18 Thu, 2010 § 2 Comments
Leftovers are gross.
This is what I thought growing up. Next-day-food was either mushy or stale, bland or overwhelming. Then my family was introduced to leftover spaghetti & garlic bread sandwiches…& they were even better than the original dish. Maybe leftovers weren’t so bad after all.
The trick is to transform them.
These days — though I love a freshly prepared meal — I’ve not only come around to but really enjoy finishing off leftovers.
I have found myself making large batches of favorites for lunches throughout the week, prepping dinners like casseroles, stuffed peppers [that end up missing ;)] & other dishes in advance & revamping leftover meals.
Several dishes hold really well — some even get better — over a few days: soups, chili, baked pasta, bean burgers, grains, etc.
It’s convenient to make large batches & reinvent leftovers; & it often makes healthy eating easier because you are left with fewer excuses to just eat out or make lunch from a box.
But it can’t get boring, so think outside the box & play around with a few of these suggestions for using up leftovers without feeling like you’re eating leftovers:
Bake a dish you normally wouldn’t bake…like leftover ravioli filling tossed with rice or quinoa.
Crumble bean burgers over salads…or top your salads with casserole mixings…or stuff your mixings into a wrap.
Use soup as the base for pasta sauce…or casserole…or use pasta sauce to make crazy enchilada sauce.
When you’re really desperate to use something up, sometimes a little magic happens.
I turned a leftover 7Layer Guacamole Bean Dip from Friday’s game night into a tasty lunch that was completely different than its original appetizer vibe.
7[un]Layered Bean Dip Casserole
1 large or 2 small servings
- ~1.5 C leftover 7Layer dip
- ~1 C cooked Harvest Grain Blend [a mix of various rices, quinoa, etc that I picked up from the bulk section at Whole Foods.]
- 2T toasted sunflower seeds
- 1T vegan “parmesan”, plus extra to sprinkle over top
Combine all ingredients.
Scoop into a ramekin or small oven-safe bowl.
Sprinkle with “parmesan”.
Bake at 350*F for ~15 minutes, or until heated through.
7Layer Guacamole Bean Dip
Spread & layer, in order, in an 8×8 dish.
- 1 can [Annie’s] refried beans
- 2.5 avocados mashed with juice of 1 lime
- ~16oz [-1/4C] plain Greek yogurt, blended with taco seasoning packet*
- 1, 2.5oz can diced green chiles, drained
- 2, 2.5oz cans sliced black olives, drained
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 1 C Daiya cheese
*You can make your own taco seasoning using chili, cumin, onion powder, paprika, cayenne & salt.
What do you do with leftovers?