All those Tupperware containers stacked up in your fridge with leftovers, you can’t throw them out, but you also don’t feel like eating the same meal over and over. Why not reinvent them to make a fresh new dish, while at the same time using what you already have in the kitchen. With these tips from Pia Catton and Califia Suntree’s upcoming book Be Thrifty, you’ll never look at leftovers the same way again.
Upcycling Your Leftovers and Odds and Ends:
Soups, stews and other “mixed-up dishes”: Resuscitate them and change the flavor by adding a different liquid—clam juice instead of tomato juice for example. Or add a new herb for freshness.
Casseroles such as rice pilafs and baked bean dishes: Add stock, toss in an additional ingredient, and serve as a hot soup.
Stir-fries: Refry with a new ingredient; add salad dressing and eat chilled or at room temperature; or mince, thin with a sauce, and toss over a bowl of pasta, lentils, or grains.
Poultry, veal, pork, and fish: With leaner flesh, it’s best not to reheat. Small amounts of leftovers can be chopped and gently warmed in soups, stews, or pasta dishes where texture doesn’t matter as much. Use them cold in salads or as sandwich stuffers. Use leftover seafood within a day.
Red meats like beef and lamb: Chop into pieces and reheat in soups, stews, casseroles, and stir-fried dishes; use in salads and sandwiches; or mince into burrito or taco fillings.
And don’t forget celery!: Chop and mix into green salads; slice into matchstick sizes; serve with hard cheeses; use in vegetable broth; chop and toss with carrots, garbanzo beans, scallions and olive oil for a quick salad; as a side dish braise in the oven with parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and two tablespoons of vegetable stock or water.