Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Learning to like Leftovers

I'm getting better. Of course, the creative part of me is almost (gasp!) enjoying leftovers. Not just as they are, of course, but completely reinvented in a completely new and exciting way. There was last weeks meatloaf turned into a really good soup. And last week's oven fried chicken turned into a hearty chicken stew later on. Even Andy's getting into the action by turning some leftover breaded pork chops into some of the best sandwiches he ever had. And we both feel good about not being so wasteful. What is interesting, is that I made up a meal list for the next two weeks. My basic formula right now is two nights of pasta, one night of soup, and one night of a sandwich. Everything else can change. This is helping keep cost way down. Pasta is pretty inexpensive. Soup I can make with leftovers, and sandwiches are quick, and can be used for lunches the next day as well. But my list is getting longer and longer as I move things further down the list to make way for a leftover reinvention. I keep meaning to make breakfast for dinner one of these nights, and it keeps getting pushed aside in favor of something else. Friday I am going grocery shopping for a few things, but my list should be quite small. Come back and see if I've stuck to my budget.

This past Sunday, I made one of Andy's favorite dinners, Sausage and Peppers. It was originally going to be a sandwich meal for company dinner. But then company canceled, so I decided to serve it over pasta. I used a Cooking Light recipe, which you can find on their website here. As usual though, there was plenty leftover, and I spent a day or two trying to figure out how to reinvent sausage and peppers. Then yesterday morning I was paging through the newest issue of Cooking Light and stumbled on a feature on hand pies. That was interesting. So I made up a batch of Savory Cornmeal-Whole Wheat Dough and turned the sausage and peppers into stuffed handpies. It worked very well. The dough was a little difficult to work with, but I suspect operator error, so I will give it a try another time. The kids ate them until they both encountered onions, and then set them aside. I need to do a better job of hiding those guys. I also turned one of the dough circles into a ham and cheese pie for Abigail's lunch, so we'll see if she eats it. Overall, they were quite good, and I anticipate using this hand-pie dough plenty of times to reinvent leftovers. One of these days I'll try the sweet dough too, but for now I'm very happy with the savory one.

On tap for tonight is another crock-pot full of country style ribs. The tricky part is apparently figuring out what's going to accompany. It's a good thing it's only 8:30 am and I have a few hours to figure that out. In the meantime, it looks like I have a rousing morning with trains planned for me. Happy Wednesday!


The Mom said...

Gee, we had pasties while we were up north a couple weeks ago! (That's pronounced with a short "a") and it brought back many memories... I've been thinking about trying some of my own ideas in them, the ones we had were on the dry side. Let me know if you get that crust perfected - it sounds yummy.

Andy said...

maybe some sweet potato/butternut squash fries to go with those ribs!!

Erika said...

That's exactly what I was thinking of Mom, was pasties. And this crust would be perfect for that. It had really good flavor and texture, and I thought it would be excellent with a beef stew filling. I just had a few problems working with the dough, but I think I didn't cut my butter small enough when I started with it.

Alas, Andy. Butternut squash fries sound great, but I ended up making some rice ahead of time and giving it a quick zap in the microwave.

Erika said...

Oh, and I know how to pronounce pasty silly.

Claire said...

I saw this recipe in CL and thought that the cream cheese dough looked really good.