Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Leftovers revisited

In my last post, I created a stew out of leftovers. But what if the last 3 times you had leftovers, you made a stew, and you'd like something else for a change of pace? There are 2 other directions you can go in: a soup or a pasta dish. I'll give you the principles here, and if you need help with any of them, just post a comment and I'll respond.

The basic principle is that leftovers get a real lift if you add something new to them. Onion is always a good starting place. In my world, garlic rules. So even if I had onions and garlic in the original recipe, unless there were LOTS of them, I'd start with these 2. Anytime I cook, if I start with onions and garlic and someone comes over, they always say "Wow! That smells good! What are you making?" At this point it's up to you what else to add. If it's winter, you might want to steam some winter vegetables and add them - turnips or parsnips, for instance. Or green beans or broccoli or whatever looks good at the market that day. In the summer, you've got lots and lots of choices, and any of them would be good. Sometimes all you need to add is a few herbs - remembering that you need less of the dried kind than the fresh. Thyme is a good addition to most things. If you've got tomatoes in your original dish and the recipe called for basil, you can add Oregano. Sometimes you might want to add certain vegetables for their color. I love adding carrots, for instance. They always brighten up any dish.

If you're going in the soup direction, then all you need to do is sautee or steam any new veggies, add your leftovers and broth. Remember, soup will be better the next day, so don't just make enough for one day. It will keep nicely in the fridge for several days.

If you're going in the pasta direction (CARBS! OMG!), then cook your pasta, add your leftovers and some low fat ricotta cheese. To really perk it up some more, you can add some grated sharp cheddar as well. Mix it up, put it in a 350 degree oven and let it heat for about 30-40 minutes. When it's bubbly, it's ready.


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