Wonton Soup, with (leftover) Kale
I was born in the 1940’s, and grew up in a family that always found a use for even a tablespoon of leftover food. Waste not, want not! I have a fondness for leftovers, and creative ways to use them, as you might notice if you have read my blog in earlier years. This year I mention some ingredients you may have collected to use for Thanksgiving cooking, as well as Big Bird and other menu items!
Before you are tempted to toss that Thanksgiving turkey remains, slice off some to store in the refrigerator for sandwiches. Then gather the meat left on all those bones, chop and put into Ziplocs to freeze. This chopped turkey makes wonderful Tetrazzini or added to marinara, a delicious spaghetti sauce. You can also use it with rice, broccoli and cheese for a hearty casserole. See links below for posts in past years which mention this.
Serve for breakfast with your favorite sausage and toast or biscuits. Better than jelly! Jellied cranberry sauce slices are great to top hot open face chicken or tuna sandwiches.
Extra mashed potatoes make great soup. Thin the mashed potatoes with milk, cream or broth and garnish with thinly sliced scallions.
You can also make fabulous fritters When I was growing up, my parents owned a small cafe. I used to ask Daddy to make “fried mashed potatoes” when he had mashed potatoes on the menu. . Add flour and an egg to bind the mixture, fold in some chopped onions and shape it into patties. Daddy cooked them on his hot griddle. An iron skillet heated with a small amount of cooking oil works just fine. You can also add chopped ham or bacon bits.. If you want a crispier fritter, dip the potato patties in a mixture of bread crumbs and flour seasoned with salt and pepper. This is also featured in a previous post, link below, along with a great potato pancake recipe.
Greens, such as Spinach, Kale, Chard
Even a small amount of remaining sauteed or fresh (if not dressed) greens can be a great addition to soups or omelets. In the photo above, I combined frozen wontons with chicken broth, kale, and a bit of hoisin sauce for a delicious soup.
Do you have a bit of mustard left in the jar?. Add some oil and vinegar and make vinaigrette by just shaking it up right in the jar. Or stir in a little bit of jam — ideally apricot, or a red-currant jelly — and use the mixture as a glaze for pork or chicken. This is especially nice if your mustard is a fancy one like Dijon.
Slice it and freeze it for morning toast,,make bread crumbs by pulsing the bread in a food processor, or make a batch of croutons. Just cut the bread up into chunks, toss with olive oil and a little salt and sauté in a pan or toast in a 400 degree oven. It’s also great for crunchy crostini. You can also keep it in the freezer for the next time you make cornbread dressing, to which I always add some torn up leftover sliced bread. Another use is not for eating – we save bread in the freezer for our grandchildren to take to the neighborhood lake to feed the ducks!
Substitute buttermilk for regular milk in pancakes by adding a little baking soda and decreasing the baking powder just a little. Use it for marinating chicken for fried chicken — it both tenderizes and gives a little tang. Or try it in a salad dressing with a small amount of oil. By the way, you can avoid having leftover buttermilk by purchasing powdered buttermilk which you can store in the frig so you can make exactly the amount you need every time.
Stir and freeze in ice cube trays for use in drinks and soups later. You can also substitute coconut milk for some or all of the water when you make rice – delicious! (when I do this I add some toasted coconut flakes on top. . Or sub for butter to finish a sauce, stir a little into some broth along with cooked pasta.
This is one of my favorite leftovers~ so much so that I often cook extra so I will be sure to have some!
Pork Fried Rice, Vietnamese Salad
Chop some plus any extra vegetables and make into a pasta sauce. Add a little broth, butter, and Parmesan, toss with hot cooked pasta and you’ve got an instant meal. Cooked pork also makes a great soft or crispy tacos,
Fried rice puts leftovers to delicious use and actually works better with cold cooked rice.
Mix the cooked rice with a little egg, some Fontina or your favorite cheese, add some seasonings and make rice cakes. Cook them in a little olive oil.
I often have leftover tomato paste.It can be frozen in ice cube trays You’ll have it on hand for stirring into soups and stews.
Extra corn or flour tortillas can be frozen in a Ziploc bag and used later for savory or dessert pizzas. Place the tortillas on a baking sheet, brush with a little oil and crisp them in the oven. Top with a bit of tomato sauce and cheese to make an individual pizza. For dessert, brush with butter and brown sugar, bake until crisp and add toppings