that never get eaten. Seems silly to just throw out. Do you do anything interesting with those? Crumble them into something?

I have a system for bread down. My freezer is littered with bread scraps for bread puddings and panades. i have even been known to steam back to life rock hard half loaves that dried out before they went moldy.

What are your spare parts in the kitchen and what do you do with them?

What are the scraps that sit in your freezer mocking you, saying 'you'll never find a use for me! Mhwahh ha ha ha!" (well mine do this....)

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  1. I make soup! Usually the leftovers are cooked vegetables and gravy from meat dishes. I've recently adopted a new dietary lifestyle to lose weight that has been successful so far. I eat a bean and barley soup for breakfast, and cooked old-fashioned oatmeal for lunch. Dinner is whatever my wife prepares. I'm down 20 pounds as of yesterdays weigh-in after a couple of months.

    The bean and barley soup is made up of at least 2 kinds of beans (pinto, navy, cannellini, small red, garbanzo, etc.), lentils, split peas, 28-oz. can of tomato puree, onion, celery, garlic, leftover vegetables, leftover gravy (often kept in freezer until needed), barley and so on.

    Si, e una minestrone! Chiamarsi 'orzo e fagioli.' BTW, non sono italiano, ma la minestrone fa mi parlo italiano.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ChiliDude

      Ditto with the roulade. Actually, my grandmother would let the grandchildren who watched and helped have the lasagna "rags"; she'd cut the homemade parboiled noodles with a fancy edged ravioli cutter into odd sizes, then finish cooking them and we'd have them with butter and parm or with freshly made sauce. A treat for the kids!

      1. re: ChiliDude

        Congratulations!!! Isn't it a fantastic feeling?

        And thanks for the suggestion -- it never occurred to me to use extra gravy as a base for soup! I'm definitely going to try that with the green olive and anchovy sauce I made last night.

      2. We would make a lasagna roulade... one noodle, spread with ricotta and spinach, rolled up, secured with a toothpick and sauced with the sauce of choice-tomato, bechamel, whatever,,, then cook in the toaster oven.

        1 Reply
        1. re: MaspethMaven

          I do a roulade, but dessert-style with cinnamon sugar ricotta cheese, roll up, drizzle with butter and coat with graham cracker crumbs, then brown in a pan; serve w/ chocolate sauce or vanilla bean creme anglaise.

          Or, cut into strips, fry in butter (or vegetable oil) til crisp, then coat w/ cinnamon sugar.

        2. I deliberately do not have a freezer but I never throw food away. With spare parts I just keep on eating them until I've used them all up and then I'll go and do the shopping again once I've cleared the fridge out.

          2 Replies
          1. re: coombe

            I'm confused! Do you have a refrigerator? If so, does the refrigerator not have a freezer compartment? Is it a 'lowboy' that only refrigerates? Do you have ice delivered daily that is kept in a box to keep food cold? I was born in the 1930s and was a little kid when ice was delivered by horsedrawn wagon during WWII, and people did not have electric refrigerators.

            1. re: ChiliDude

              I do have a refrigerator with a very small freezer compartment big enough for some ice and a box of ice cream. I don't ever freeze meat, fish or anything else because I will only buy what I know I will get through within a few days.

          2. Everytime I shell frozen raw shrimp I throw the shells in a bag in the freezer. One of theses days I will make a good shrimp stock. I will! I will!!

            3 Replies
            1. re: Eric in NJ

              Great idea, Eric! I've done that several times and it works well. The stock is a nice base for chowder.

              1. re: ChiliDude

                I'm thinking of putting it in a Paella.

                1. re: ChiliDude

                  I've decided to start saving shrimp shells, even though I've never made chowder in my life. Maybe I will someday. How many shells do you use when you make the stock?

              2. For the lasagna noodles I do pasta rags. Just break them up and cook them in salted water. Add toping/sauce of choice.

                I try to respect the ingredients so I freeze many things. Chicken stock with necks and backs. Shrimp stock with shells into pho broth. Produce going bad gets frozen before it turns for stock flavoring.

                For those cookies, why not try to stack them as a base and serve a small tart or something on top? You don't have to eat them, just use them as plating decoration.

                1 Reply
                1. re: holy chow

                  Those "pasta rags" can be used as maltagliati (meaning "badly cut"), which is what Marcella Hazan specifies in her recipe for pasta e fagioli (otherwize known as pasta fazool). It's in one of her earlier big cookbooks, don't remember which, but this dish is well worth making.

                2. I have a good variety of small plastic containers and jars. Rather than toss the last 3 tablespoons of bolognese sauce, for example, it went into a container and enriched a quick pasta sauce of calamari, baby summer squash and swiss chard. My son likes his steaks broiled , not charred, and finished in a hot oven. I end up with a tablespoon or so of meaty juices that go in to a container and enrich the next dish of stew, or soup. Basically, I have adopted a policy of not tossing the last bits and being creative in recycling them. Freezing works for larger portions. I even freeze leftover pasta separately from leftover sauce, and when the teenagers want an "instant" meal I can hand them spaghetti with meat sauce in 5 minutes, versus the horrible delay they can't handle waiting for water to boil and pasta to cook. The whole concept is fun, economical, and often results in a dish having that super tastiness that you just can't put your finger on. Also good forthe waitline as it keeps me from finishing that last tasty bit when I am already honestly full.

                  1. My son has an annoying habit of not quite finishing fruit. I save the half-eaten bananas for banana bread or sometimes add them to mango salsa for grilled fish. Mushy, leftover grapes are cooked with shallots and eaten with sausages over polenta. Pears and/or apples are mixed with blue cheese and a bit of broth and served on pasta. Yes, I know a lot of this sounds like "stone soup." But I hate to waste food and the results are yummy.

                    1. Gosh I thought I was alone in this one, guess not.
                      The cookies go into the freezer. They get pulverzied and mixed for the base of a crumb bottom cake or pie.
                      The sauces, I just add them to soups and to gravies. Pasta also great for soups.
                      Bread, I make dressings, I make crositini, bread crumbs, and thickner. Egg whites, I use them in different baked items. Pizza's get topped with little bits of sausage and I make crazy omelets or calzones. MY kids who never would eat left overs, look for them now. Left over fruit, smoothies. Tons of things to do with these gems!

                      1. You have leftover fortune cookies???

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: gridder

                          They go in the Hallowe'en candy bowl... Kids grab at them first... go figure.

                          1. re: Emme

                            Thank you! I can't bring myself to toss them as it seems like bad luck, but since they are individually wrapped they are perfect for Halloween!! Of course I never thought of it!

                            1. re: torty

                              Individually wrapped and last a life time... Last year we even threw in some of our collection of disposable chopsticks, and the kids went nuts for those too. Shows you how simple their tastes.

                        2. Current scraps: Enough chicken bones to make stock, enough asparagus ends to make stock, coupla cups of cornbread for stuffing, and a bunch of eggwhites left over from making ice cream.