Lots of dishes taste just as good or better reheated the next day. Lasagna, for one, seems to hold its shape better when reheated. But there are many people who don’t like leftovers. I guarantee they will, though, if the leftovers are disguised in a delicious new dish. Here are a few ways to recycle leftover chicken, beef and bacon and eggs that your family or guests will not recognize the second time around.
Roasted Red Pepper and Chicken Quesadillas
2 cups leftover chicken, sliced thin into bite-sized pieces
½ cup mild salsa (or hotter, depending on your taste)
8 large flour tortillas
3 cups Colby Jack cheese, shredded
2/3 cup roasted sweet red peppers, finely chopped
½ cup cooking oil
Mix together chicken and salsa; cover and refrigerate. Mix cheese and chopped peppers; cover and refrigerate. When ready to cook, lay out each tortilla; on half of tortilla top with cheese mixture, then chicken mixture, then more of cheese mixture; fold over. Heat a small amount of oil in frying pan on medium heat. Place 2 tortillas in pan and cook about 5 minutes, or until browned on the bottom. Flip and cook until other side is browned. Be sure cheese has completely melted, then remove. Repeat with rest of tortillas. Place each quesadilla in a warm oven (200 degrees) as you cook them; cover with aluminum foil. Remove from oven when ready to serve and cut into slices. Arrange on a serving platter with additional salsa and sour cream.
Thai-Style Steak and Broccoli with Angel Hair Pasta
2 cups leftover steak or roast, sliced into thin bite-sized pieces
2 cups frozen broccoli florets
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, sliced thin
½ cup each red and green bell peppers, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons Pad Thai Sauce
1 can Campbell’s French Onion soup
8 oz. angel hair pasta, cooked al dente
Partially cook broccoli; drain and set aside. Using a large frying pan or wok, add oil, then onion; cook onion for 3 minutes on medium high heat; add peppers and continue cooking another 3 minutes. Add leftover steak and cook about 2 minutes, then add broccoli. Mix soup and Pad Thai Sauce; then add to meat mixture. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add pasta and toss well to incorporate sauce. (Serves 4-6)
If you don’t have Pad Thai Sauce on hand (which I always do – it goes well with chicken, shrimp and beef in many dishes), it can be ordered from: http://importfood.com/sapk1701.html. There are 2 or 3 different brands; my personal favorite is Mae Pranom brand. It’s thick and rich and has a slightly sweet taste. I use it to baste roasted chicken and for barbecuing or on kabobs. It’s a must-have in my kitchen.
Did you ever prepare bacon and eggs for breakfast and have leftovers? Here’s a great way to handle the extras. No specific amounts are given because you may only have enough leftovers at one time to make one or two tortillas. Just make them as you go according to what leftovers you have during the week and freeze them for later.
Southwestern Breakfast Burritos
Small flour tortillas (8-inch)
Leftover scrambled eggs
Leftover bacon, crumbled
Red and/or green pepper, small dice
Colby Jack or Jalapeno Jack cheese, grated
Place about 2 tablespoons of egg and a tablespoon of bacon on each tortilla. Add 2 teaspoons of peppers, 2 teaspoons of salsa, and 2 tablespoons of cheese. Wrap in aluminum foil and freeze.
When ready to prepare, place foil-wrapped burritos in preheated oven at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Or unwrap burrito from foil and enfold in a damp paper towel; place on a microwave-safe plate and cook in microwave on medium high for 2 minutes. Unwrap and let sit for 3-5 minutes (filling is hot), then serve.
Your friends and family won’t know they are eating leftovers, and you’ll feel better for not wasting food. These dishes only take a few minutes, but they’ll taste like you have been cooking for hours. Pretty soon you’ll be seeing leftovers in a new light!