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The Leftovers That Didn't Make It

Firsthand, I shouldn't have left a fork in it. I was cooling the best 1/2 wokful of leftover red pork/chicken/bacon/egg/veggie/peanut & green onion-garnished fried rice that I've EVER made. I mean, this rice was GOOD. Outstanding, even. A little bit gingery, a little bit garlicky, a nice whisper of soy and fish sauce, and all those wonderful veg. were cooked just right. Yay me!!
So. Lottalotta leftovers. I'm not a huge fan of leftovers, but fried rice doesn't even count. I love the stuff. Breakfast, with a fried egg on top. Lunch, as-is. Dinner, with a vat of wonton soup. Yeah, baby. But I digress. I used a fork to transfer it to another container to cool, and did a really, really stupid thing, like I said. I Left The Fork In It. I shoulda known better.
So anyways, I'm drinking soda this afternoon, and I needed a refill. Into the kitchen go I, with intentions pure. And there it was. I swear it was goading me on, "eat me, Marci! I am delicious and nutritious and you won't regret it! I am suffering here on the counter and feeling unloved because nobody wants me!" What do you do? I'm not going to leave a container of fried rice feeling inadequate.
By the time I was done thinking that rationale, it was half gone. And when I looked up again?
I should have NEVER left a fork in it.
Folks? Are there leftovers that you'll snarf up in a heartbeat?

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  1. Pasta, baby. A nice meat sauce with a couple of pieces of broken meatballs. Bye, bye baby!

    3 Replies
    1. re: roxlet

      I seriously just laughed out loud. You Italian thing, you. (?)

      1. re: roxlet

        I have the munchies, so this is the worst torture in the world to be re-reading. What got me on this second (okaaaaaaaaaaaaay third) pass was your choice of "broken" for rhose meatballs. Much tastier than a sterile sliced meatball; all crunchy jaggedy edges so as to better mop up the gravy . Yeah, baby. They say god's in the details. I'm down for that!!

        1. re: roxlet

          I have eaten cold spaghetti and meatballs out of the fridge with my fIngers.

          I'm only slightly ashamed to admit it.

        2. Cold carnitas, preferably with cold refried beans. And lots of s-a-l-t.

          1 Reply
          1. re: buttertart

            I'd snarf that too. In a NY minute. :) Oooooh. That's worth going to taco truck and just buying carnitas to have cold, not even as a leftover.

          2. How long do you think chocolate cake gets to live in my kitchen? In addition to dumplings, meat loaf, corn on the cob, potato salad, any vegetable, cookies, chicken wings, pudding? Olives, cheese, cinnamon buns, meatballs, peanut brittle, popcorn, pork chops?

            Hehe, ah, gone.

            9 Replies
            1. re: bushwickgirl

              Oh, yeah. I'd love me a cinnamon bun right now!

              1. re: roxlet

                Sorry, love to share but all gone.

                1. re: roxlet

                  Yeah, that wouldn't last long in my house either!!

                2. re: bushwickgirl

                  Only that? Actually pork chops reminded me of steak, which rarely makes it thru the night if it's what was for dinner. Even if it was supposed to be part of breakfast. Shoot, there's always bacon!!

                  1. re: mamachef

                    Speaking of bacon, I have to hide it in the freezer. An open package is a et up package.

                    1. re: bushwickgirl

                      Oh, that's how it is here. no such thing as a bacon leftover.

                    2. re: mamachef

                      This is why, when cooking for myself, I will only make enough for one meal. The exceptions are pork chops and steak. I like bone-in cuts that are at least 1 1/2 inches thick, and that always means leftovers. Oh wait, no it doesn't!

                    3. re: bushwickgirl

                      Did you have to say corn on the cob? It's March for Pete's sake. (I'm having food spring fever now, thank you very much).

                    4. This thread reminds me of my grandmother's frequent excuse for snarfing - "Oh, I might as well - there's too much to throw away and there's not enough for tomorrow."
                      I just snarfed the remainder of a double batch of duck fat roasted brussels sprouts. I couldn't help myself.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Veggo

                        Hee hee. I'm liking your grandmother a whole lot, Veggo. But whatever do you mean? You put something like that in your fridge, thinking it would last? Silly man. :)
                        I'm suprised they made it to the fridge.

                        1. re: Veggo

                          I am over the moon with your grandmother's attitude!

                        2. Macaroni and cheese, cold, 1 am, in front of the fridge, a fork and me, leaving none for the a.m. or anyone else, sound familiar?

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: bushwickgirl

                            Oh the guilt!
                            Went camping and they made kraft dinner an were goin to pitch the leftovers. I put it all in a ziploc and ate it cOld with a fork out of the bag the next morning.

                            They were disgusted.

                            1. re: melpy

                              I find that hysterically funny and totally understandable and relatable. Kraft Dinner is the shizz, hot or cold. And Melpy? You were CAMPING. That's hard work, and you need sustenance and calories, sweetie.
                              At least that's what I would have told myself as I crouched behind a tree and gobbled it with my fingers, because I wouldn't have had the foresight you did to bring a fork. :)

                          2. the carrots & onions from my [grandmother's] brisket. after they've been stewing in all that luscious gravy i'm just powerless to resist. it's a messy affair and half the time i don't even bother with a fork, so if you like the clothes you're wearing, you might want to stand the hell back ;)

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              AAAAAhahahahaha! I used to sneak into gramma Mimi's kitchen at night where she was still cooling the leftovers, and I'd literally pick pieces out with my fingers. In the morning, big suprise for Grandma, 'cause I'm sure I wasn't the only one doing it. I couldn't possibly have eaten that much!! :)

                              1. re: mamachef

                                well, i never got to taste the brisket when my grandmother made it because she died before i was born. but Mom always made it for holidays, and she learned very early on to double or triple the carrots & onions ;) of course now that i make it myself i do the same thing...and i still manage to eventually wind up with veggie-less leftover brisket!

                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                  Snortlaugh. Do you use pearl onions or regular?

                                  1. re: mamachef

                                    large yellows. and i slice them by hand because they need to be thin & uniform, and i don't like what the FP does to them - all those mushed & irregular pieces set off my OCD ;)

                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      Hmmmm.....you sound like someone I know........thinkin' hard........who could it be?
                                      Uh-oh. It's me.

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                Oh, fuggedaboutit. I'd have a bitch of a time saving those for later. They are SO good, especially cold.

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  Oooh, yum. I can't find a recipe I like for them. Ipse, could you share yours?

                                  1. re: laskiblue

                                    Sure, here you go:


                                    Combine sesame paste and peanut butter (2:1 ratio of sesame paste to peanut butter) with soy sauce, sesame oil, chili paste, rice wine vinegar and sugar to taste. Mince some garlic and ginger and add to sauce.

                                    Let the sauce rest for 1/2 hour in the fridge Then add to noodles that have been chilled, along with julienned cucumbers, carrots and shredded chicken (optional). Toss, and garnish with sesame seeds, scallions and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil (optional).

                                      1. re: mamachef

                                        Forgive me, mama, for I have sinned.

                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                          Since you kicked down a wicked-good recipe, we're straight, buddy. :)

                                      2. re: ipsedixit

                                        Thank you! I can't wait to try it.

                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      Oh yeah. Cold noodles save you that pesky step of considering heating them up... I've been known to just reach in and snag a few strands at a time with my fingers.... It doesn't count if no utensils are used, right?? I've NEVER been able to save sesame noodles for later, as much as I'd like to have them for breakfast/lunch/dinner the next day...

                                      1. re: kubasd

                                        I've NEVER been able to save sesame noodles for later, as much as I'd like to have them for breakfast/lunch/dinner the next day...

                                        Just make more.

                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                          I'd have to make them the next day, otherwise it would just lead to eating more that night :)

                                    2. Well, I guess, at what point do they stop becoming a second (or third) helping and start becoming leftovers? Two hours after they're first served? Three? The next day?

                                      Deep philosophical question!

                                      Personally, I've said this before, but there are very few dishes in the whole world I don't *prefer* as leftovers. As far as I'm concerned Thanksgiving dinner (which we usually serve around 2) might as well be set on the table for appearances' sake, then dismantled, packed up, chilled, and finally eaten around 8 or 9 pm.

                                      11 Replies
                                      1. re: tatamagouche

                                        One of my favorite CH lines, from Will Owen:
                                        "I thought everyone knew that fresh meatloaf is merely the larval stage of the meatloaf sandwich."

                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            Right? Another brilliant "Owenism." We're lucky to have him here.

                                          2. re: Steve Green

                                            LOVE it!! My friends look at me oddly when I use quotes like this from CH in real life. Well, they laugh at the witticisms, and the odd looks come after, when they ask who said that, and I mention screen names like we all pal around :P

                                          3. re: tatamagouche

                                            Well, I guess, at what point do they stop becoming a second (or third) helping and start becoming leftovers?
                                            as soon as they've been transferred to a container and shoved into the fridge...even if you immediately yank said container back out and dive in ;)

                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                              That's about right. Otherwise it is just a second or third helping. The qualifier is the removal to another form of packaging.

                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                Agreed. I know if I want leftovers of something good, I must wrap before we eat and then hide. If it's on the stove seconds are fair game.

                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                  Ha! A friend and I used to go out to dinner and dutifully pack up our leftovers, part company, go home, and eat the rest.

                                                  1. re: EWSflash

                                                    My BFF and I were going through separations/divorces at the same time, and as single moms of course money was tight. Our monthly treat, when the kids were with their daddies, was to go out to a local steakhouse and have a cocktail or two and then order their filet mignon, which was always just somehow better than most places. We'd eat our wedge salads with the blue cheese vinaigrette, and try not to eat too much warm French bread with melty butter. Our filets would arrive, and we'd look at each other and sigh, and look at the plates, the beautiful steak and huge baked potato and sauteed fresh vegetables. Since we've always been able to read each others' minds, one of us would flag down the waiter and ask for entrees to be wrapped. Whose house we were going to depended on who drove, but it didn't matter - they were clean and quiet, and there was tv and comfy sofas and videos. Off we'd go and when we got there, we'd cut up our entrees into bite-sized pieces, load them onto plates, and figure out a stack of videos, put on sweats, and settle down to eat our noveaux leftovers in peace and tranquility that was few and far-between in those days. Sweet memory.

                                                2. re: tatamagouche

                                                  Aaaaaaaaaahahahaha! I'd be a GREAT guest at your Thanksgiving celebration, tatamagouche!!

                                                3. I was thinking L/O pasta as well. That and, as Tatamagouche mentions, Thanksgiving dinner. But for me it would just be the roast turkey skin and The Stuffing...

                                                  2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                      This is also the reason that we save mashed potatoes.
                                                      I'm real bad about freezing the Thanksgiving leftovers,
                                                      then bringing them back in the microwave
                                                      with all of that good leftover gravy..

                                                    2. I make once in a while a (whole) pea soup with Kassler ( smoked pork ribs from my German butcher and I absolutely do not use split peas!!) I add chunks of potatoes, carrots and then chopped Parsley at the end. You get the idea.
                                                      Now the peas are only cooked to the point that they are just about getting soft and begin to come out of their shells and the broth is still quite clear.
                                                      In our early years of marriage my husband would absolutely eat this soup until they was nothing left, and we are talking about a big soup pot here - and I could have sworn his eyes looked like little rolling peas as the evening progressed. We ate it for Dinner and he would get into the left over soup until it was time to go to bed. Nowadays we have learned a bit portion control here....:-)

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: RUK

                                                        Sounds so delicious. Wherever does one find whole dried peas like that?

                                                        1. re: mamachef

                                                          Mamachef, around here in NJ many Supermarkets carry whole dried peas. I usually find them in the isle along with dried lentils, beans/dried legumes. Latino sections have them many times on their shelves too.

                                                          1. re: RUK

                                                            I best get crackin' then. We have great Latino markets around here. Thanks!

                                                            1. re: mamachef

                                                              Get crackin', as long as you're not splittin' :)

                                                            2. re: RUK

                                                              I saw them yesterday in the UK food aisle. Bag of whole yellow peas. Yummmmm....

                                                        2. Chinese BBQ pork. I can stand there whacking off piece after piece. If there's a bit of fat on the cut, all the better, it'll be worth it to nuke it for a couple of moments that way. Homemade soups are another. I seem to have a knack for making really good soup. I'll even heat it up for breakfast.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: RelishPDX

                                                            I just did that!! It was why my fried rice only had a small amount in it.... :)

                                                          2. My favorite Sunday breakfast is cold pizza and hot coffee. The pizza always has one item from the sea. In descending order of preference, anchovies, clams, whelks, sardines, and oysters. Red sauce, fennel, Italian sausage, hot peppers. Sometimes I'll add some cheese, but lightly.

                                                            Since I no longer have a fridge, there is the constant snacking through the night and I rarely have any when the sun comes up. And the coffe is Jakobs from Germany.

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                              Pizza with whelks, sardines, and oysters? I've heard of lobster, smoked salmon, and mussels on pies, but never those. Is this homemade pizza or a Floridian specialty?

                                                              1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                Actually, Bari, Italy. And usually only one at a time. The Indian River here is loaded with crown whelks, so they are a ten minute investment to cover a pizza.

                                                                1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                  Fascinating. I've been to Puglia but never Bari per se.

                                                                  1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                    I hate toppings on my pie here, but they know how to do it in Italy. Sorrento is where I realized this. Tiny clams in the shell, just for a start. A mountain of them, so good.

                                                            2. I know this wasn't your intention with this post, but I'm a fried rice fan as well. I do a pretty good dish with chicken, soy and mushrooms.....but please illunimate me. I know you can riff all day with fried rice, but could you share your basic with me as well? You mentioned fish sauce, which made me say....hold on, what am I missing? You've share so much with me on other posts.....so what am I missing with my fried rice? Basics only please! Thanks so much!

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: egbluesuede

                                                                I cannot leave macaroni and cheese. It simply can't be done. Wild horses couldn't keep mr away...

                                                                And last night, for my friend's daughter's 15th birthday, I threw together avseriously impromptu dinner, Complete with black bean soup. I never should have let my guests serve themselves. I should never have left the ladle in the pot. I should have put the leftovers in the fridge as soon as everyone had a bowl of it. But me, Ms. Lazy had to leave it on the stove. And never paid attention as the 16 year old brother went back, and back again. And still back again. And his mom too, at least 3 times. Finally i went to investigate when I heard an odd scraping sound. I found the boy carefully scraping the last of the soup (I barely had to wash it) from the pot. There went my plan for leftovers for today! They never even made it to the fridge!

                                                                1. re: Miri1

                                                                  Sounds like when I made 12 portions of chili for 8 because I was saving it for people who had to work late and two of the boyfriend ate three portions each. Now when I count for them I consider them 2-3 people for portioning.

                                                                2. re: egbluesuede

                                                                  Aromatics in the cooking oil are number one, IMO: plenty ginger and garlic and some onion. Setting the indiv. worked ingredients aside but saving that cooking oil for the rice is key for me too....
                                                                  You tell ME what's missing from yours...flavor? Depth? Is it the rice itself? The veg.? And I can troubleshoot better.
                                                                  I believe in the power of MSG, myself....just a sprinkle..

                                                                3. Mashed potatoes. Those that aren't eaten straight from the container get fried into patties or warmed in the microwave with a bit of crema to top.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: tcamp

                                                                      I love leftover mashed potatoes and always make extra. I fry up some bacon then saute some shredded cabbage & onion in the fat. Then I add it to the potatoes along with several pats of butter & s&p. It's good hot or cold. What you have is easy, peasy Colcannon.

                                                                    2. Such pleasure, those freezer containers,
                                                                      that were purchased way back in late 80's.

                                                                      They are square, they are stout,
                                                                      walls really thick, and lids that still snap.

                                                                      We have a relationship, me and those containers.
                                                                      I've washed them and sorted them
                                                                      And filled them with love
                                                                      With numerous leftovers, sent as stacks to the freezer.

                                                                      I've watched them come back in the microwave,
                                                                      Have coddled them with dance to the MW buttons.

                                                                      As give they slow twirl on the MW turntable,
                                                                      so trigger memories of the meals now leftovers.

                                                                      Are there others among us
                                                                      who love their containers?

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. My mom's recipe sloppy joes. I usually only make them for myself, or if my old college roommate is spending the weekend as they are a guilty pleasure for her as well. They are not gourmet. Have way too much brown sugar in them. .... and nothing is better scooped up cold especially if you have some big fritos chips.

                                                                        1. Do I really need to say it?....pizza. Never makes it to morning light.
                                                                          I get up in the middle of the night, sill smell it in the air, and think, "Hmmm, there's pizza in that thar fridge".

                                                                          And don't get me started on trying to eat less than a pint of ice cream. I swear I must make 3 or 4 trips to the freezer throughout the evening!

                                                                          1. Artichoke, jalepeno, cheese dip...I can't leave it be.

                                                                            Another is greeked-up farro salad, with feta, kalamata, diced cukes, tomato or roasted red peppers, minced pickled banana peppers, oregano and lemony vinaigrette. Tangy and salty are my weakness.

                                                                            1. Pie, MC. I always go into it thinking that I just want a bite, and then I have another, and then I realize that I have eaten half a piece of pie, and think might as well just have another half piece so that the pie shape maintains its integrity. So I do. And then I just want one more bite. And then I think life is too short, and has enough challenges without denying yourself 'just one bite' of anything, and how most of my life demands I live with my eyes on the future, and I just really want to live in the moment, and it's just one more damn bite. And I eat it. I can easily eat two pieces of pie this way, right out of the tin, standing at the counter.

                                                                              Roasted vegetables are another one. I always make a double batch so that I have some for the next day, but whenever I go into the kitchen to put the leftovers away, I always see that one small piece that has the perfect amount of char on it, and I eat it And then I see another very perfect-looking piece, and I eat it. At this moment, there is supposed to be a container of roasted broccoli, left over from last night, in the fridge to go with tonight's dinner. But there isn't. Because I ate it.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: onceadaylily

                                                                                ditto on the roast vegetables. and for that matter, grilled vegetables and chopped salad as well...always eaten directly from the containers with my fingers.

                                                                              2. Leftover spaghetti with sauce...if there is any. When my kids were young, I'd eat it secretly in the closet so I wouldn't have to share. There...it's out. Take anything I have, but don't get between me and that leftover stringy stuff.

                                                                                1. Chinese food. More specifically, good ol' Americanized Chinese food. Give me a giant forkful of cold General Tso's chicken and pork fried rice any day, any time.

                                                                                  Meatloaf is also a dish best served cold.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: mels

                                                                                    I'm so with you on this. I go in thinking "Oh, I'll just have one wing" or "I'll just eat a couple of peanuts from the kung pao."

                                                                                    yeah, right.

                                                                                  2. Cold fried chicken never lasts in my fridge...it's a different experience when has been chilled. Also, chocolate or strawberry cake...if it's staring me in the face, I can't help but grab a fork and take a big bite! Like many others, my husband will always polish off any leftover pizza...loves it for breakfast.

                                                                                    1. As an aside, I love the end of Nigella Lawson's cooking show when she goes in the frige after dark for cold leftovers. Now there's a lady who loves leftovers.