HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
What have you made lately?
TELL US

Leftovers better than the original?

i
imachimper Sep 16, 2011 02:12 PM

Grilled some NY strips last night with baked potatoes and it was quite good, but trying to figure out what do do with one leftover steak I had a great idea. Why not toss some red peppers, onions and a little seasoning (salt, pepper, crushed pepper flakes and celery salt) with the thinly sliced steak, a slice of Havarti and throw the whole works onto a soft toasted Ciabatta? So that's what I did. Along with fried baked potato it was surprisingly better than the original dinner last night.

My question is: have you ever fixed leftovers that were better than the original dish? And what was it?

 
  1. thymetobake Oct 20, 2011 09:18 AM

    For us the most often and favorite reuse of leftovers is mashed potatoes. Either turned into potato pancakes (not like latkes) or mixed with hot peppers, reheated, and topped with lots of cheddar. I always make extra so we can have one of these.

    1. porker Oct 20, 2011 03:18 AM

      Pasta was previously mentioned, but a touch more involved is *fried* leftover pasta. If the noodles are sauced a bit the day before and fridged overnight, it becomes a prime candidate for the teflon pan and a bit of crisping up. Too dry? add a touch more sauce. Not dry enough, keep on frying.
      Burnt edges heaven.
      Having sliced meatballs or italian sausage in the mix: priceless.

      Depending on the type, sometimes pizza does better cardboard-aged in the fridge.

      1. r
        RobertLaughlin Oct 20, 2011 02:15 AM

        What I like best about making a beef roast is making miroton with the leftovers next day.

        1. n
          nattythecook Sep 23, 2011 12:25 PM

          Yes, with Thai curries, the second day is always better. The spices get into the meat and vegetables. The best is you don't have to cook, just heating up.

          1. Casalbordino Sep 23, 2011 09:27 AM

            A dish I make with zucchini, potatoes and eggplant tastes much better the next day. (my version of ratatouille.

             
            1. Berheenia Sep 21, 2011 04:12 AM

              I often use your same technique with the peppers and onions for leftover green beans.

              1. o
                oldunc Sep 18, 2011 10:31 AM

                I've been known to make a roast solely as an excuse to make hash. Leftovers rock.

                1 Reply
                1. re: oldunc
                  Will Owen Sep 20, 2011 02:16 PM

                  This last Sunday morning I had a baggie of leftover grill-roasted baby potatoes, about two cups of pulled pork from a shoulder I'd fake-barbecued a week before, and half a red onion. This was obviously a Message from On High that I needed to make hash to go with the eggs, and I dutifully obeyed. I also heard a still, small voice telling me to save about a cup of this for a midweek-lunch egg mess … that'll be tomorrow.

                2. chicgail Sep 17, 2011 04:28 PM

                  The only reason to do Thanksgiving dinner is to be able to make chicken tetrazzini (the little thin egg noodles, mushrooms, sherry, sauteed artichoke hearts) the next day.

                  1. Emme Sep 17, 2011 12:42 PM

                    not sure if they're all better, but certainly look forward to having the leftovers to make other things to give the original a run for its money...

                    roasted chicken --> enchiladas, salads, etc.

                    roasted veggies (if not just cold out of the fridge...)
                    cauliflower --> soup!
                    corn --> chipotle creamy corn soup
                    eggplant --> dips, omelettes
                    and so on...

                    polenta --> polenta squares with any number of sauces

                    baby salmon croquettes --> soup croutons

                    chicken lo mein --> cold chicken lo mein the next morning... or later that night... chinese food in general :)

                    1. rayrayray Sep 17, 2011 07:12 AM

                      I can't even eat chili the day I made it. It needs to sit at least a day for me to enjoy it. Same goes for bolognese sauce.

                      1. PotatoHouse Sep 17, 2011 03:49 AM

                        Soups and sauces often taste better after their flavors have a chance to meld.

                        1. ipsedixit Sep 16, 2011 09:47 PM

                          I like day-old, cold apple pie straight from the fridge

                          Same with cheesecake

                          Oxtail soup

                          Coleslaw, or just about any marinated or pickled vegetable dish

                          1. m
                            Mayor of Melonville Sep 16, 2011 05:26 PM

                            My mother used to make vegetable soup with leftovers accumulated during the week and a beef knuckle. Typical ingredients were corn, cabbage, tomatoes, green beans, celery. etc. She made a huge pot, then set it out on the unheated back porch for a few days. I can still conjure up the taste of that soup.

                            1. s
                              sunflwrsdh Sep 16, 2011 05:06 PM

                              Thanksgiving turkey and fixings are always more enjoyable for me as leftovers.

                              1. m
                                magiesmom Sep 16, 2011 04:48 PM

                                many cakes, except the most delicate, are better the next day.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: magiesmom
                                  Will Owen Sep 20, 2011 02:09 PM

                                  My favorite cakes are not the delicate ones, but such brutes as fruitcake, gingerbread and persimmon pudding, all of which will continue improving to a great age indeed as long as they're kept tightly contained and chilled. I finished last fall's persimmon pudding around Easter, and it was amazing.

                                  Back when we were eating a lot more heartily than we do now, I would often make gumbo with pork neckbones and homemade chicken stock, and we'd eat it all week, making small additions and fresh rice every night. Shrimp would be added the third-from-last night, oysters on the final night.

                                  1. re: Will Owen
                                    c
                                    CanadaGirl Sep 21, 2011 10:13 AM

                                    I actually make a fabulous gingerbread cake that calls for letting it sit for two days before serving.

                                2. dave_c Sep 16, 2011 02:55 PM

                                  I find that steak and roasted chicken turn out better as leftovers.

                                  As you noted, a steak and baked potato is good, but when made your sandwich you added a lot of extra flavors that aren't there for a basic steak (or roasted chicken) and potato dinner.

                                  Depending upon how much we have leftover, the next meal can range anywhere from stew, soups, pot pie to fajitas.

                                  1. Will Owen Sep 16, 2011 02:34 PM

                                    Any stew or meat/vegetable soup, most bean dishes, chili, lots of casseroles. I agree with monavano about meat loaf; I love it fresh out of the oven, but my primary reason for making it is for the sandwiches. And as much as Marcella Hazan would hate me for saying this, I like just about any pasta dish better for lunch the next day; the only one I can think of at the moment that tends to get worse is mac'n'cheese.

                                    As for derivative dishes using leftovers, my mom's pot roast hash and her chicken (or turkey) hash were two things I've adored since I started eating real food. The beef hash is meat run through the grinder, the vegetables chopped and mixed in, and enough gravy to moisten; the chicken/turkey is chopped meat, stuffing and gravy. Both are baked, the beef version sometimes topped with biscuits. Alas, these are both just about the only childhood delights of mine that fail to charm Mrs. O, so I make smallish quantities to feed myself at noon.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: Will Owen
                                      huiray Sep 17, 2011 08:58 AM

                                      I certainly agree that meat/vegetable soups are better the next day, but that really refers to Western-style soups. Depending on what it is, various soups in a Chinese cuisine style are best eaten immediately, where the vegetables added are still crunchy and green, almost raw.

                                      One soup which deteriorates with age (if not being "replenished", just the same pot reheated repeatedly etc) is phở .

                                      1. re: huiray
                                        ipsedixit Sep 17, 2011 12:57 PM

                                        I disagree about Chinese style soups.

                                        Fish head soup, oxtail, pork sparerib with daikon, chicken herb, etc. are all better after a day of "rest" in the fridge.

                                        Even pho stock -- sans replenishment -- is often, if not always, better the day after it is nurtured and coaxed from the bones and aromatics.

                                        1. re: ipsedixit
                                          huiray Sep 17, 2011 03:22 PM

                                          Those Chinese-style soups you cite are indeed better the next day, although even there with long-simmered soups and braises - as well as the related "tun t'ong" kinds of soups - there are exceptions for me where I prefer the "just-finished" taste profile of some soups.

                                          You need to re-read my post. You ignored what I actually said - various soups where the vegetables are best eaten while still crunchy, almost raw (or the components just cooked). Wonton soup, for one, with just-cooked wontons and just-blanched choi sum, scattered with freshly chopped scallions and cilantro. Left-over wonton soup, reheated the next day, is a mess of soggy, mushy stuff. Various "kwun t'ong" preparations with fresh cut veggies - you want the crunchiness of the veggies. Overnight and reheated, you get another mushy mess.

                                          As for phở, well, when I make it it do tend to leave it overnight with the bones before finishing it off. Perhaps that is what you mean. After finishing it and filtering (i.e. with the fish sauce, the spices, etc etc all already added - and the spices removed) in my experience leaving it on the stove overnight (at RT) then reheating it often results in a gradual "turning" of the underlying flavor profile and a degradation/loss of the spice aromas, as well as an increasing concentration of the stock (more and more salty, ameliorated a bit by dilution - but that speeds along the decay in the spice aroma)

                                          We will have to disagree, and I will simply note that you may well like disintegrating wontons and soft mushy vegetables in all your soups.

                                          1. re: huiray
                                            ipsedixit Sep 17, 2011 09:19 PM

                                            I think we agree, except you and I really have different ideas of what constitutes "soup".

                                            I think of soup as the Pho stock, not the noodles and other fixins'.

                                            Same with wonton soup.

                                            1. re: ipsedixit
                                              huiray Sep 17, 2011 09:50 PM

                                              Wonton soup constitutes everything. Wonton soup without the wontons etc is just wonton broth.

                                              Phở stock is phở stock, without the noodles etc, and I meant what I said about the phở stock.

                                    2. twyst Sep 16, 2011 02:30 PM

                                      Pretty much everything made with the remnants of the thanksgiving turkey are better than the original roasted turkey was.

                                      Also have to agree with just about all soups and braises being better the next day.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: twyst
                                        l
                                        Lotti Sep 17, 2011 10:43 PM

                                        I agree about the turkey - after spending the day cooking I never enjoy the fresh turkey dinner as much as the left-overs the next day when I can relax and enjoy the reheated leftovers - and I generally think the best part is the carcass made into a hearty turkey soup that is enjoyed for days after that with no further effort.

                                      2. huiray Sep 16, 2011 02:21 PM

                                        Many soups, stews and braises are better the next day.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: huiray
                                          c
                                          cantkick Sep 16, 2011 02:23 PM

                                          You took the words right out of my mouth. (But now there's room there for the soup and stew.)

                                          1. re: cantkick
                                            p
                                            pj26 Sep 21, 2011 03:27 AM

                                            And curries.

                                        2. monavano Sep 16, 2011 02:17 PM

                                          Leftover meatloaf and brisket make for sandwiches that are often times more enjoyable.
                                          Braises are better the next day, served as is.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: monavano
                                            BananaBirkLarsen Sep 16, 2011 03:16 PM

                                            Absolutely! Sandwiches, in my opinion, are what meatloaf is really made for.

                                            I always like lasagna better the next day too.

                                          Show Hidden Posts