Sunday, 10 February 2013

Last night's leftover lunch ideas!

After Christmas, I had a number of left over bits and bobs that I turned into dips and muffins to use up when I couldn't convince the family to have another plate of leftovers for breakfast, lunch
and dinner. I sort of opened the flood gates for ideas of what you can do with leftovers to make a new meal - that doesn't look like you are trying to get the family to eat leftovers.. again.

Here's some of my idea's...

Mixed Dip Lunch!
Lots and lots of small amounts of things can be turned into dips and eaten with toasted mountain bread slices. Cheap, quick and easy - and everyone seems to like it.

In this picture there is an olive tapnade made by putting olives from various jars into a blender with some nuts and whizzing up until they are smoothish.

A feta dip made in the blender, again with feta, fresh or roasted garlic and a splash of milk to make it creamy.

And a beetroot dip made with leftover veges from last nights roast mixed up with a bit yogurt (or sour cream) mashed up with a few Moroccan spices such as cumin, coriander and paprika.

Since I did this to use up our Christmas leftovers, it has become a bit of a regular Sunday afternoon ritual to whizz up some leftover bits and bobs and turn them into a dip for a snack (or lunch if there is enough) along with cracker biscuits, corn chips, fresh bread or toasted burrito/wrap/mountain bread cut into slices or triangles and popped into an oven for a few minutes to toast up. Yummmm!

Another and tasty way of using up leftovers is to make muffins. And the answer to "can you make carrot corn and mashed potato muffins?" is, Yes! I have a basic muffin recipe that I use and then add a cup of flavourings to it and adjust the liquid component to get it to the right consistency for cooking.

Basic muffin recipe:

2 cups of plain flour
3 teaspoons of baking powder
1/4 cup of sugar (yes, even in savoury muffins)

Sift into a bowl and add approx 1 cup of your leftovers. ( or dried/fresh fruit, cheese and grated zucchini, cooked pumpkin and feta, tomato and ham - you get the idea!)
Then add
1 egg
1/3 cup of oil

and up to 1 cup of milk to get a very thick, just combined batter - not a runny one, it should be lumpy and divide mixture into muffin tins. I often pop a  small bit of cheese on the top just cause its yum! Cook for about 20 mins or until risen and golden on the top. Leave in muffin tins for 5 minutes to cool and shrink before taking them out. Cut in half and top with butter or maybe sour cream and enjoy!

Fritters ae another great thing to do with leftover! Same sort of idea as above - just add your diced up leftovers to the batter mixture - cook and enjoy! Its a great way of making those leftovers extend to the whole family and really good for kids lunches. I sometimes make these fitters with a packet of 2 minute noodles (cooked ones) in them as well to give an interesting texture to them - but I never use that flavor sachet (what is in those tiny silver packets anyway!?)

You could also do a bit of a bubble and squeak thing and then roll it up in a pancake. Fry up the diced up leftovers and then roll into a pancake, maybe sprinkle a bit of cheese on the top and grill too if you are in the mood, and Voila! Lunch!

And the one I have just made for the first time was the Impossible Pie! My neighbour makes them all the time when I pop over for lunch - both sweet and savoury ones, but for some reason I thought they were too much trouble even though they tasted so good. I had a day off work yesterday and so I decided that I would give it a go. I had some leftover pork from dinner the night before along with mashed potato, orangy carrots and a couple of beans. It was easy and even though I thought I had made enough for the Husband to take some to work the next day - the whole lot was eaten! Give it a go - its was really good and really easy. I'm not sure anyone realised that it was the same meal as the night before in a different configuration!

Impossible Pie Recipe;

Mix 1 1/3 cups of flour into a bowl with 1 1/2 cups of milk. Bat in 3 eggs 2 table spoons of melted butter and a cup of grated cheese. This is your basic batter - although there are many variations on this on the net. Find one that suits your cooking style. Grease the pie dish with butter and then pour in the batter. Sprinkle your leftover meat and veges (yes, including mashed potato) into the batter and maybe top with a bit more grated cheese and/or breadcrumbs,again,depending on preference. Cook in an oven until golden and set at about 230 degrees.

I don't understand the process behind this pie but it does form a type of crust and you can cut it just like a pie or quiche! Its kinda funky and a great way to make those leftovers extend to the whole family to finish them up!

If you have any other great idea's for using up left overs - let me know - I'm keen to get the most out of each meal and stop throwing perfectly good food to the chooks - or into the compost if its been in the fridge for too long. Although, I don't think the chickens are!

Score card:
Green-ness: 5/5 for not wasting food!
Frugal-ness: 5/5 for getting one meal to extend and morph into another at no cost!
Time cost: As long as the meal would normally take - no extra time required!
Skill level: I reckon you could teach the kids to start making weekend lunches this way!
Fun-ness: Great fun to put another meal on the table and not have those leftovers lurking guiltily in the back of the fridge for weeks on end!

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