Not just in my food blogging life, but also throughout my life, leftovers have been the equivalent of a drive through the fast food window, but without the guilt, or that back of the mind question wondering "what was really in that burger?"
A gourmet gimmie.
Healthy, fresh leftover ingredients that come together quickly, allowing that ultimate moment of peace, knowing the dishwasher is empty and the counters are wiped down for the night. Pure foodie bliss.
Not only do I love creating new and flavorful dishes on night 2, but some of my recipes are down right dependent on it!
Still not believing me? How about my Asian Fusion Dumplings from grilled tri tip? Roast Pork with Leeks, Peas and Rice from a pork tenderloin. Or one of my favorite things of all time... Hot Browns with Tarragon from a roasted turkey (is it November yet?)
And now, this lovely frittata, so full of flavor that you'll be pulling out your crock pot more this year, then you did in all of the 70's. Last night, I took leftover BBQ Country Pork Ribs and my Mustard Thyme Roasted Baby Potatoes from the night before, and in no time, I had a fresh and hearty meal on the table. And, can I just say it again... with just one pan to wash! Oh yea.
So, it sounds good, but what if you're not all that creative in the kitchen? No problem.
Here are 3 quick and simple tips for tasty, tempting leftovers.
1) Store it Right: Long gone are those college days when you threw a piece of pizza on a plate in the fridge and hoped for the best as breakfast time rolled around. And sorry, Rolling Stones, but when it comes to leftovers, time is not on your side! The solution? Once food is cooled, place in appropriate containers such as zip lock bags, Tupperware containers, or even a bowl with some foil on top to help prevent further drying out.
Also, more than ever, make sure not to overcook your proteins and veggies. A good tip for the first act, but even more important for the Grand Finale, when your leftovers will be warmed or even cooked a second time.
2) Think outside the Take Out Box: Leftovers are the perfect way to have some fun and try new combinations with your ingredients. Have a leftover protein? How about dicing it up with some onions, leeks and veggies of your choice and boiling up some rice for a nice stir fry. Or leftover rice or potatoes formed into patties and fried into cakes. And why not add in some eggs and cream to just about any leftovers for a frittata. And don't forget how nicely leftovers can transform into burritos, or even a bruschetta.
Dinner leftovers are also perfect for breakfast or lunch the next day, so be creative and think staples. Keeping grains, beans, pasta, broths, healthy salad dressings and cut up tomatoes in your pantry helps take your leftovers from lackluster to luscious, all while saving money and preventing food waste.
3) Layering is Love: After a long night in the fridge, flavors will change. So don't be afraid to re-season- plus add new flavors along with the new ingredient additions. Fresh herbs are a leftover's best friend (well, besides sea salt!) Herbs brighten up flavors and add a new depth. Some of my favorites are cilantro, tarragon and thyme. And don't forget juices. Lemon or lime juice is a simple way to add a nice zip. Fresh herbs and juices can quickly turn a bland sauce or vegetable dish into a lip-licking leftover.
BBQ Pulled Pork Roasted Potato and Spinach Frittata
Whisk 6 eggs and 1/2 c. heavy cream along with salt and pepper and seasoning of choice- I added more thyme and a bit of crushed red pepper. Spray oven safe skillet with non stick spray, layer bottom with fresh spinach leaves. Then add in leftover BBQ Pulled Pork (I used country style ribs in this version- which I'm loving now... had no idea how tender and yummy they are) and Mustard Thyme Roasted Potatoes. (For the potatoes- simply mix potatoes with 1/4 c. Dijon mustard and 1-2 tsp. dried thyme. Spread on rimmed baking sheet, salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Roast at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes until nicely browned.)
Next pour egg mixture over all and bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes or until eggs are set.