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The leftover dilemma

I hate throwing out food but there are some things that are hard to keep/reheat. What do you do w/:

1) dressed salad

2) fish

3) steak

4) if you have enough cookie dough to make 3-4 cookies but the tray is full and you can't make the cookies any larger, what do you do w/ the remainder?

5) leftover frosting when you don't plan on baking any time soon

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  1. 1- i try and eat asap..or as a snack later that night...
    2-depends on the fish
    3-never have leftover steak....
    4-eat it
    5...usually never have leftover frosting...but the little that does remain in the bowl usually disappears somehow................

    1. 1. I make sure never to have leftover dressed salad.

      2. Fish cakes

      3. Composed salad, like a tuna ni├žoise, but with sliced steak. If am not home, husband loads up some of our homemade French bread with the steak, mustard and some cheese and eats over the sink.

      4/5. N/A. Not a sweets person

      1. dressed salad will hold a day or two, but i rarely have that issue.

        fish and steak can go over salad, into breakfast eggs, or in a stir-fry.

        cook off the cookie dough, even if just a few on a pan, or freeze it for next time.

        left-over frosting? your cake needs more frosting then!

        1. With fish, it depends on what type and what sort of sauce it's in, etc. Cakes are a good option, or throw onto a lunch salad. You can also do some good dips with different fish.

          With steak, it depends on how well cooked it is. I like medium rare, which means it does reheat better. If you cook it to nearly well, I think all hope is lost. I refer to reheat it in liquid. So, thinly slice it - VERY thinly - then place in a pan of gentle simmering flavored broth just to re-heat. Remove and pile on a hoagie with sauteed onions and mushrooms for a great sandwich.

          Cookie dough - place on parchment and freeze. Once they are frozen, throw them in a freezer bag. You can bake them later - even just one when you need it!

          1. I eat the salad in a pita pocket to soak up the dressing, and add a couple of fresh vegs for crunch.

            I don't save fish.

            I make quesadillas or burritos with leftover steak. Sometimes I make a steak salad. I also freeze it and use it as above in a month or two.

            Wait until the first batch is baked, then plop the remaining dough on the sheet and bake them too.

            I don't make frosting much, but you can use it to frost storebought muffins.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Phurstluv

              I don't reheat fish, but it is great in salads or just on crackers.

              1. re: firecooked

                Reheated fish just doesn't work for me, I can't really explain it but it just doesn't appeal to me.

                I like it cold just fine. Never thought about crackers, will keep that in mind.

                1. re: cleobeach

                  I know for me its the memory of the smell of reheated fish in the microwaves at work!

            2. 1) Dressed salad - freeze in a baggie. Depending on what's in it, add to stockpot or chop it in food processor and add to meatloaf/meatball mix, or to top plain chicken or fish before baking.
              2) I don't think fish is hard to reheat. Toaster oven if fried with a crust, otherwise microwave.
              3) Let come fo room temp. Slice very thin and cover with hot gravy, or use for cold sandwiches.
              4) If a suitable dough, press into an individual tartlet and add fruit, or blind-bake to fill when cooled. Otherwise, freeze in individual balls for later baking.
              5) Use to turn homemade or storebought cookies into sandwich cookies, or freeze to use later.
              5) Freeze

              4 Replies
              1. re: greygarious

                delicate greens like lettuce don't freeze well at all.

                1. re: hotoynoodle

                  Precisely why I blend them with other ingredients! I got the idea from Jacques Pepin's More Fast Food My Way show.

                  1. re: greygarious

                    This is intriguing. What does it taste like after dressed lettuce has been frozen and then added to meatloaf or stock? I have to be honest and say if it weren't from you and Jacques Pepin, I'd possibly blow by the suggestion. Can you taste the dressing in the stock? I guess it wouldn't be a bad thing w/ balsamic or other vinegar, oils, and spices.

                    1. re: chowser

                      It pretty much disappears. Like when you cook celery leaves in a stock, there's little if anything visible. Lettuce adds moisture to meatloaf. Vinegar imparts a little tang but it mellows considerably during cooking. The rest of the ingredients in the dressing - e.g. garlic, onion, herbs - don't stand out as having come from an unusual source. Unless you use a large amount of salad, I don't think you'd know it was there.

              2. 1. Eat it as soon as possible or throw it out. Nothing less appetizing than a wilted left over salad
                2. If it's cooked, reheat it in a lightly oiled nearly dry pan and use it to stuff tortillas as wraps
                3. Steak; same as fish. Or slice it very thin and use it with the left over salad as a chef's salad ingredient.
                4. You can bake the cookie dough in a fry pan. You don't need a baking sheet or tray.
                5. Depending on what the frosting is made of you may be able to freeze it in an air tight container

                1. 1) Usually dress on the plate, therefore undressed will be fine tomorrow.

                  2) Don't usually have leftovers

                  3) Sandwiches/salad

                  4 & 5) Not a baker

                  1. 1) Mix with rice and chicken
                    2) depends on seasonings/sauces-make a dip, or heat on top of crackers mixed with some cream cheese
                    3) again depends on sauce/seasonings...i make steak on sunday and then make different things all week--mix with oyster sauce for rice, mix with bbq sauce for sandwich, make philly cheese steaks, mix with pasta-etc endless possibilities for that one
                    4) freeze or just bake them after first batch is done-or in muffin cups for a cookie cup filled with ice cream
                    5) BIG SPOON!!! (or as greygarious says)

                    1. 1 - always a dilemma, usually only happens to me after having people to dinner

                      2, 3 - eat cold the next day, either as is or in a salad

                      4 - bake them in toaster oven

                      5 - unusual, but if butter-based, freeze; if whipped cream, re-whisk and use as a topping for fruit

                      1. 1. As others have said, I try to avoid it. When it's just my husband and me, I usually make individual salads and dress them, to avoid left overs. Otherwise, I just try to encourage those present to eat it up as seconds.

                        2. Depends on the type but I usually add it, flaked, into salad for lunch. If it's breaded, then can be served on a sandwich.

                        3. Sliced thin, then sauteed very briefly in hot oil, with salt & pepper, for use in a sandwich. Or, cut into pieces and added into an entree salad, with some raw red onion, for lunch. Or, served with eggs for breakfast/brunch, using the same technique of slicing thin and sauteeing briefly.

                        4. I'll start another tray and bake them afterwards.

                        5. Lick the spoon, then throw out.

                        1. 1) I would never keep a dressed salad for later. I know people that will keep eating at one for days and that makes me gag just thinking about it. (it is the wilt that gets me)

                          2) We never have leftover fish

                          3) leftover steak rarely happens. If it does and it is close to a weekend, I will make some sort of steak and egg burritos or breakfast tacos

                          4) you eat the dough silly and beat off any family members with a spatula if they try to get at it first

                          5) Call for the males of my household. The child gets first dibs, husband second.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: cleobeach

                            LOL, what I usually do w/ the leftover cookie dough is spread it on warm cookies and make a cookie sandwich.

                              1. re: junglekitte

                                Or, crazy, in a nauseous kind of way!! ;p )

                                1. re: Phurstluv

                                  Maybe, but I'm willing to find out! :)

                                  1. re: Phurstluv

                                    You don't like raw cookie dough? I love half done cookies, too. Chewy edges, soft warm centers.

                                    1. re: chowser

                                      I do, but not a large amount of it, and not spread between two cookies! Frosting or ice cream/frozen yogurt sounds better to me than raw dough!

                            1. Dressed salad becomes hideously soggy. I agree with the poster who suggested to plan never t have any. Keep dressings on the side during your meals, and then you will only have to pick out the soggy veggies, like slice tomatoes, in order to keep your salad fresh in a zip loc bag. Leftover dressed salad gets tossed by the next morning if it is not eaten as a late night snack in my house.

                              Depending upon the fish or steak, I slice it and serve it cold over the UNDRESSED leftover salad. Sometimes the fish is just not something that does well as an encore, so my little dogs get it mixed in their food.

                              I would just bake the extra dough in any other pan, even a pie tin. Don't you have any other pans that can go in the oven?

                              Leftover frosting is the Devil's work, so I throw it out. However, if you think you will use it, it can hold for over a week, as long as there is no milk in it, in the fridge.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: RGC1982

                                Leftover frosting is the Devil's work


                                This made me giggle.

                                A while back, my aunt saw me head towards the trash can with a large amount of dressed salad. She took it home and later commented on how "we ate that all week long" When I asked how she could do this, she took me I was too picky and there is nothing wrong with wilted lettuce.

                                1. re: RGC1982

                                  I like tossed salad and don't like the ratio of salad to dressing if it's not. And, home made dressing (vinegar and oil) separate too much to make ahead and pour. I need the perfect ratio of that, too, so I'm pretty picky about my salad. Added to which I don't like wilted salad.

                                  I should just throw out the frosting. I usually refrigerate it, wait until it's no longer good and then throw it out. Psychologically, it's easier for me to throw out bad food than good food. No logic behind it.

                                  1. re: chowser

                                    So true - the throwing out bad vs good food. That said, I freeze leftover frosting. Even if only to finally move it to the fridge after a year and use on toast every morning until gone. :-)

                                    1. re: sweetTooth

                                      Use the frosting for a second dessert -- spread on fruit (strawberries are a hit!) and eat.

                                2. Chop any combination of 1-3 in a food processor and refrigerate.

                                  The next day, spread it on toast with a little mayo or tabasco or sriracha or lemon juice or fleur de sel.

                                  1. I have never tried this but I have a friend who adds leftover salad to gazpacho. I like my blender gazpacho too much to add leftover salad but she swears by it.

                                    1. I don't dress salad in advance but any left over steak or fish (depending on the fish, usually salmon for us,) goes on leftover salad greens the next day. The pita suggestion is a great one!

                                      I'm not much for cookies and I'm not a cake eater so I'll leave the suggestions to those that are.

                                      1. 1. Eat it as soon as possible so it doesn't have time to turn into mush. if worst comes to worst, toss it without repentance. It's not really salvageable the next day.
                                        2. Fishcakes, or fish with rice.
                                        3. Steak sandwich! Yum! (heating is optional)
                                        4. Eat it. Or else get another cookie sheet out and go ahead and bake up those last few cookies. When it becomes obvious you're going to have an odd amount of dough left, see if you can make the cookies on your sheet a little smaller to get a few more out of it.
                                        5. Freeze it. or you can stick it in the fridge in a bowl for weeks. Frosting isn't going to go off any time soon as long as it's kept cold. It also make a delicious fudgy snack once it's been chilled off.

                                        1. 1. Mix it into borscht and hope nobody notices?

                                          2. Eat cold, happily.

                                          3. Eat cold, happily.

                                          4. Freeze, or make ice cream with it.

                                          5. Never use or make frosting.

                                          1. 1. don't dress your salad in advance ;)
                                            2 & 3. create a makeshift sous vide in your sink or a large bowl and bring the meat or fish back up to temp *without* cooking it any further.
                                            4. freeze the dough for future use.
                                            5. freeze it, or...

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                              I've tried the pseudo-sous vide and it's never worked for me. What temperature water do you use to heat up meats/fish?

                                              1. re: chowser

                                                it works perfectly for me if i keep the water at 140-150. i prefer my steak rare with a nice sear, and this does the trick on the meat temp all the way through without cooking it any further...if i want to "refresh" the sear on the exterior i just stick it under the broiler or drop it in a hot pan for a minute after the water bath.

                                                works beautifully for fish too. i got my mother into doing it this way and she's thrilled - no more over-cooked leftovers that Dad won't eat, and best of all for her, she can give him leftover fish without triggering her seafood allergy from the fumes of subjecting it to direct high heat.

                                            2. 3) Steak omelets are yummy
                                              4) Portion into individual cookie sized balls, freeze, and then bake in toaster oven when I feel like a cookie

                                              I either don't have leftovers of the others or have been unsuccessful at re-purposing them, so...only responded to the 2 I know.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: Jen76

                                                Thanks for the idea on freezing the dough, everyone. I freeze whole batches but never thought to do a few cookies. I don't have a toaster oven but will cook it on a panini press. It's awesome.

                                                1. re: chowser

                                                  it's always handy to have enough dough for a few cookies stashed in the freezer - you just never know when you might need an "emergency" dessert or snack! ;)

                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                    Plus frozen cookie dough is pretty good, too.

                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                      particularly if you fold it into some ice cream that you also happen to have stashed in the freezer!

                                                      ETA: ha! i just read the rest of the replies and saw that Marci beat me to it on this one :)

                                              2. Thanks everyone--great ideas! I knew you'd all have run into the problem before.

                                                1. I use leftover salad as a gazpacho base. It all goes in the processor and I add what it needs from there.

                                                  1. 2) fish - kedgaree for dinner the next day

                                                    4) cookie dough - many types (toll house, sugar) freeze well

                                                    I eat leftover salad for breakfast.

                                                    1. 1) dressed salad
                                                      I eat it at midnight (sometimes my partner does), otherwise, depending on the dressing, it goes in the compost so that at least I can feel good about not sending it to landfill.

                                                      2) fish
                                                      The animals get it, or I eat it the next day for breakfast

                                                      3) steak
                                                      Sometimes I chop it up into little pieces and put it in the freezer, and at some point in the future...
                                                      Use it in a soup
                                                      Use it on a pizza
                                                      Mix it with chopped sun dried tomato, sliced olives, grated zucchini and cheese (maybe a little egg... it depends on what I have hanging around) and bake it in tiny tartlet cases for an appetizer.

                                                      4) if you have enough cookie dough to make 3-4 cookies but the tray is full and you can't make the cookies any larger, what do you do w/ the remainder?
                                                      3-4 cookies? I have never made 3-4 cookies at a time... perhaps that is my downfall. I just keep cranking them out until the cookie dough is all gone (but saving a bit for my sweetie and the offspring). I must investigate this freezing of cookie dough notion. Who'da thunk it?!

                                                      5) leftover frosting when you don't plan on baking any time soon
                                                      I'm with you, I put it in the fridge until it's bad, and then I throw it away.
                                                      I try to get the family to eat it so that it's not wasted, but this meets with mixed results.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. 1. dressed salad - I haven't figured what to do with it other than trying to get my hubby to eat it. But most of the time I don't dress salads, i keep it separate. I imagine you could make it into a quick sort of kim chee and eat it with rice. I am one of those people that loves lettuce on my enchiladas and will mix it into the hot enchilada sauce. If it wilts I still like it.
                                                        2. Fish I reheat it in a day or two. I'm sure it would freeze ok for a very short time. But there's always curry.
                                                        3. Steak makes the best quesadillas - or put it on rice with soy sauce, scriracha, and egg , scallions, or wrap it up and make steak and eggs burritos. I've made beef and barley soup - when I have a craving for soup.
                                                        4. Freeze the dough/ it works. Or bake them and eat them later. If that fails, make friends with your neighbors.

                                                        5. Frosting. that's a good one. Usually don't have that problem, just make a dozen cupcakes, or use it on crepes. Can't be any worse than using nutella.

                                                        1. For the first several you've got suggestions I can't improve or expound on, so I'll just say that little tiny balls of frozen leftover cookie dough of any type are great mixed into good vanilla ice cream, and graham crackers make an outstanding chassis for a body of leftover frosting. Think saltines or Ritz n butter. Omm omm omm.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: mamachef

                                                            I love the idea of tiny cookie dough balls. It would make them even more pop-able in the mouth for a quick snack, too. A lot of good possibilities with them...maybe even enough to whip up a batch just to have mini frozen dough balls.

                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                              You have busted me clean out on this one, chowser. :) I stand in front of all and admit that I have done this, for the two above purposes: to make mini doughballs for mini-cookies, and to mix into the ice cream. Two tips:1. freeze them hard so they don't screw up the ice cream's texture, which you can always re-freeze at the last, and 2. So they won't spread so fast when and if you bake them but they won't make it that far. Just sayin. But if they had, they'd have been almost unbearably cute on a little girl's dessert buffet table for her, say, 6th or so birthday. :)

                                                              1. re: mamachef

                                                                Sweet, must have been a great party! I've got all sorts of ideas now--like dipped in chocolate on toothpicks and frozen. I'm a sucker for bite sized food, maybe because I'm so short!

                                                          2. Dressed salad can be rinsed quickly, then added to veggie soups whole, or processed to puree and added to chili/curry/thick stews. (That said, we dress at the table, so don't generally have this problem.)

                                                            1. dressed salad over a few hours, I toss
                                                              steak, I repurpose it into something completely different, casserole/stew/sandwich/salad
                                                              fish, repurpose it too, fish patties, fish pie, fish tacos

                                                              1. 1. good as a midnight snack, but otherwise, toss
                                                                2. yum, breakfast with eggs
                                                                3. thin sliced over greens with a fresh vinaigrette
                                                                4. leftover cookie dough? nonsense, doesn't exist like leftover wine... pop it into your mouth!
                                                                5. leftover frosting? yuck. better tossed into the waste bin before you afflict your bake goods

                                                                1. When we have leftovers of the big bowl o' spinach salad dinner, I like to use them on sandwiches or in wraps. Granted, I don't generally dress it too heavily and use just oil, vinegar (or lemon), and herbs, so it's not demolished by next day's lunch.

                                                                  1. 1 - I usually just make enough salad for one meal or eat it later. It depends on the greens, if you don't mind eating them wilted in a cooked dish. Eg. wilted spinach salad or dandelion could be used, dressing and all in soups, casseroles, etc. My father actually made lettuce soup with it in desperate times. It was a hot meal, at least.
                                                                    2 - Eat cold, make kedgeree, fish cakes, add to a salad, mix with mayo for sandwiches, freeze it to add to chowders.
                                                                    3 - Actually really versatile - eat cold, add to salads, shepherd's pie, pasties/steak pies, fried rice, soups, stews, casseroles, sandwiches, quesadillas, tons of possibilities...
                                                                    4 - freeze it
                                                                    5 - I would actually toss this one but I despise frosting

                                                                    1. All of my ideas have been covered except for what I do with leftover frosting: smear it on a graham cracker and eat it! If there's too much for me I'll take it to work (at a school) and share with the kids.

                                                                      1. 1) never had that issue... i love salads.

                                                                        2) fish cakes!

                                                                        3) STEAK salad. COLD steak please.

                                                                        4-5)i dont bake :/

                                                                        1. I've sauteed or stir-fried leftover salad.