Saturday, June 23, 2012

Getting creative with leftovers

Although it turns out I'm not so good at sticking to a set menu plan, I've been trying to get more creative with leftovers and odds 'n' ends this week.

Roast chicken.

Roast chicken, roast potatoes (using the last few from our pantry), cooked carrots and green beans from my garden, and sautéed purple cabbage in cumin. We had a friend come over for dinner, so it was nice to be able to serve something special.

With the leftover chicken carcasse, I spent the next three days making batch after batch of chicken stock. To the stockpot I also added a couple of frozen chicken carcasses and bagfuls of frozen vegetable scraps I'd been saving for that purpose.

Fermented ginger carrots.
On Sunday I also tried my hand at making fermented ginger carrots from some of the surplus in my garden. I'm making my way through Wardeh Harmon's new book, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Fermenting Foods and it's got me all inspired to ferment more.

The ginger carrot recipe is actually from Nourishing Traditions, but it didn't turn out well because I didn't have enough whey so added extra salt which made it way too salty. I'm still going to eat it - just a little bit at a time.

Butter chicken on rice - I used an Asian Home Gourmet packet to get the right flavour, but added in leftover roast chicken from the night before, raw cream that was getting too old to drink and some of that day's chicken stock. I also chopped in some homegrown tomatoes I'd frozen when we were getting too many in summer. 

Asian mince on rice.

Asian mince on rice - We had three lovely friends come over for dinner and I wasn't sure what to make until Lily requested her favourite dinner. Again, I cooked the rice in some of that day's chicken stock for an extra nutritional boost.

All the vegetables came from my garden. I used a mix of zucchini, carrots, spinach, silverbeet, mint and spring onions.

QuesadillasI made soaked whole-wheat tortillas earlier in the day when I had a bit of time.

For the filling, I brought some of that week's chicken stock to the boil in a saucepan and threw in some leftover roast beef I had previously shredded and frozen in a ziploc bag. I also added a handful of black beans I'd previously soaked-cooked-frozen, along with half a jar of salsa.

I found a jar of sweet corn relish in the pantry and spread some on one of the tortillas, sprinkled it with cheese, dolloped on the roast beef filling, sprinkled on more cheese and layered another tortilla on top. I cooked the whole lot on a medium heat in the frying pan to melt the cheese, flipped and cooked for a bit longer until it all held together.

Italian beef casserole - I've been waiting for casserole beef to come on special for months. Finally it did so I bought heaps and am happily using my Kenwood slow cooker again.

For this dinner I didn't use a recipe because I wanted to chuck in all sorts of vegetables I had, along with the defrosted black beans that hadn't made it into Wednesday night's quesadillas. Into the slow cooker went the pre-cubed blade steak, black beans, a jar of organic basil tomato pasta sauce, a splash of red wine vinegar, a splash of soy sauce, a rainbow mix of carrots from my garden, green bell peppers, celery, a red onion and some chopped garlic.

Usually I would have mashed some potatoes to serve it on, but I'd used them all up on Saturday so I made dinner rolls to mop up the sauce instead.

Lasagne - For the mince layer I just whizzed up the leftover Italian casserole from Thursday night. I didn't have quite enough lasagne sheets - just 2.25 when I needed 4 - so I sprinkled some orzo for the top layer. I probably should have boiled it first, as it was a bit crunchy, but not too bad.

Pizza - We were all feeling the need to get out of the house as it's been a stormy day so we headed to our local cafe/restaurant for pizza.

What's been cooking in your kitchen? Did you do anything resourceful with your ingredients and leftovers this week?


  1. Love the idea to whiz left over casserole for lasagne!

    1. Yeah, it definitely cut down on prep time.

  2. actually.... tonight I made bolonaise sauce with $2 of lovely red tomatoes that we bought and I just threw in all the leftovers in the fridge - a bit of cooked onion, some steamed greens, beans and carrots, the end of a zucchini, I cooked it on the woodstove for a few hours and then whizzed it into a sauce, great way to use up all the bits and pieces in my fridge! Now I'm cooking ox tail soup, going to add the beetroot from my kvass, you should try it from NT, if you like beetroot juice, you will love kvass :)

    1. I've got a few beetroot plants growing in the garden so will look into the kvass recipe. Thanks Liz.


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