We all know that foods, such as spaghetti sauce and chili only become better after sitting a day or two. Other dishes aren't quite as appetizing the second time around, so many cooks like to prepare just enough food for a single meal. The last thing they want to end up with are leftovers. But, it happens.
On the other hand, there are cooks (myself included) that view leftovers as an opportunity to create a tasty dish by combining the leftovers with fresh foods and other staple ingredients from the pantry.
A quick and easy casserole can be put together by adding pasta, shredded cheese and a can of creamed soup to leftover meat and veggies. Or, combine leftover meat and veggies to create a pizza or an omelet.
Stale bread can be transformed into French toast, crunchy croutons, or bread pudding.
With a little imagination you can create dishes that will actually leave you feeling thankful for leftovers.
Grapes, chunk of cheese, etc. make ...
SIMPLE SNACKS OR APPETIZERS
Use long toothpicks. Place on pick in order given.
1. grape, deli ham (fold accordian style), melon cube (watermelon or cantaloupe)
2. pineapple cube, ham cube, cheese cube
3. cheese cube (cheddar), green olive, mushroom
4. whole olive (black or green), ham cube, cheese cube
5. whole olive, pepperoni slice (folded in half), cheese cube
6. grape, strawberry, pineapple cube
Don't discard that stale bread
CUSTARD BREAD PUDDING
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
4 cups skim milk
6 slices white bread (cubed)
1/2 cup raisins
In mixing bowl, combine eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla. Add milk and bread. Pour into 8-in. square glass baking dish (lightly greased). Scatter raisins over the top and sprinkle with some cinnamon if desired. Bake at 350 for 50-55 min.
Notes: I used 2 percent milk. Enjoyed the addition of the cinnamon.
Light and fluffy
PEPPERONI CHEESE BAKE
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup diced pepperoni
3/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp. dried basil
In greased 9-in. pie plate, layer the cheese and pepperoni. In bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, basil and pepper; pour over the cheese. Bake at 400, 20-25 min. - knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove from oven to cooling rack; allow to stand for 10 min. before cutting.
Notes: I used oven rack located second position from the bottom; baked mine for 27 min. Instead of dicing, pepperoni slices may be cut in fourths. May substitute Italian blend of cheese (6 cheeses) for the mozzarella. The cheese layer serves as the crust in this "quick to prepare" dish.
Just add bread and a simple salad
CHEDDAR HAM CHOWDER
2 cups water
2 cups cubed peeled potatoes
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 can (15.25 oz.) whole kernel corn, drained
1-1/2 cups cubed fully cooked ham
In a 3 qt. saucepan, bring the water, potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, salt and pepper to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 8-10 min. or until vegetables are just tender. Remove from heat; do not drain.
Meanwhile, in a med. saucepan, melt the butter. Blend in flour. Add the milk all at once; cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add cheese and stir until melted. (won't take long) Stir this hot mixture into the undrained vegetables; return large saucepan to the heat. Add corn and ham. Heat through (over low heat); stirring occasionally. Yield: about 3 qts.
If a thicker consistency is desired, just stir in 1 to 2 T. instant potato flakes.
Food for Thought: Spring is the glorious season when the grass grows up along the roadside and hides the discarded aluminum cans.