Tag Archives: how to use up leftovers

Leftover Salad, a Recipe of Sorts

Gentle Readers, sometimes it is difficult to determine how best to use up leftovers. Things that were once delicious can seem foreign or small, or fuzzy. Excluding the latter category as science experiment, let us discuss one of the most efficient ways to solve the leftover problem: a bed of lettuce.

Beautiful lettuces all in a row at the Farmer's Market.

Beautiful lettuces all in a row at the Farmer’s Market.

Yes, in the season of rabbits, greens are the great connector. After a fantastic meal with friends and colleagues at G2B Restaurant recently, I walked home with leftovers from the charcuterie plate and half my steak. What is a Practical Cook to do?

Leftover Salad, courtesy of steak, onions, and cheese from G2B Restaurant.

Leftover Salad, courtesy of steak, onions, and cheese from G2B Restaurant.

This. I sliced the steak into bite-sized pieces, and crumbled one of the cheeses over the top. Dollop of the caramelized onions, and topped with balsamic and olive oil. I also added a handful of dried cherries. It was transforming. I wanted to eat one the next day.

Charcuterie plate becomes salad bar!

Charcuterie plate becomes salad bar!

Alas, the blessing and curse of the leftover salad, each one as unique as a snowflake. The larger point, start looking at your leftovers like toppings at a salad bar. It will change your relationship to them and to lunch. Enjoy.

What’s the strangest salad combo you’ve ever made? I won’t tell. Post a comment, send a tweet, hail a carrier pigeon, just share!

Send your leftovers, witty rejoinders, and binders full of questions to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today! Also, follow the food pictures on Instagram @amylewi.)

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Coming up next on Friday, Roasted Broccoli with Oranges, or How to Fake Chinese Takeout.

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Filed under Punt!, Recipes

The Art of Leftover Surprise

Gentle Readers, The Practical Cook celebrates leftovers. Yes, even the tiny bits. There’s always soup or some complex reintroduction, but there’s also a bowl, a tortilla, and some imagination. After a travel week, there’s inevitably more food in my house than when I left (looking at you TPC’s Mom).

Summer Thanksgiving Feast

Summer Thanksgiving Feast

You see, I am Southern. Culturally, this means my mother has to feed the Juniors as if they were on the brink of starvation at all times. Fortunately for my newly minted vegetarian, I am from a farming family, so this means approximately 20 vegetables are served at any given meal. This may sound a bit exaggerated, but it really is not.

Cucumbers and Onions

Cucumbers and Onions

So I return from trips to find various bits and pieces. I’ve learned to accept this, even as my OCD self yearns to see the back of my fridge. With an extreme case of jet-lag and “event kennel cough” (my new favorite term, not one I coined myself), complex repackaging of food was not in the cards.

A lot of little leftovers can add up to a whole meal.

A lot of little leftovers can add up to a whole meal.

I opened the fridge, laid out the dishes, offered some tips, and let the Juniors put together meals. There were beans of different stripes, rice, tomatoes, cheese, tortillas, cooked apples, bagged salad. The Eldest went Mexican, using her tortilla like a chapati to pick up her food. We made a quick Mexican salad dressing to toss on the salad (salsa verde, juice of 1/2 lime, couple teaspoons of sour cream, stir), and she was set.

Mexican Salad Dressing: Simple and Tangy

Mexican Salad Dressing: Simple and Tangy

The Youngest made Hoppin’ John from black-eyed peas, rice, corn, tomatoes, and cheese. She dipped her cucumbers into the Mexican salad dressing.

The lesson: kids don’t have some preconceived notion of what should and should not be paired, or what constitutes a “real” meal. What a gift, to be without boundaries on your culinary creativity. If the combo tastes bad, don’t eat it again. Simple really.

Leftover corn mixed with a diced roasted yellow pepper, cherry tomatoes, and a fresh sweet pepper.

Leftover corn mixed with a diced roasted yellow pepper, cherry tomatoes, and a fresh sweet pepper.

And there was enough corn leftover to turn into a simple topping for the salmon the next night. Genius. Lunch, solved. The kids, happy and full of vegetables. My fridge, clean. How do you manage small bits and pieces of leftovers? Post a comment below today! I’m waiting.

Questions, quips, and winning lottery tickets may be sent to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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On Friday, The Tower of Bacon.

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Filed under Can this supper be saved?, Punt!, Recipes