Category Archives: left overs


The Thanksgiving Leftovers Plan

Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  That delicious feast where we cook all of our favorite foods and enjoy family and friends gathered around the table.  A bounteous array of turkey, potatoes, stuffing, vegetables, family favorite recipes, and an almost endless parade of desserts.  It is a holiday of plenty.

 Erma Bombeck once said, “Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not a coincidence.” While I agree with the eighteen hours to prepare, hopefully, your meal lasts longer than twelve minutes. 

In our rush to get to the big feast we sometimes forget some of the other important stuff. I’ve put together some thoughts on things to remember for the holiday so we can all have a happy, healthy, safe, and delicious day surrounds by those we love and enjoying our favorite foods.

Food Safety

According to the CDC, approximately 1 in 6 Americans get sick each year from foodborne illness. That’s about 48 million people. As many as 128,000 of these people will wind up in the hospital. And raw foods of animal origin (such as poultry) are most likely to be contaminated. The holidays can present an enormous potential for foodborne illness. Combine a busy kitchen with a hectic schedule, a possible overload of guests, and high levels of cross preparation with raw meats and vegetables, and it all combines to make a perfect storm for food safety problems.

The CDC recommends the following rules regarding food safety:

  • Cook – make sure all foods, especially meats, are thoroughly cooked, a meat thermometer is especially helpful at this time of year
  • Separate – don’t cross-contaminate your cooking surfaces and be sure to clean all boards and utensils between foods
  • Chill – bacteria can grow on foods left out more than 4 hours so refrigeration is advised
  • Clean – thoroughly wash your veggies, your hands, your utensils, your prep surface, repeatedly
  • Report – if you or someone you know becomes sick and you suspect foodborne illness report it to your local health department

My suggestions  are:

  • Have multiple sponges, one for surfaces, one for pots, one for dishes
  • Microwave your sponges often, on high for 2 minutes, to kill bacteria
  • Have multiple towels for separate uses, hands, drying produce, drying counters, drying dishes

Feeding our fur-babies

While we’re enjoying the plenty that comes with this particular holiday, we need to be mindful of the fact that many of the foods that we eat for the holiday are not good choices for our dogs. Many people give their dogs “table treats” throughout the year.  On Thanksgiving, with so many people in the house, our furry friends may pull out all the stops when it comes to the piteous they-never-feed-me eyeball action.  Many of those around our table might be tempted to sneak them “just a little bit.”  The challenge is that all of these “just a little bit” pieces add up to quite a bit of food.  Add in the fact that many of these foods are, in fact, not safe for consumption by dogs and you wind up with very busy veterinary emergency centers.  No matter how much they try to convince us we need to remember that the following can be dangerous for dogs:

  • Turkey skin, gravy, drippings – loaded with fat and spices, it’s difficult for them to digest and could lead to pancreatitis
  • Turkey bones – these are very brittle and can splinter causing damage to the stomach and intestines
  • Bread, bread dough, stuffing, cookies, or other baked goods – dogs cannot digest these very easily and they can cause bloating or severe digestive distress
  • Onions, garlic, raisins, grapes, mushrooms, and nuts – these all contain different substances which can make your dog very ill
  • Chocolate – dogs cannot process the theobromine in chocolate. Consuming it can, depending on how much and how big your dog is, cause serious digestive upset and possible toxicity
  • Alcohol – especially beer, is very toxic for dogs

Leftovers

And after the big feast there will be leftovers.  Probably lots of leftovers.  Because let’s face it, isn’t that how most of us prepare for the big day?  We pretend we’re feeding an army (and maybe some of us are).  Partly because we enjoy the cornucopia of favorite foods. But also because after cooking for two days, it’s a great feeling to enjoy all these delicious treats again as leftovers. When we’re planning for leftovers, however, we need to have a plan.

Substitutions

In order to make sure you have the healthiest leftovers possible be sure to start with the healthiest ingredients:

  • This soup base is an excellent substitute for that chemical-laden standby cream of mushroom
  • If your family are biscuit fans do this instead of the whack-and-bake variety
  • Don’t buy the stuff in the can, it only takes a few minutes to make your own delicious cranberry sauce
  • If you eat gluten avoid the chlorine bleaching and bromates found in many commercial flours by choosing unbrominated and unbleached flours instead
  • Skip the crispy onions which come loaded with GMO ingredients and negative additives. Make delicious caramelized onions as a topping instead
  • Canned gravy usually has MSG, trans fats, sulfites, and caramel color, you can easily make your own 
  • Pie fillings often come loaded with GMO ingredients, MSG, plus artificial flavorings and preservatives, making your own is fairly easy. 

The plan

Most people plan their cooking day in great detail. What needs to go into the oven when, what gets cooked in which order, when family is arriving, and how to make the feast all appear on the table at the same time. While it’s great to pay all that attention to the meal, we also need to be mindful of how to plan for after the feast. These are my top tips for dealing with leftovers after the holidays:

  • Don’t throw out those bones, use them to make this delicious broth
  • And here’s a couple of recipes using it plus a wonderful one for my favorite meatball soup
  • Leftover wine can be frozen into ice cubes and used later. A standard ice cube tray is 1 ounce which is the equivalent of 2 tablespoons
  • Instead of storing each leftover item in its own container make them into Meal Jars using wide mouth pint jars for a quick and easy lunch or dinner 
  • Pie for breakfast – okay so it’s not nutritionally very sound, but when you’ve got a delicious gluten-free, lower sugar pie, there’s nothing wrong, in my humble opinion, with enjoying a slice of pie with breakfast
  • Here’s a blog post on one of my favorite leftover strategies, Sequential Eating
  • And another article Musings on Leftovers

However you celebrate, whatever is on your table, whoever your gather with, I wish you a holiday full of joy and gratitude, health, and happiness. 

Dinner In A Jar

dinner in a jar

I’m not a fan of plastic for food storage.  While there are times that it’s unavoidable, my preference is for glass.  So I save jars.  Lots of them.  They’re great for dry goods, things like beans, grains, and spices.  But they’re also fabulous for efficient leftover storage.  Take the picture above for example.  It’s ratatouille and polenta.  After the meal rather than packaging up the leftovers into one container of ratatouille and one container of polenta I’ve assembled them into meals in the jar.  Perfect for grab-and-go meals on the road or if I’m trying to save time and energy at home.

By assembling my leftovers into meal containers I avoid having to find a container for the ratatouille, find a container for the polenta, take them out when I want to serve them, put a container with less stuff back in the fridge (which takes up more space).  Repeat with consecutive meals until there’s just a smidge left in all the containers, the fridge is jam packed, there’s no room, but there’s not much food either.  This is much more efficient and I love it.

The two jars in the picture demonstrate the different ways of filling your jar.  It’s important to remember that you want to use wide mouth openings, otherwise it’s more difficult to get stuff out.  Putting your base (in this case the polenta) on the bottom and your saucy stuff (the ratatouille) on top makes a perfect on the go meal.  I can heat and eat straight from the container.  Yes, I’m talking reheating in the microwave oven.  Not my preferred method of heating but when I’m out and about I don’t usually have the option of reheating on a stove top.

The other method, with the sauce on the bottom and the base on top is fabulous when you can dump everything out onto a plate.  When you turn it over the base is on the bottom and the sauce is on top.

This meal was so delicious I know I’m going to be making it again soon in the near future.  And because I know you want to make it too, here’s the recipes.

Ratatouille

1 large eggplant
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
2 sweet bell peppers
5 medium to large tomatoes, cored and diced
1/4 cup olive oil plus more if needed
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
2 teaspoons fresh basil, minced
sea salt and pepper to taste

Cut the eggplant into 1″ cubes
Sprinkle with salt and let sit 1 hour
Rinse and drain eggplant
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in pan
Add diced onion and saute until starting to soften
Add another 2 tablespoons olive oil and the eggplant
Stir to fully coat eggplant
Turn heat down to medium and add remaining ingredients
Stir frequently for another 10 minutes
Turn heat down to low and simmer 15-20 minutes

I love this ratatouille over polenta, but it’s also great on a baked potato or just by itself.

This polenta recipe is the one from The Pantry Principle, if you’d like you can put fresh mozzarella on top of the polenta after it’s been cooked and then put the hot ratatouille on top.  This will cause the mozzarella to melt into ooey deliciousness and makes the whole meal delightful.

Polenta

So easy to make at home that you’ll wonder why you ever bought it. The homemade version is much more versatile and, by choosing organic cornmeal, can be GMO free polenta.

1 C. cornmeal
1 t. sea salt
3 C. water

Bring water and salt to a boil
Reduce water to a simmer
Very slowly add cornmeal (this is important to avoid lumps)
Cook approximately 20 minutes until mixture thickens
Remove from heat and pour into a pie plate (for triangles) or a cake pan (for squares)
Let polenta set for 10-15 minutes
Cut and serve

Enjoy!

8 Tips To Prevent Food Waste

 This video about food waste from the BBC highlights just how much food is wasted in developed countries. Some of it is due to confusion about labeling but much of it is due to carelessness. Food has become so cheap that we don’t value it and discard it easily.

This is balanced by the unfortunate sadness of obesity, too many people consuming too much food (and often the wrong kinds of foods but that’s a topic for another day).  So while I don’t encourage polishing off your plate if you have eaten enough, I also don’t encourage throwing away large amounts of food.

Given the high number of people who don’t have enough to eat in the premier nations, let alone the rest of the world, this is a major issue. If we continue to think there’s not enough food we continue to pave the way for GMO foods.  And as we’ve seen, increased use of GMOs causes increased use of pesticides not the decrease that was initially promised.  GMO also appears to be causing a huge increase in Irritable Bowel Disorders as it destroys intestinal flora.

So what are we to do about food waste?  How do we address this issue and stop the senseless destruction of massive amounts of food.  Food which took many man-hours to grow, nurture, harvest, transport, produce, and provide?  Food which someone had to work hard to earn the money to pay for it.  Food which might have provided a meal to someone in need.

One is to look at our consumption habits.  If we routinely throw out certain fresh foods perhaps we’re buying too much.  If we collect foods in containers, letting them turn grey and fuzzy before we throw them out, perhaps we are preparing too much.  Or perhaps we’re not just packaging them attractively enough to be appealing for a second or third meal.

In our house we’ve implemented a few of the following strategies to help reduce food waste.

  • Shop more frequently:  I know this is a pain in the rear.  However, while I have a fully stocked pantry of staple products, I find I do better when I shop 2-3 times per week for fresh items buying only what I need for the next couple of days.  This requires menu planning and making it a habit to not impulse buy. 
  • Only buy what you will use:  This can be a challenging habit to implement.  Oftentimes we purchase because it’s on sale.  Or we think ‘I’ve always wanted to make that.’  Perhaps we say to ourselves ‘I think I just saw a recipe for that.’  And if we don’t get to that item, it winds up in the trash.  If we only buy what we know we will use there will be much less waste.
  • Plan for leftovers:  With only three people in the house, all on varying schedules, I have had to change my cooking habits.  When I cook a whole chicken, for example, I already know the meals that will be the result of that meal, having several recipes that call for cooked chicken.
  • Scaling back:  No longer cooking for five people on a daily basis I have learned to scale back family favorite recipes or to know that half of the meal will be stored in the freezer for a later meal.
  • Sharing purchases:  I’ve been building a network of friends with whom I can share larger purchases.  For example, 10 pounds of onions is much less expensive than purchasing them either on a per pound basis or in a three pound bag.  However unless I’m planning on making frequent batches of onion soup I can’t go through it all quickly enough.  If I share with one or two friends we all get the benefit of the less expensive price and there is bound to be less waste.
  • Attractive use of leftovers:  (That sounds rather silly but I couldn’t think of a better way to phrase it).  Using wide mouth pint jars to make a meal-in-a-jar from leftovers somehow seems much more attractive to people than looking at a collection of plastic containers where you have to open and peer at each one to decide which one(s) you want to eat.  This food saving tip also includes learning to make a composed plate with perhaps one new food (usually a quick saute of some kind) and arranging everything well on the plate.  If you put the same attention into arranging a plate of leftovers as you do a plate of fresh cooked food, people will respond positively.  If you plop it wherever on the plate and just lump it there, they are less enthused about the meal.
  • Rummage cooking:  I’d love to see a t.v. show on this concept (rather than the immensely stocked everything-you-could-imagine pantries) and it’s one that takes a bit of practice.  This is where I notice that the refrigerator is getting full.  I look at the ingredients and begin to plan what I can make for a menu using up those last bits.  I’ll confess that in the beginning it was usually a soup or stew.  But as I learned to put flavor profiles together we began to have more varied meals.  While not all of them are successful as a “menu” they are all tasty and a great way to prevent waste.
  • Serve smaller portions:  It’s always better to go back for seconds than to have too much on the plate.  Studies have shown that we eat more than we think if we have larger portions in front of us.

I’d love to hear your tips and tricks for preventing food waste.  What habits have you learned?  Email me or share below.

On My Mind Monday 10.22.12

It’s never the same two weeks in a row.  A collection of what I find interesting in the world of food, nutrition and holistic health.  Here’s what’s on my mind.

Eat your kale – many of us don’t get enough of those dark leafy greens.  This article talks about some of the health benefits and reminds us that, like everything else, there needs to be some moderation in our consumption of dark leafy greens.

Eat more kale – of course the title above is similar to Bo Muller Moore’s Eat More Kale campaign.  (For those of you who don’t know, Bo has been issues a Cease and Desist order in an act of corporate bullying by Chick Fil-a who claims that their consumers would be confused between their Eat Mor Chik’n and his Eat More Kale — I don’t know about you but if I was one of their consumers I’d be insulted by that.)  He happens to have a few friends who love kale and have shared some delicious recipes, check them out.  And while you’re at it, consider buying a t-shirt.

Students Donate Leftovers – There are a lot of things about this story that bother me.  While I’m glad that someone has come up with a way to take unwanted food and give it to those who are hungry, I find it mind-boggling that students are forced to take food they don’t want.  What kind of message does this send?  It encourages waste.  The legislation in school districts that prevent the distribution of whole, clean food once it’s been taken needs to be changed.  The solution seems straightforward, let’s use common sense.

Ugly Fruit and Vegetables – Due to the drought grocery stores in England have been forced to accept less than perfect looking fruits and vegetables.  While it’s not good that there’s a drought and with it a growing food shortage, I think this has some positive aspects.  It will teach people that food doesn’t have to look perfect to be edible.  Hopefully it will also open doors to more locally sourced, less big-agri-business perfection at the grocery store, and by extension on our tables.  The peppers that I pick from my garden are bumpy, lumpy and not so pretty.  But they sure taste good.  The ones at the grocery store are frequently beautiful to look at but less than flavorful.   Hopefully people can learn to accept that it doesn’t have to look like it belongs in a stylized food photo shoot to belong on our table.

Cheese Smuggling – unlike the millions of dollars of maple syrup recently stolen in Canada this theft scheme did not happen as planned.  Apparently involving cross-border sales of cheese the Department of Homeland Security managed to break up the smuggling ring and put a halt to the operation.  Apparently many of the Canadian pizza shops claim they turned down the U.S. cheese because it was inferior (making me wonder just how much better Canadian mozzarella really is).  More importantly the fact that food thefts are increasing highlights the rising costs and increasing food insecurity.

Bleah! doesn’t even begin to describe my reaction to this video.

photo: mconnors

Managing Leftovers

I’m eating in a new, to me, way.  Following a rotation diet that was carefully designed to avoid any of the food sensitivities that showed up on the test.  The purpose of a rotation diet is to help avoid any potential new food sensitivities from cropping up by not eating them more than once every four days.  It is a generally accepted practice as those who have food sensitivities have inflammation going on in their gut and it’s far to easy for them to eat too much of one food thereby triggering a sensitivity to those proteins as well.

A new challenge that I am discovering is the concept of leftovers.  In the past if we had leftovers I happily ate them.  I love leftovers.  Now that’s not an option unless it’s something that everyone else will eat, it freezes well, or it will last four days until I can eat it again.  I’m determined to be consistent about this as I know that it is important.  So I’m also trying to learn to cook more in line with what we will actually eat.  Whereas before it didn’t matter, now it does.

I’m realizing I used to be very laissez faire about leftovers and now I need to think about those too.

Reinventing Comfort

When I was a little girl my mother used to make something called rice cereal.  My brother and I loved it.  Leftover white rice in a bowl of hot milk with a huge dollop of butter and a spoonful of sugar on top.  It brings back memories of the small kitchen we had when we were young.  Sitting at the table with my brother, legs swinging, enjoying this dish which we viewed as a treat.

When my children were growing up I would make the same dish for them.  And they loved it just as much.  Even now my 16 year old will assemble a bowl if we have the ingredients at hand (which we often do).  It was a great way to use up extra rice — filling, tasty, and warming to the tummy.  I even served it on occasion to overnight guests.   One such guest, a dear friend from my high-school days, exclaimed about this wonderful breakfast, wanting to know where the recipe came from.  My answer?  My mom.  And probably from her mom.  I think it was simply a frugal way to use leftovers.  But it sure was, and still is, tasty.

Sometimes you have a day where you want comfort food.  This morning was one of those days.  As I was assembling, and then happily eating, my bowl of comfort I realized that I have changed the recipe.  Modified it to be more in line with my healthier eating habits.  But it was still just as comforting, warming and satisfying as it ever was.  Reflecting on this I realized that the concept of comfort food is a state of mind.  Yes it’s a comfort to the tummy and makes us feel good; but part of what makes us feel good is the memories associated with that food.  Changing the food doesn’t change the comfort level as long as the basic concepts are the same.

So I’m making an offer, what are your comfort foods?  What do you eat when you feel the need for that emotional lift?  Share the recipe and the concept below.  If you’d like (and please ask below) I’m happy to make suggestions to help boost the nutrition or health factor while still helping you get that bowl or plate of comfort you are after.  Eating well to be well doesn’t mean we can’t still have comfort.

Reinventing Comfort

When I was a little girl my mother used to make something called rice cereal.  My brother and I loved it.  Leftover white rice in a bowl of hot milk with a huge dollop of butter and a spoonful of sugar on top.  When I had children I would make the same dish for them.  It was a great way to use up extra rice — filling, tasty, and warming to the tummy.  I would even serve it to guests sometimes.   One time a friend exclaimed about this wonderful dish, wanting to know where the recipe came from.  My answer?  My mom.  And probably from her mom.  I think it was simply a frugal way to use leftovers.  But it sure was tasty.

Sometimes you have a day where you want comfort food.  This morning was one of those days.  As I was assembling, and then happily eating, my bowl of comfort I realized that I have changed the recipe.  Modified it to be more in line with my healthier eating habits.  But it was still just as comforting, warming and satisfying as it ever was.  Reflecting on this I realized that the concept of comfort food is a state of mind.  Yes it’s a comfort to the tummy and makes us feel good; but part of what makes us feel good is the memories associated with that food.  Changing the food doesn’t change the comfort level as long as the basic concepts are the same.

So I’m making an offer, what are your comfort foods?  What do you eat when you feel the need for that emotional lift?  Share the recipe and the concept below.  If you’d like (and please ask below) I’m happy to make suggestions to help boost the nutrition or health factor while still helping you get that bowl or plate of comfort you are after.  Eating well to be well doesn’t mean we can’t still have comfort.

Muffins

Musings On Leftovers

Today’s blog entry is a guest post written by my Aunt Carol (and yes that’s capitolized because I think she’s “just capital”). She’d sent these musings to me as an email but I loved it so much I wanted to share her thoughts with all of you. With her permission here they are:

Your article on sequential eating is an affirmation of the way that I’ve been cooking all my adult life.

Mystery Dinners

When our children were small I used to save the empty trays from tv dinners, putting leftover entree portions in the main compartments, add some frozen vegetables, half a baked potato, leftover pie filling in the dessert compartment, etc. I would serially fill the various compartments when I’d have the appropriate leftovers. Then cover each tray with aluminum foil* – I did not mark what was inside, who had the time for nice details like that? 🙂 When Yosef and I went out to dinner, our kids had the treat of choosing a “mystery tray” – a wholesome form of gambling (but pretty safe because they were meals that they already liked anyway) and each one would be getting something different. The babysitter would heat them up and our kids had exciting meals, telling us the next morning what each one had had (I never heard about trades, though that might have been possible).

I imagine that like you, most of your readers, still having one or more children living at home, prepare meals for families. As an older widow with occasional guests, I often freeze part of the cooked ingredients for a recipe before assembling let’s say half of the total recipe, I also freeze individual portions of stews or soups, or what will in future be pot pies or Shephard’s pies, so that they’ll be ready for the crust or mashed potato topping when I am making those things for other meals.

Quiche

The dishes that I do not like to freeze and defrost later are quiches (they get soggy and the vegetables get too soft when frozen, defrosted then reheated). I make mine crustless, just rubbing a bit of butter around the bottom of the round flat pan, to grease it, sprinkling on a layer of bread or toast crumbs before adding the sauteed vegetables, grated cheese, and then the custard. I try to plan to first serve this entree when I have guests coming over. However since this is an easy and favorite dish with me, I sometimes grate different kinds of cheese (another good use for leftovers) on different portions. I usually cut my quiche into wedges and may decide that half will be cheddar, and half Swiss, etc. I change the side dishes during the subsequent days — a baked potato, reheated grain with spices, or different salads. This makes for a tasty variety and is an easy way to use up leftovers.

Sharing Leftovers

What is even more delightful is that I have a friend to whom I often give a portion or two of something tasty that I have prepared; she does the same with me. This way we both have more variety in our meals. What I give to her often becomes a treat for lunch at home, before she leaves to teach at the university; what she gives to me becomes a delicious, surprise dinner. As you can anticipate–we also share many recipes, enjoying one an other’s tastes in food and both being whole grain, organic food enthusiasts. Many people think of inviting friends over for a meal, but sharing dishes to be eaten at home is also a generous, friendly gesture and fits well into the full life of commitments that many of us choose these days. It does not replace sharing sit down meals with guests, it’s rather a personal-catering-with-love, service.

I want to explain that it’s not a one-on-one direct exchange–I give her A so she gives me B. Rather when, for example I baked muffins (and I’d been explaining to her son the difference between cupcakes which are a new treat to most Israelis – a few enterprising women have even opened successful delivery of home-baked cupcakes for special events services- and muffins), I saved and froze a few of my last batch of corn muffins that contain niblets. Then when I baked oat-berry muffins with raisins and maple syrup, I packaged up a few of each, along with a baked apple and some chestnuts and gave them to her when we next met.

A few days later when we again met she brought me a wedge of a delicious cake she’d baked that contained chunks of apple and some grapes in the batter and gave me a jar of her homemade granola – which I plan to sprinkle on a sliced banana, top with yogurt then enjoy for breakfast.

Savoring the cake with a cup of tea, enjoying this breakfast gift, these are, to me, like little hugs.

I found the part about cupcakes and muffins interesting. Who knew that there were people who didn’t know about cupcakes?  And I love muffins. They’re actually one of my favorite ways to use up leftover food items; I’m a fan of both savory and sweet muffins. The most genius way ever to make muffins is using Amy Dacyzyn, The Tightwad Gazette’s, amazing recipe

Basic Muffin Recipe
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 to 2-1/2 cups grain
  2. 1 cup milk (or other liquid)
  3. Up to 1/4 cup fat
  4. 1 egg
  5. Up to 1/2 cup sweetener
  6. 2 tsp. baking powder
  7. 1/2 tsp. salt
  8. Up to 1-1/2 cups additions
Instructions
  1. Grain: Use 2 to 2-1/2 cups of white flour.
  2. Or substitute oatmeal, cornmeal, whole-wheat flour, rye flour, or flake cereal for 1 cup of the white flour.
  3. Or substitute 1 cup leftover cooked oatmeal, rice, or cornmeal for 1/2 cup of the white flour and decrease liquid to 1/2 cup.
  4. Milk: Use 1 cup. Or substitute buttermilk or sour milk (add a tablespoon of vinegar to 1 cup milk).
  5. Or substitute fruit juice for part or all of the milk.
  6. Fat: Use 1/4 cup vegetable oil or 4 Tsp. melted butter or margarine.
  7. Or substitute almond for part or all of the fat.
  8. The fat can be reduced or omitted with fair results if using a wet addition.
  9. Egg: Use 1 egg. Or substitute 1 heaping T. of ground flaxseed and 1 T. of water.
  10. If using a cooked grain, separate the egg, add the yolk to the batter, beat the white until stiff, and fold into the batter.
  11. Sweetener: Use between 2 Tsp. and 1/2 cup sugar.
  12. Or substitute up to 3/4 cup brown sugar.
  13. Or substitute up to 1/2 cup honey or molasses, and decrease milk to 3/4 cup.
  14. Baking Powder: Use 2 tsp. If using whole or cooked grains or more than 1 cup of additions, increase to 3 tsp.
  15. If using buttermilk or sour milk, decrease to 1 tsp. and add 1/2 tsp. baking soda.
  16. Salt: Use 1/2 tsp., or omit if you have a salt-restricted diet.
  17. The following ingredients are optional.
  18. Additions can be used in any combination, up to 1-1/2 cups total.
  19. If using more than 1 cup of wet additions decrease the milk to 1/2 cup.
  20. Dry Additions: Nuts, sunflower seeds, raisins, coconut, etc.
  21. Moist Additions: Blueberries, chopped apple, freshly shredded zucchini, shredded carrot, etc.
  22. Wet Additions: Pumpkin puree, applesauce, mashed, cooked sweet potato, mashed banana, mashed cooked carrot, etc.
  23. If using 1/2 cup drained, canned fruit or thawed shredded zucchini, substitute the syrup or zucchini liquid for all or part of the milk.
  24. Spices: Use spices that complement the additions such as 1 tsp. cinnamon with 1/4 tsp. nutmeg or cloves.
  25. Try 2 tsp. grated orange or lemon peel.
  26. Jellies and Jam: Fill cups half full with a plain batter.
  27. Add 1 tsp. jam or jelly and top with 2 more Tsp. batter
  28. Non-sweet Combinations: Use only 2 Tsp. sugar and no fruit.
  29. Add combinations of the following: 1/2 cup shredded cheese, 2 Tsp. grated onion, 1/2 cup shredded zucchini, 2 Tsp. parmesan cheese.
The Ingredient Guru, Mira Dessy https://www.theingredientguru.com/
I love hearing these musing on ways to share food and ways to make our leftovers more interesting.  If you have ideas about that I’d love to hear them.

*These days we know that aluminum foil is not a great choice for food contact. It does happen to be, however, a great way to protect foods in the freezer. My suggestion is to put a layer of parchment paper or freezer paper on top of the food and then wrap it in aluminum foil.  Remove both the paper and the foil before reheating.

How to use Leftovers - Mira Dessy, The Ingredient Guru

Top Tips For Sequential Eating Or How To Use Leftovers

Although I am a fan of leftovers others in the house are less excited by the repetition of certain dishes. Being a big fan of not wasting food, and a new fan of Jonathan Bloom’s blog Wasted Food I try to look for creative ways to repackage if you will, the offerings at the dinner table.

One way to do this is to take a moment and plan your menu, seeing what can be re-created from what you have already made. Here are a couple of examples of planning meals so that you are using leftovers for the next meal. I should note, by the way, that my favorite method is to turn dinner foods into breakfast foods as it makes food prep in the morning – a typically hectic time – a little easier.
 
The best and easiest sequential plan is to roast a chicken.  Leftovers can be turned into a different dish, such as a pot pie. And the bones, of course, get turned into a delicious nourishing broth.
 
Making Tuscan Stew with polenta for dinner typically means there is leftover polenta. I take that polenta, pan fry it, top it with an over easy egg, top that with some homemade mushroom marinara and it becomes breakfast. Since polenta is made with stoneground, or fresh ground, corn meal, it’s a delicious way to add some fiber to your morning and help get you off to a good start. Pan frying the polenta gives a nice change to the texture and provides a tasty base to the egg and sauce. And in case you’re wondering, the Tuscan Stew by itself is delicious as leftovers and I typically have it for lunch the next day.
 
One of my favorite dinners is from my Fast Fun Freezer Meals. It’s sauteed sausage, onions, and peppers. The leftovers usually get turned into an omelet in the morning. Adding leftover veggies or dinner dishes into omelets, frittatas, or an egg scramble of some kind is a great way to utilize them. All the prep and cooking is done, which makes breakfast cooking a snap. 
 
For dinnertime leftover usage we can get creative by rummaging through the fridge. Soup and/or chili is a great way to incorporate a lot of little-bit leftovers. Adding fresh sauteed onions, a tasty broth or sauce, and making sure the spice combinations go together well (in the case of soup, curry does not pair well with Italian spice, I’m just saying…) you can hide almost anything. Add in a salad and it’s a whole new meal.
 
Last but not least is the shepherd’s pie trick; you can hide almost anything under that crust. Taking your leftovers, combining them with added vegetables, if needed, under a mashed potato or sweet potato crust which is then baked in the oven, you’ve got a new meal that doesn’t take a lot of time, saves money (because you’re not throwing out ingredients) and keeps everyone from getting bored with the same old leftovers.
 
Taking a few minutes to plan your meals will save you time and money while still allowing you to provide delicious and nutritious meals for your family.