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Ideas for creative use of pre-planned leftovers

Hi everyone,

Do you deliberately cook extra to in order to re-purpose it for subsequent meals ?

I've started doing this to save time but I am running out of inspiration, so I would love to know what others do.

I sometimes make a double batch of spag bol, put the extra in a baking dish, next night I make bechamel, pour half over the spag and top with cheese (sometimes I'll tuck in ricotta &/or a little frozen spinach first), the remaining bechamel with cheese melted in goes over that night's veggies. The third night the spag goes into the oven, and that's dinner done!

Roast lamb leg - leftovers used in a wrap with salad, tomatoes, hummus etc. Or made into a curry, often in the slowcooker and with chick-peas.

I make a double batch of stewed beef and onions in the pressure cooker, take out half when the meat's tender, and chuck potatoes and veggies into the pot for beef stew the first night. The stewed beef gets repurposed by adding
- chilli, canned beans, tomato paste = chilli
- fried onions, mushrooms &/or roasted capsicum, sour-cream = pasta sauce
- tomato paste, garlic, canned tomatoes = pasta sauce
- pastry = pies
- cooked carrots, peas (sometimes celery, turnip), covered with mashed potato, baked in oven = shepperds pie

I know it's not gourmet stuff, but in the mid-week rush all you want to do is get dinner on the table that everyone will enjoy! I would love other ideas - and thanks to The Dairy Queen for the inspiration to start this thread.

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  1. Great thread idea. I sometimes make a double batch of something, but not often. If I do, it has to immediately go into the downstairs freezer ... leftovers around here tend to go to my daughter and husband's lunches. But one idea is putting them into a frittata. I look forward to hearing of ways to use them that mean I don't have to hide things!

    1 Reply
    1. re: LulusMom

      Thanks LulusMom! I'm not good at the freezer thing, my freezer's a bit like a black hole in space - things often get sucked in and only come out when they look tired and taste funny so it goes in the compost. And when I'm tired and rushing, defrosting something big is all too hard.

      That's why I'm hoping for more ideas where, at the end of a long day, half the work is done, and the meal is fresh and easy, and if it's quick that's an added bonus.

    2. "Pre-Planned Left Overs"?

      OMG! Here I was thinking all these years that my wife bought leftovers.

      1 Reply
      1. re: G8trDoc

        LOL G8trDoc, it's the left-over leftovers that you really have to worry about!

      2. Another devotee of leg of lamb the first night and lamb curry the second.
        I often do a larger pork loin than we need so there will be old pork sandwiches. On day three the last bit is minced along with a litte leftover flank or round steak for a Bolognese like sauce I love to make. We always make extra steamed broccoli or asparagus to snack on. Extra potatoes often end up in a torta, often enough I now plan on it.

        4 Replies
        1. re: tim irvine

          I think one of the major problems I have is that I pretty much don't eat red meat, so there are never any roasts (aside from roast chicken). I imagine they give great amounts of leftovers. Seafood just doesn't have the same ... appeal a day or two later.

          1. re: LulusMom

            There are certain things I prefer not to eat leftover, seafood is one of them.

            1. re: rasputina

              Seafood is kind of ick reheated but if you can use it cold, it's not so bad. Poached salmon is good cold, leftover tuna and shrimp can be made into tuna/shrimp salad or just eaten over a bed of greens, etc.

              1. re: biondanonima

                The only way I use up leftover seafood is to make a fish/shrimp cake in the same way you'd make a crab cake.

        2. I love this idea for a thread! I like to roast 2 chickens on weekends and then use the leftovers in pasta, enchiladas, quesadillas, quinoa hotdish (http://www.twincities.com/ci_11528141 ), chicken salad. But, I'd really love to be more creative with my chicken leftovers.

          ~TDQ

          3 Replies
          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            We do this too, we always cook two chickens when we are making whole ones. So many wonderful things to make with them and the carcasses go immediately into the stock pot and the stock is canned the next day.

            1. re: rasputina

              You can the stock? As in waterbath or pressure can it? Very ambitious!

              ~TDQ

              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                Pressure can, it can't be safely water bath canned. It's actually easy to do.

          2. I always cook twice as much rice as I need for dinner one night. In the next few days I use it to make fried rice (along with any leftover meat or fish). Or I just reheat it in the microwave to serve with stir fry or pulao or beans or whatever saucy thing I am in the mood for. Although it doesn't take that long to make rice, it certainly takes no longer to make 2 cups rather than 1 cup.

            My husband adores hash, so if we have baked potatoes I always cook a few extra, then I can cut them up in a dice, fry them up in a skillet, and add whatever leftover protein I have like corned beef or roast beef or grilled salmon or chicken and make a meal. A few eggs if we are shy on leftover protein. I usually also bury whatever we have leftover in the way of vegies as well.

            Can't have too much roast chicken. It can go in salad or hash or noodle casserole or rice casserole or tortilla casserole or a million other choices.

            I also try to double any vegetable (which I tend to serve plain) to use in fritatta or casseroles.

            The danger with cooking "extra" is to make sure it doesn't get eaten up by my husband the first night. He has a big appetite, especially for steamed vegetables, so I try to leave the planned leftovers in the kitchen so I really have them left!