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Leftover Tips and Ideas

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Leftovers? Here are some tips and suggestions for other ways to use leftovers ...

Meat stock / bouillon.
Whenever you cook chicken, save the scraps such as skin, tips of wings, the gizzard and any bones from the chicken which you may remove the breast bone is often removed in many dishes. Wash these and place them in a saucepan with whatever vegetable you may have in the refrigerator e.g. an onion, a carrot, a piece of celery, couple of bay leaves, fresh herbs from the garden such as rosemary, sage, or oregano. Place enough water in the saucepan to cover the meat, season it with salt and pepper, cover with a lid and simmer the meat for about 30 to 60 minutes. Strain the stock, place it in a small container, label it and freeze it. This can be done with other meats, scraps or bones from pork veal or beef. Once you are in the habit of doing this, it is not a chore, and it is very nice to have on hand for many dishes, particularly casserole dishes.

Herb Cubes.
If you do not have fresh herbs, you can use herb cubes. There are various combinations on the market e.g. parsley and dill, parsley and garlic, provencale, and basil and thyme. These herb cubes enhance the flavors of just about any leftover meats or vegetables. If you are concerned about reducing the fat in your diet, one of these cubes with rice or vegetables is wonderful. You can then eliminate the butter with a dash or two of olive oil or no fat whatever and still enjoy a good flavor. Left-over rice or just about any vegetable finds a new flavor with a herb cube. Be sure to chop up the herb cube and stir it through the food with a possible drop of water or drop of olive oil.

Leftover rice does not have to be thrown out. You can place this in a casserole dish, add a little water, a herb cube, cover it with foil and reheat it or use the microwave, but then cover with a microwave cover and not aluminum foil. Our favorite use of leftover rice is to make fried rice. You can use any combination of leftover vegetables, fresh herbs -especially coriander is delicious - and leftover meats cut in thin strips to make a good fried rice dish. Several dashes of Thai fish sauce brings out the flavors. The fish sauce is full of vitamins and enhances the flavors. Thai fish sauce does not taste like fish; it is like a soy sauce - it adds a little salt and "energy". To start with, you might try sprinkling no more than one teaspoon into the food you are preparing to see if you like the additional flavor.

When you make fried rice, try adding one or two fresh tomatoes. Remove the seeds from the tomatoes and chop them into good- sized pieces. Add them to the rice at the last minute, stir through and serve. By removing the seeds and adding the tomatoes at the last minute, the tomatoes do not become soggy and the seeds do not add unnecessary liquid to the rice. If you include strips or cubes of leftover meats to your rice, you have a whole meal which is nutritious, economical and tasty.

The same principles can be used for vegetables - either fresh or leftover. Add some fresh herbs and a dash of olive oil and reheat the vegetables until very hot, but do not cook again, or the vegetables will become too soft. If you have some shrimp, you can add them to the vegetables (or to fried rice). Sometimes a piece or two of fried bacon, or strips of ham, give the vegetables a renewed flavor. Again, you can add a little Thai fish sauce, or a little soy sauce to liven up the vegetables. Some freshly chopped coriander is very nice with cauliflower and broccoli.

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September 19, 2017

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