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I. Hate. Leftovers!

Nothing tastes as good reheated (except stews and braises, which should be made the day before--these are not leftovers). And I certainly understand economy, so I try to calculate portions correctly. And I have an expert garbage disposal known as 'A Dog' (who doesn't seem to mind leftovers as all). So, can any Hounds describe dishes which actually taste better made with leftovers? Also, feel free to flame me!

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  1. Well, chili, stews and the wide majority of soups are better the day after they're cooked, IMHO. I would also submit that a cold meatloaf sandwich, the day after its cooked, is far superior to the hot, fresh-made variety.

    OTOH, I am actually a fan of leftovers. I'll agree that most dishes are best when they are fresh, but I enjoy almost all leftovers, regardless of whether I warm them or not. Most cold meat leftovers I prefer to make into a sandwich - I'm thinking chicken, turkey, ham, steak and pork. Chinese-American food, especially the stir-fries and noodle dishes, don't lose a lot overnight. Fried rice can only really be made with previously cooked and chilled rice. I think things like pizza, chicken wings, garlic bread, some hoagies that were originally baked, things like stuffed peppers and virtually all soupy things are better reheated, I think.

    I do not particularly like most seafood or potato leftovers. Something just gets lost.

    7 Replies
    1. re: MonMauler

      I love leftovers! Cold fried chicken is a special treat for me. Especially with overly greasy versions. They are much improved by a day in the fridge.

      Cold pizza - awesome. Leftover lo-mein? It's like a big hug for breakfast. And my favorite is eating Thanksgiving turkey, stuffing and green bean casserole for days after the big day. This last T-day was quite sad as we went to a friend's place and while there was a small tupperware container sent home with us, I was unable to gorge myself on leftovers for a week afterwards. Just didn't feel like Thanksgiving. :o(

      1. re: soypower

        Cold, left-over fried chicken is good, ill give you that, but instill don't think it beats fresh, well-fried chicken.

        T-day style turkey you're absolutely right about, though. I think I enjoy left-over turkey sandwiches more than T-day dinner. The day after ill throw som turkey and left-over coleslaw between a couple slices of wheat bread, and it's amazing. The next day ill do an open-faced turkey sandwich smothered in gravy. After that ill eat turkey sandwiches with mayo or mustard for lunch until I either run out of turkey or the meat goes bad. Left-over T-day turkey is the best thing about T-day dinner, IMHO.

        1. re: soypower

          Glad to hear someone else out there feels the same way about Thanksgiving as I do. The operative phrase being "gorge myself on leftovers for a week afterwards". I couldn't have said it better myself.

          1. re: 1POINT21GW

            Hear, hear! In fact, I love Thanksgiving food and the leftovers so much that I go to town with full spread dinner many times throughout the year - next is in less than a week for my birthday/staycation.

          2. re: soypower

            +1 cold lo mein and Thanksgiving leftovers

          3. re: MonMauler

            In general - I am a major leftover lover - however, I also live alone and the whole "cooking for one" calculation is far more time consuming than just enjoying leftovers.

            However, I have found that Chinese-American food (both homemade and takeout), as long as it's not crispy fried, do very well next day. Something about the sauces on a stirfry sitting over night in the fridge work really well for me. I also have to admit that cold left over Indian food is my prefered version of "cold pizza".

            I also think that various sauces for pasta benefit from sitting. So what I often do is make a full batch of the sauce and then just single servings of pasta. So the sauce remains a "leftover", but then I always have freshly cooked pasta the night I want to eat the dish.

            1. re: MonMauler

              I love leftover, but I have to disagree about stir-fries. I'll eat it the next day, for sure. But they always suffer texturally (Google is telling me this isn't a word) by sitting in the fridge overnight.

              I want to be able to have stir-fry for lunch at work, but sometimes they just end up so soggy, even when I don't have liquid in with the veg.

            2. I wonder whether the term "leftover" pertains to foods which are cooked in quantity, and then portioned for future uses? For example, when I slow-roast pork shoulder, for a party, I plan to make about 10-20% extra; portion, wrap and freeze. Later on, when I want some pork for hash or a noodle soup... there it is! ready and waiting for me. Ditto on cooked chicken thighs, ready for a quick stir with greens. Or... how about extra portions of braised greens and bacon... just ready for tomorrow's poached eggs?
              Hash is definitely a dish which I make using already cooked/roasted meats, and par-boiled potatoes. I happen to like the texture.
              And pre-cooked potatoes make the crispy sort of fries that I like. But YMMV.

              1 Reply
              1. re: KarenDW

                True - there is a subtle yet important difference between leftovers and planned-overs. I have always been a big planned-over person, making huge batches of spaghetti and chicken when I was in college. Reheating in a microwave was quick, easy, cheap, and healthy compared to eating out. Now I make huge batches of lasagna, hamburger hotdishes, and other things that I plan to eat for several meals afterward.

                It's not hard to eat leftovers/planned-overs when you intended to do so in the first place!

              2. leftover roast chicken is wonderful.

                9 Replies
                1. re: magiesmom

                  Turkey too! I always buy the biggest one they have, even though it's just the two of us( well and the three cats, can't forget them) and we will have sandwiches, and hot with gravy, for days and day after.

                  1. re: magiesmom

                    The skin is not though. Eat poultry skin on the first night or not at all.

                    1. re: melpy

                      Agreed. Roast chicken skin is best crispy, not mushy. Eat right away or toss.

                      1. re: alwayshungrygal

                        I feel the same about the chicken wings.

                        1. re: alwayshungrygal

                          Never toss! I love chicken skin when it's recrisped in a frying pan - it's not quite as good as fresh, but it's better than throwing away the crispy goodness!

                          1. re: biondanonima

                            Actually my Chow friend Veggo does that with duck skin and makes hash.

                            1. re: biondanonima

                              I never thought about recrisping the skin. But I buy the roasted chicken from my local supermarket (usually a weeknight when I don't have time/feel like cooking) and the bottom sits in the juices that drip from the bird. That skin is usually a bit wet, so I'm not sure if recrisping would work. I would have to pull the skin off and try to dry it out. It's worth a try. Thanks for the good idea!

                            2. re: alwayshungrygal

                              There is no such thing as leftover chicken skin! At least, not at my house.

                        2. Hash: I had leftover roast beef with carrots and potatoes. I chop them up, add onion, lots of pepper, fry it with a bit of the gravy (but let the moisture evaporate), until it has a crust.
                          Yes, I love it with catsup.

                          1. If you mean just re-heating the same meal or component of a meal then yes, that can be pretty dismal. The trick is to re-purpose the food. For example last night's dinner for us was half a stuffed/rolled/roasted pork loin that I cut into bite sized pieces. After sweating a soffritto I added leftover tomato sauce, a cup of wine, basil, S & P and the meat. This simmered for about 20 minutes and was delicious with a slice of crusty bread and a green salad. Leftover Chinese takeout? Perfect for fried rice made with leftover steamed rice. Re-purposing is the way to go... IMO. Of course the meatloaf sandwich and other roasted meat sandwiches and salads are terrific in their own right.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Gio

                              Don't forget repurposing left overs with various egg preparations to make for frittatas, omelette, scrambles, etc.

                              1. re: cresyd

                                Oh yes, I agree with all those. I even use leftover macaroni, in any shape and with any sauce, to create a baked pasta dish that uses beaten and seasoned eggs and a topping of grated cheese that will melt.

                            2. I like leftovers because it means I don't have to cook. Having said that I'm pretty adept at meal portions and with four in the house it's not common to have much in the way of leftovers. What does turn into leftover are the surplus roast meats, which is easily transformed into sandwiches the next day for lunch. Leftover vegetables can turn soggy but just fold them into a egg batter and make frittata.

                              Things that do age well: sauerkraut and red cabbage. Pound cakes can develop flavor over a day or two but not for too long as they'll dry out. Salads made with grains and pasta are perfectly fine and fresh tasting for a few days.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: Roland Parker

                                "I like leftovers because it means I don't have to cook." Exactly what I was going to say. With just the two of us, we don't usually finish what I make, so if we don't get to something in the next few days, putting the leftover bits into a frittata or stir fry, it goes into the freezer to be served as a homemade TV dinner, or to be repurposed into a different meal. A few weeks later it's been out of sight, out of mind and is like a whole new meal then. With money as tight as it is, and food as expensive as it's becoming, I can't imagine throwing away food unless it had actually gone bad. If I have something odd, it goes into my "chili bag" or gets thrown into the next batch of soup. Oh well, to each his own: we had a friend who not only didn't eat leftovers, but got skeeved if we offered him any when he ate over. So I know my way is not the only way by any means.

                                OK that was my "flame". As far as what tastes good leftover, pretty much everything to me, and cold from the fridge the next morning for breakfast is not unheard of.

                                Just the other day, I had leftover Cajun mustard shrimp first thing in the morning with my coffee, uuum uum good!

                                1. re: coll

                                  "I like leftovers because it means I don't have to cook." Exactly my rationale, altho' I was going to write "...because I'm lazy," but you said it better.

                                  I use leftovers the same as many of these replies note, but there's one weird thing I prefer leftover: cooked oatmeal. Call me crazy, but I like it even cold from the fridge--slightly tacky in texture. Probably tacky to eat, too!

                                  1. re: pine time

                                    You're not alone in the oatmeal cooking. I usually make the five minute type oatmeal, I do the full cup they put on the side of the box, then divide it in three bowls when done for the next couple of days. If I had to cook it fresh every day, I wouldn't eat it quite as often. A quick microwave shot usually, although cold would be fine if I was really hungry.

                                2. re: Roland Parker

                                  I feel kind of the opposite: I don't like having leftovers around because then I don't get to cook! Most of the time, cooking is therapeutic and cathartic for me...I can focus on just one thing (getting the meal on the table) and then see the results of that focused effort almost immediately.

                                3. Cold meatloaf sandwiches. Roast turkey sandwiches hot or cold. I'm not a fan of hot meatloaf, but love meatloaf sandwiches enough that I'm willing to make it for family dinner (hot) just so I can have the cold sandwich the next day. And roasting a turkey is no small task, but the payoff is those lovely leftovers that can be sandwiches the next day or re-heated meals (from frozen) a month later.

                                  I think that lasagna probably falls within the same category as stews - make the day before and even better reheated.

                                  1. Just change your thought process. Stop thinking of them as leftovers. Think 'pre-prepared'.

                                    1. i love leftover pasta, reheated (in the microwave or the oven) and the edges slightly burn is the best thing ever to me!
                                      i also used to hate leftovers but they are growing on me. in general, i won't ever do leftover fish and i find chicken (i don't eat red meat) tastes different the next day and i don't like that.

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: pie22

                                        I love cold leftover pasta, even if with clam sauce. Just had that the other day, too lazy to heat up.

                                        1. re: coll

                                          you know what's funny - i will do leftover shellfish in pasta with no issue!
                                          i meant like a leftover piece of salmon or flounder.

                                          1. re: pie22

                                            I make the non-tuna equivalent of tuna salad if I ever have leftover fish.

                                              1. re: coll

                                                i grew up vegetarian so i think something in my brain is just averse to it. i am sure it is just me being crazy. :)

                                                1. re: pie22

                                                  I never make pasta with fish anyway, only shellfish. But I could see throwing a bit in to get rid of it! It doesn't last long; I just threw some leftover salmon in my minestrone soup last week and it wasn't half bad. I wouldn't serve it to company but I finished it up no problem. But you're not crazy, I don't really love salmon myself, even when it's fresh. I'm just too cheap to throw it away.

                                              2. re: pie22

                                                If you don't overcook salmon -- I make mine medium-rare -- it's wonderful leftover.

                                                I prefer it cold, actually, served with a dill mayo that I put other flavorings in to suit my mood (often raspberry vinegar).

                                                And like some others mentioned, meat loaf sandwiches are better the next day.

                                          2. There are a few things that I cook extra amounts of just to turn them into something else.

                                            Mashed potatoes = irish potato pancakes, irish flat bread, russian potato cake

                                            green beans
                                            broccoli
                                            cauliflower

                                            = all turn into great cream of ____ soups. Throw the left over cheese sauce in as well if you have it. Along with sauteed onion, ham, bacon, etc.

                                            Many have mentioned roasted chicken. It's great in enchiladas or soft tacos, gently reheated. My favorite, though, is to make cornbread dressing and layer the leftover chicken in the middle of the dressing and bake. I don't generally care for the taste of reheated meat but it works if it is in a sauce or some kind of liquid. The dressing is really liquidy in the beginning so somehow that staves off the weird flavor of reheated meat. As far as the tacos and enchiladas go it is much easier to use leftovers than to roast (or stew) a chicken just to make them.

                                            You mentioned stews and braises were ok. I was wondering if you included in this thought process chili, gumbo, pasta sauce and so on? I like to make baked eggs with leftover pasta sauce. Gumbo I don't change up. Chili I'll use on top of baked potatoes, for a taco salad, frito pie, etc.

                                            Love your brand of garbage disposal. I used to have one of those too. :-) Her favorite was roasted chicken. She would not dispose of fish sticks or refried beans, however. lol

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: thymetobake

                                              Dinner last night was leftover roast chicken in a noodle bowl. I think that will be my go-to use for leftover meats from now on.

                                            2. I am running a business and doing most of the cooking for my small family (just me, DH, dog, and cats). If I didn't love leftovers, we would not eat nearly as well. Any thing that takes more than 30 minutes to get on the table I always prepare enough for 2 dinners. Right now in my fridge: Enough meatballs in tomato sauce for another dinner (just need to cook the pasta and reheat the meatballs). Enough jambalaya for a dinner in a few days, re-heated in the microwave carefully. A small amount of chili (we already had 2 dinners) to mix with some stale tortilla chips and scrambled eggs for a dinner if my husband doesn't snag it for lunch. Enough turkey breast to make a small turkey salad lunch for the 2 of us. Some cooked quinoa to do whatever with.

                                              Leftovers in the fridge is better than money in the bank. Or at least, tastier.

                                              1. GOOD spaghetti sauce is even better the next day. (good does NOT include the jarred crap)

                                                1. I happen to love leftovers but I think perhaps it is hard to change your stripes if you're locked in to your position. Hey, if you and dog are happy, why change?

                                                  That said, I enjoy having "leftover" basics around. Like roasted meats, rice, steamed veggies, cooked beans. These can all be repurposed by frying, incorporating into omelets, soups, salads, etc. For meal leftovers, I tend to take them to work for lunch and I do not find the next day flavor or texture to be degraded to the point that I won't eat it. Plus, I really enjoy the money saving aspect!

                                                  1. My family hates leftovers too. I cook every day, but make a little extra for my lunch. I'm not too fond of eating out either.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Kulfi

                                                      Most of our leftovers become my lunches as well. I find even if the leftover meal isn't a good as it was 'fresh', it's tastier and cheaper than most of what I can get near my office.

                                                      I find with heating leftovers, you usually can't just plop it on a plate, microwave for X minutes and eat and expect it to be great. I stagger when things get added to the plate depending on heating time. Other foods, like things with batter or coating, with a crust, heat better in the toaster oven. Leftover meat gets heated by adding it to the hot sauce or side.

                                                    2. Call my house, there are never any leftovers as my spouse eats like a garbage disposal and never gains weight. I hate that.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: docfood

                                                        I'm also a garbage disposal. I rarely if ever have leftovers. In fact, recently I had a leftover crab cake and my friends were shocked and confused - "what, you have leftovers?"

                                                      2. Cold leftover In N Out double-double burger with fries is wonderful.

                                                        You just have to know how to revive it.

                                                        10 Replies
                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                          So, how do you revive it? Care to share?

                                                          1. re: latindancer

                                                            One of two ways.

                                                            1. Chop up everything -- burger and fries -- then sautee with some scrambled eggs and onions in bacon fat

                                                            2. Chop up everything dump in a paper bag, squirt in some Sriracha, fold paper bag shut, and microwave on mid-high for about 2 minutes.

                                                          2. re: ipsedixit

                                                            I wouldn't argue with you, but who in the hell has a leftover double double??

                                                            1. re: ricepad

                                                              When you buy 2 and, ahem, only really intend to eat 1?

                                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                What I intend to do and what I actually do are two different things. Hence, no leftover double double. I would probably have to buy THREE.

                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                    Have never even tried a Double Double. I order the (single) hambuger, no cheese, with grilled onions. Is that choice why I don't "get" the love for In 'n Out?

                                                                    1. re: pine time

                                                                      I don't think so.

                                                                      I get the double double (but no cheese) with grilled onions, so I don't think it's what you order.

                                                                      Not everyone is going to like the same thing, and certainly not everyone is going to like In N Out.

                                                                      Nothing wrong with not liking In N Out ... just like there's nothing wrong with liking In N Out.

                                                                      Eat and let eat.

                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                        Eat and let eat: yup. Hubs loves the place. Even when I was vegetarian, I'd order a grilled cheese at In 'N Out and was happy that he could get his meat fix. Hm, I now eat meat, but maybe I'll go back to that grilled cheese there. And read on here about ordering well done fries. May be a trip to I'NO in the near future.

                                                          3. When my son lived at home, I rarely cooked enough extra to have leftovers and if I did, I would eat them on the nights he was at his dad's house. When he went off to college 7 years ago, I started working later a lot of nights and would come home to an empty fridge and ended up doing a lot of take out or just punting and going out to eat.

                                                            Now I've settled into a routine of going to the farmer's market almost every Saturday, buying alot of veggies, and doing my major cooking on Sunday night (I hardly ever can get it done the same day as I shop). I typically make 2-3 veggies, and enough chicken or fish to last me 3-4 nights. Sometimes I cook enough starch (pasta or couscous) as well. I don't have any problem reheating everything and find that if properly cooked/seasoned to begin with, nothing suffers in the reheating. I'm trying to eat healthier so am adding a salad to the Sunday prep and have a bit every night as well. The only item I "repurpose" is the chicken, which I cook simply anyway. It mostly goes into salad, or into pasta. I really don't have a problem with eating the same thing 2-3 times in a week. I guess I've just trained my mind to accept it.

                                                            When I know I'll be working extra long days, I won't cook extra so as not to waste time, energy or food. I usually just get something from our kitchen (working for a catering company DOES have its' advantages!). Sometimes I just get take-out from one of the places nearby or Whole Foods. It's a rare week night that I cook fresh after getting home, it's just too much of a hassle for me.

                                                            1. "dishes which actually taste better made with leftovers"

                                                              The key to using leftovers is looking for recipes which use "cooked meats".

                                                              eg. I think using leftover roasted chicken for other dishes works very well...eg use roast chicken to make chicken pot pie or chicken noodle soup. leftover roast chicken carcass makes great stock as well.

                                                              Similarly, leftover meat spaghetti sauce can be used to make chili or lasagna.

                                                              1. I find that fritattas and quiches are a great way use up all kinds of leftovers and taste better than just the leftovers alone. Leftover veggies, meats, pastas, cheeses all work in them.

                                                                probably the only thing I don't like in them is leftover fish (except maybe salmon) and shellfish. But I am very particular about seafood freshness and texture.

                                                                14 Replies
                                                                    1. re: foodieX2

                                                                      It's weird. I did that cause my post showed up twice. I guess it didn't really.

                                                                      What I wrote was that I make something I call a "faux-tata." I start it like a frittata but finish it like an omelet. The sky is almost the limit as to what goes in it. Probably make this a couple of times a week for breakfast. In addition to leftovers (meat, rice, vegs, etc.) I'll generally add a little minced jalapeno, poblano, onion. It's rare that we ever throw anything out due to this.

                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                        One of my favorites Sunday breakfasts ever is after we have some kind of mexican/tex mex dinner. Leftover shredded cheeses, grilled onions, sliced jalepenos, whatever the meat was (steak, chicken fajita, etc), black beans, maybe some rice. Make a frittata and serve it with the leftover salsa, green chilies and guacamole or sliced avocados.

                                                                        Oooh now I am hungry!

                                                                        1. re: foodieX2

                                                                          And that just made ME hungry! I love not wasting food but if it didn't taste good, I wouldn't cook it. And the tiniest bit of something that might mold in the fridge or go to the dogs, makes part of a really good meal, doesn't it?

                                                                          1. re: tcamp

                                                                            you can see those on Miami Beach, can't you?

                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                              L. O. L. !!!!

                                                                              Thought of y'all this morning as I made our faux-tata. Most of the ingredients weren't leftovers but I did toss in about a half cup of kale sauteed with shallots and mushrooms from a few nights ago. Mmm.

                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                  Y'all don't have kale over there in the promised land?!?!? Ah, well, you make up for it, don't you?

                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                    drove me insane last winter -- our town had a gorgeous winter planter of various ornamental kales, and right in the middle was an ENORMOUS Italian (Cavolo Nero, Curly Kale, dinosaur kale, whatever you want to call it) flourishing in this stupid planter. My husband was setting up a guard outside the door to make sure I didn't sneak out in the middle of the night, hop over the fence and help myself to a few leaves.

                                                                                    Sure enough, I happened to be driving by when they were getting ready to plant spring plants, and they threw that gorgeous kale on the compost pile. Argh!

                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                      Argh indeed :( It's become so "trendy" that we get it all the time. The one you mention is the only one I really love and I can get the best at our local co-op. Can you plant it?

                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                        I can plant it....it doesn't seem to want to sprout... :(

                                                                  1. These were mentioned already I think, so I'll second that I like sweet and sour cabbage, stuffed cabbage rolls and meatloaf leftover. The flavors taste better rounded to me when they've been cooled and then reheated.

                                                                    1. The other day, I made a stuffed kabocha. It was pretty good for dinner that night, but it was even better the next day.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: ricepad

                                                                        Andrea Nguyen, the celebrated cookbook author, recently made kabocha dumplings.

                                                                      2. I was going to suggest
                                                                        1) get a big dog
                                                                        2) get a spouse
                                                                        3) borrow a neighbor's teenaged son

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: shallots

                                                                          Agreed on #3!
                                                                          When my sons were preteens, they both were not into breakfast food at all. Leftovers were the meal of choice every morning. And they have stuck with that habit for over 10 years.

                                                                        2. Slabs of mac n cheese heated in a sauce pan and added to a grilled hamburger are awesome.

                                                                          Slices of spiral ham leftovers added to a grilled cheese or a homemade pea soup rock.

                                                                          Leftover roasted chicken shredded has endless possibilities...

                                                                          While I'm not keen on many leftover dishes, there are quite a few that lend themselves to other recipes and actually cut down on the prep time of a new meal.

                                                                          1. I read an interview with Kristen Bell once where she said she scrapes the cheese and toppings off her pizza and adds it to eggs for breakfast the next day.

                                                                            It struck me as odd and I dismissed the idea at first...

                                                                            Then one morning I was faced with soggy leftover pizza with perfectly edible toppings. I added them to my eggs and it was quite delicious.

                                                                            And speaking of eggs, there are some vegetables roasted that I love saving for eating with fried eggs the next day. Broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussels sprouts to name a few...

                                                                            1. Things that taste even better reheated:
                                                                              Curries
                                                                              Meatloaf
                                                                              Ratatouille
                                                                              Chana Masala
                                                                              Lasagna
                                                                              Eggplant Parm

                                                                              1. I don't like the weird off taste of reheated left-over chicken. So I don't reheat. Use it in salads, cold wraps, etc.

                                                                                Or I reheat it in another dish, e.g. throw it into pasta with tomato sauce, add it to fried rice at the last min. Or use as pizza topping. Or to fold into an omelet, or diced into scrambled eggs.

                                                                                Left-over cooked veggies work well like this too.

                                                                                You can parboil rice, drain, layer in pot with left-over meat and seasoning, and steam until rice is cooked (a Persian thing). The steam from the rice helps keep the pre-cooked meat moist, especially if you place a towel between lid and pot.

                                                                                The only thing I hate to eat when left-over is probably roasted or fried potatoes. Gets leathery soon.

                                                                                1. My wife of 53 years grew up in a family of Italian heritage. Pasta dishes were served fresh on Sunday, and the leftover pasta was served again on Tuesday and possibly on Thursday. I assume that the pasta was no longer 'al dente' on the subsequent days. My late in-laws claimed that the pasta tasted better the 2nd time around. Maybe that was because the pasta absorbed more of the sauce (Don't tell my wife that I said 'sauce' instead of 'gravy') after days in the fridge.

                                                                                  I, not being of that ethnicity, have used leftover pasta as an ingredient in frittate (plural in Italian). If there happens to be leftover 'pasta e fagioli' (not pasta fazool) all the better for a frittata.

                                                                                  Vivi, ama, ridi e specialmente mangia bene (Live, love, laugh and especially eat well).

                                                                                  Buon appetito!

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                    I loathe leftover pasta. The pasta dries out and absorbs all the sauce to the point of being mush. Restaurants often cook all the pasta and then reheat it to order. Sometimes it is ok but most of the time I can taste the difference. IMHO, good sauce is wasted on leftover pasta. In my family we usually eat 75-100 grams of pasta per person.

                                                                                    1. re: Gloriaa

                                                                                      I use leftover pasta for "spaghetti pie" which is I don't really care for but my son and husband love.

                                                                                      Line a pie pan with leftover pasta, pushing it up the sides so it forms a "crust". Works best with spaghetti but any longer noodle works. Spread a thin layer of ricotta over the pasta, add a layer of seasoned ground meat, marinara sauce and then shredded mozz. Sprinkle top with grated parm and bake until heated thru and cheese is bubbly. Let cool slightly before slicing into wedges.

                                                                                      1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                        That does sound good. If you cook pasta and do not sauce it I think it can be retooled but I particularly hate leftover sauced pasta. In the newest fine cooking there is a recipe for pasta carbonara frittata that looks delicious.

                                                                                  2. This thread became particularly pertinent yesterday. Our kids and their kids were here recently. I made a big portion of skin-on, boneless chicken thighs stuffed with herbs and cheese. The four that were left over I froze. Thinking that they might be a bit dried out when reheated, I made a simple gravy of bacon drippings, flour and chicken broth, poured over the chicken, covered tightly with foil and reheated. Very tasty. Then yesterday Bob came in from skiing and had the last one, rehated in the MW. He commented that everytime we had it, the flavors seemed to get better and more pronounced (esp. the lemon zest). So at times, not just with stews, etc., it can not only be AS good but perhaps better.

                                                                                    1. Shepherd's Pie can be a tasty way to reuse a leftover roast.

                                                                                      1. Thanks, everybody! Other than reminding me about meatloaf sandwiches, you haven't changed my mind. But it is interesting that not a single Hound agreed with me, yet not a single flame. Civilized bunch, y'all.

                                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: mwhitmore

                                                                                          Well, if you'd really LIKE a mini-flame :), how about this question? Unless you've already tried all the suggestions, how would you know if you would or could be changed? Just sayin'.

                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                              Fair enough, although I have tried many of the suggested dishes over the years. "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then give up. No point in being a jackass about it."

                                                                                              1. re: mwhitmore

                                                                                                Yep. Gotta know though, are you the main cook in your family? It seems like it's the non-cooks who are most likely to say (in a pitiful voice) "I don't LIKE leftovers." :)

                                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                  I am the only cook and, usually, the only human eater in my household.

                                                                                            2. re: mwhitmore

                                                                                              why would anyone want to change your mind?
                                                                                              you have a preference to which you are entitled.

                                                                                              1. re: mwhitmore

                                                                                                You can't help it that you don't know any better. Bless your heart.

                                                                                                1. re: Plano Rose

                                                                                                  ah, the eternal grace and tact of GRITS (Girls Raised In The South) --

                                                                                                  "Bless your heart" and "how nice" say so very much.

                                                                                                1. Fried rice must be made from rice that is at least a few days old

                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: johnjfoote

                                                                                                    I love rice but my husband is really not into it at all. What I do recently is make a full batch anyway and then freeze single portions for the future, got that idea after I saw Trader Joe selling frozen microwavable rice. I'll freeze it plain, especially if it's Chinese leftovers (why do they even bother to give you rice with lo mein and egg foo yung, the only things my husband ever orders?) But even better when I make it up with beans or tomatoes or the like, then I have an instant side dish or add in for soup.

                                                                                                    But again, they mainly taste "better" because I don't have to cook from scratch! I.Love.Leftovers! because I'm sort of lazy.

                                                                                                    1. re: johnjfoote

                                                                                                      Using day-old rice to make fried rice, to me, is not using leftovers.

                                                                                                      When I make fried rice, cooking the rice a day or two ahead and letting it "rest" is part of the entire process. Sort of like proofing dough.

                                                                                                      And, yes, I do make rice ahead of time just to make fried rice.

                                                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                        you have to -- all you get is a sticky, gloppy MESS when you make fried rice with fresh-cooked rice.

                                                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                          I do too, though sometimes that is done by just making a larger pot when I cook something else earlier in the week.

                                                                                                          I actually keep several pots of different grains around all the time as basis for quick lunches. They keep very well.

                                                                                                          1. re: magiesmom

                                                                                                            I live in a "magic house" and leave all sorts of things in all sorts of ways that would horrify some. But I only recently heard about this potential problem and have heeded the advice. After a few days, out it goes.

                                                                                                            http://www.abc.net.au/health/talkingh...

                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                              I store them in the frige if it is more than a day.

                                                                                                              1. re: magiesmom

                                                                                                                But I gather after about three days, they should be tossed. I was reluctant to believe this but a foodie friend and extremely smart guy gave me enough info to convince even me. Also it shouldn't be left out more than a few hours. Just an fyi.

                                                                                                      2. Left over chinese food scrambled with eggs for breakfast will make you wish you were a twin so you could eat twice as much;-).

                                                                                                        love your original post - quite a funny one ain't ya:-)? (very witty and well written).

                                                                                                        1. I made a porchetta and it tastes fab as leftovers.

                                                                                                          If you make a roasted meat or veggies they can easily be made into a whole new dish the following day or frozen and used later. You can make pasta, risottos, sandwiches, soups...

                                                                                                          I sometimes make extra lasagna or shells and freeze one. That way I do not have to go thu the hassle again. You could easily do that and then they are not so tiresome as having to eat it day in and out until gone. I do that with curry too.

                                                                                                          For next day eats - give me cold pizza, cold lentils straight from the tupperware while standing in front of the fridge and chinese takeout. Indian too for that matter - if there was an indian place near me. Boohoo.

                                                                                                          1. I find it a fun challenge to repurpose abundant meals. For example, extra eggplant parmigiana is very nice broken up and served over penne. I often cook extra rice solely for the purpose of making fried rice.

                                                                                                            Try to not think of them as leftovers but as a large meal that needs a new twist on the way you serve it.

                                                                                                            1. I generally don't like leftovers either - have no idea why. But I find that if I plan my weekly meals better, then the leftover chicken/pork/beef is easily repurposed for enchiladas, tacos, soup, etc the next day. I try really hard to either plan for no leftovers, leftovers that are meant to be repurposed or just enough leftovers for DH to take for lunch.

                                                                                                              1. When my ex and I first married, as young adults, he referred once to our dinner of leftovers one night as 'hogslop'.
                                                                                                                It wasn't long until one day he came home from the steel mill, proud as a peacock because the guys at work were envious of his good smelling leftovers.
                                                                                                                It's all in your perspective.

                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                    Yeah...the first time he called my cooking hogslop, that's pretty much where he would have been assigned the cooking duties. For himself, because I'd have been gone, cooking for myself.

                                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                      Yeah, there are those things where no re-dos are allowed.

                                                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                        Only took me 27 years to wise up (or give up).

                                                                                                                        I'm better now, thank you. My hubby loves me to pieces and thinks I'm perfect (and that my food is all fabulous!).