Smidges & Titches – What to do with Leftovers

Little smidges and tiches cluttering the fridge and your cupboards – this is the ‘make it or break it’ category of food for the cook, where one might just have to get inventive and add, subtract, substitute, reinvent, and if all else fails, add a cream sauce, fry it, and/or call if by a French name!

Hash Browns from Left Over Potatoes
Hash Browns from Left Over Potatoes

There are so many meals that require ingredients that are already cooked or made in some way – why not use left overs as shortcuts for something marvelous? (I’m in the process of retagging my posts so that the recipes that depend on already cooked ingredients are at your fingertips…but I’m not done yet!)

This is how Grandma cooked, when people didn’t have recipes so much as processes. If you have a place to start, you can always look up a similar recipe and go for it, or you can check under Forgotten Arts for some of the basic instructions.

Remember food safety when working with any left over food. Here’s a few general guidelines, although some actions, obviously, are more critical than others. These rules are to eliminate risk – often these are things that one might get by with many hundreds of times – but it’s the one time that one doesn’t that changes habits.

  • All foods should be refrigerated or frozen within 2 hours after serving (one hour if it’s hot out), and reheated to 165 degrees. Sauces and gravies should be brought up to a boil before using.
  • Work with clean hands and counters. Do not take your leftovers and put them on dirty counter, or back in the same container.
  • Cool food rapidly in smaller containers. Leave the lid slightly ajar till cooled and then seal.
  • If food is contaminated, dispose of it in a well wrapped manner so other people or animals can’t eat it, or use the garbage disposal.

The drop down menu, above, or links below, will show ways to use specific ingredients, and I’m working on adding a tag for every item in my blog that either generates left overs or uses left overs, but here’s some of my favorite ways to use left overs:

  • Lunches, especially packaged to take to work (you may be able to freeze in small, labeled containers, depending on what the meal is – that way you can mix up when you eat the leftovers and not be concerned about eating the same thing all week.)  Sometimes, I portion out as I’m serving, which has the added benefit of assuring no one is ‘overeating;’ hopefully they are then filling up on the veggies and salads served with the meal, as well.
  • “Smorgasborg” night – A once a week (usually Friday to clear out the fridge for the weekend shopping) everyone in the family is able to pick and choose their favorites from the previous week’s meals, or odds and ends are thrown together to ‘make’ something.

Here are some pages that have leftovers sorted by categories with ideas…

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