Monday, Monday — Can’t Trust Myself with a Refrigerator Filled with Leftovers

It’s Monday and it’s Twinkie Day — but not in my house. It’s leftover week at the Farm.

Thankfully, Twinkies are not one of the things that float my culinary boat.Unfortunately, there are too many other foods that do, and many of them are residing in my fridge right now.

2008_12_4-Leftovers2

I threw myself a birthday party on Saturday with about thirty of our closest friends attending. They are more like family than friends — we love each other, we fight with each other, we confide in each other, we travel together, and we raise each other’s children and grandchildren as needed. And we love to eat — thus the loaded refrigerator.

In the privacy of my own kitchen after everyone has gone and Music Man has gone back to work, I can go back to the leftovers and savor them.

The Metro Potato Salad from Mariano’s — red potatoes with the skins still on, dill, eggs, finely chopped celery for crunch, a little vinegar for acid and lots and lots of mayo. Heaven. I have to portion it out carefully so that I don’t eat two cups of it at one sitting.

The hot wings are happily congealed in all their greasy goodness in Tupperware. I made them from some leftover frozen wings and some leftover roasted chicken from another party. Nobody ate the legs and the wings at the other party, so I bundled them up and froze them. I knew they’d make a good quick appetizer for another event and there they were in my freezer when I needed them. I put some fresh BBQ sauce on them and threw them in the crockpot and we were in business. At five or six pieces per sitting, I’ll get four happy meals out of those leftovers. Can’t help but smile when I think about it.

And then there’s the veggie cassoulet. It was an experiment which I’ll share later on this week and boy, is it good. There’s at least five servings of beans left in the fridge, too. Mmmm…

The leftover cheese is almost gone already — I needed a quick jolt of fatty protein after church yesterday, after all — and the rest of the vat of iced tea I’m finishing as I write. I took the leftover cookies to church, so they’re not around to tempt us, but we’ve still got fruit salad for an army. When I say army, I probably mean two sixty-something adults who live on fruit salad this time of year. It won’t last long, either.

Got My Reservations -- Grilled Beef

We grilled up all the leftover shish-ke-bob meat last night and froze it on trays so that it can be pulled from the freezer in individual batches; I envision salads topped with marinated chicken breast pieces, beef stroganoff, and maybe some pork-fried rice coming out of those leftovers. There’s a lot that can be done with leftovers — try this fab recipe from my archives.

Leftovers a la Pastitsio

I read somewhere that people are entertaining at home again. Maybe leftovers are why.

Delicious Leftovers a la Pastitsio

You may have noticed that I’ve been mostly AWOL from my blogs in the past few weeks. I took on the challenge of producing the musical Godspell at my church and it has turned into a massive time-sucker. I agreed to do this mostly because without participating, I would have ended up being a Godspell widow. ¬†Translation? Music Man is the band leader and musical arranger for the show and I would be left at home by myself if I didn’t do something for the show. Perhaps taking on the role of producer was a larger step than was necessary, but as my friend Charlotte says, “Shut up and stop complaining; you’re doing it for God!”

Anyway, we didn’t have rehearsal tonight, but we did have a lot of leftovers in the refrigerator. A takeout container full of yummy curry from our favorite Thai restaurant. Mushrooms that needed the Julia Child sautee method. Right now. A plastic container full of frozen beef stew — mostly broth, onions, and carrots. Some beans and ground beef remaining from last week’s taco salad night.

What’s a girl to do with this disparate collection of bits and pieces?

Make a casserole! My favorite food in the whole world. We can’t go wrong by adding some noodles and cheese. Yum.

I used Ina Garten’s recipe for Pastitsio, and created something out of essentially nothing. I don’t think I’ve ever made a flat-out bechamel sauce, and it was so good that it was all I could do to keep from just inhaling it straight out of the pan.

Turns out my leftovers were delicious and husband-approved on a busy night. I will make this again, and I might even follow the original recipe. Or probably not, since we don’t often have leftover lambie in the house…

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