Give new life to your recipes…

30 Aug

In the spirit of reusing, reducing and recycling I wanted to share with you some of my recipes and how do I use them and re-use them in other preparations. As a very wise Alton Brown once said in one of his TV shows – “There is no room in my kitchen for uni-taskers!!!” I think Alton was referring more to kitchen utensils and gadgets than recipes… but you get my drift.

In my everyday life I cook and eat most everything I post here in this blog… and when making a recipe, I sometimes have leftovers. Sometimes… too much leftovers for just one person to chow down. I personally try as much as possible to cook just for now and maybe, to have something for tomorrow… but in my ideal world, I would cook for just now and make everything fresh right before I eat it.

Something I learned from the Yoga Center is that if you’re using leftovers, at least combine them with fresh stuff to give the leftovers a new lease on life. You see… leftovers have lost some of its nutritional value because it’s been a while since they’ve been cooked. This is the exact same reason why I discourage the consumption of frozen prepared meals or that convenient idea of cooking one day for the whole week and then just reheat and eat it whenever you’re hungry. If it’s something you do occasionally… it’s not that bad, but doing it as a system, well, in my opinion, you’re always eating old food that’s not as healthy and nutritious as when it was originally cooked.

So here are my ideas to use recipes the next day converting them into new dishes altogether. This way, we use our leftovers right away and do not accumulate lots if little containers in our fridge. OK??

Whenever I make Bruschetta Mix, I eat some as a snack or appetizer, but I always try to make more than I think I’ll need and eat with pasta.

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When I have leftover mashed potatoes – or just leftover boiled potatoes – this is a perfect opportunity to create a pastelón with it. Cook a filling made of veggies or soy protein and top with your favorite cheese…. And there you have a complete meal.

You are familiar already with my Meyer Lemon Thyme Granita recipe… if you do not want to eat it all as a granita, what I have done in the past is save pieces of the leftover frozen simple syrup in a freezer bag. And every time I want to create a fruit smoothie I supplement the ice/juice in my smoothie with a few pieces of the frozen lemon thyme mixture. The end result is a great tangy taste to your favorite morning drink… My suggestion, add a few pieces to a BB Shake – banana, blueberries, meyer lemon, thyme… YUM!!!

Anytime you have leftover rice, it’s easy to give it new life by adding a few delicious odds and ends you might have in your fridge. Just make your very own version of Millionaire Rice, the one that would cost you and arm and a leg if you had to go and buy so many ingredients to make, but it’s cinch just using up whatever you have cluttering up you fridge. Or make some Rice with Corn.  And if after making rice you still end up with a leftover, you can revive it once again into a Stuffed Pepper.

Cooked greens is not something I grew up with… eating spinach, for example, was an acquired taste I developed well into adulthood. If you make a version of creamed spinach to fill a spinach crepe… you can use any leftover mix into a Spinach Canelloni with the same crepes but adding some ricotta cheese to the filling and topping with tomato sauce. Add some more flour and create delicious Spinach Croquetas. You could even use it to fill a traditional Spinach Lasagna.

I hope you have learned a few tricks on how to give more mileage to the recipes you already know and how to use similar ingredients and flavors to enhance a brand new dish. This is kinda taking the semi-homemade concept to your leftovers.

What other magical recipes do you create based on your leftovers??? I want to learn something from you guys too!!!

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4 Responses to “Give new life to your recipes…”

  1. Bren @ Flanboyant Eats™ August 30, 2012 at 5:48 pm #

    There’s that millionaire rice again! I need to go ahead and just make it!

  2. The Duo Dishes September 4, 2012 at 11:04 am #

    Leftover risotto is great for rice balls or rice cakes too. Leftover wild rice is also perfect for bulking up with roasted veggies, nuts and/or dried fruits for stuffings or salads. Great ideas on your part!

  3. Chef and Steward September 9, 2012 at 4:11 am #

    I love the idea of using left overs- so much so that last year I wrote and entire article on it for my weekly food column last year. It is indeed smart to re-use dishes and that is borne of the inventiveness we grew up with in Caribbean kitchens where our Mamas left nothing to waste and still managed to kick out great new meals with yesterday’s dinner!

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