So I was trying to decide what to make for dinner last night and I went into the fridge at home to look for inspiration…leftover meatballs…yummy grated Parmigiano-Reggiano…some ricotta…and in the very back, some fresh basil that was still, well, fresh! My family doesn’t really care for leftovers so it always has to at least LOOK like something entirely different. The goal with leftovers should be exactly that – something that looks entirely different than it did yesterday. So I mashed up those delicious all-beef meatballs, added a can of diced tomatoes with the juice and some of the fresh basil; then stacked that recycled ‘sauce’ with some no-cook lasagna noodles (yes, I admit, at home I LOVE them and Barilla is my favorite!), layered in more cheese than any humans have a right to eat (I realize that Italians would never make it that way, but for crying out loud – I’m an American!) and baked it all until golden & bubbly. Add in a green salad with a light vinaigrette made with just extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar, and loaf of bread with some good salted butter and you have a weeknight meal in no time!
Other recycling ideas for dinner tonight:
*Turn any leftover meat or fish into tacos. Heat some corn and flour tortillas, serve with grated cheese and shredded lettuce and for a side dish mix cooked white rice with salsa for an easy Spanish-style rice to make Taco Tuesday any day of the week. (Margarita’s are a must with this meal makeover!)
*Saute wild mushrooms in butter, season with salt & pepper. Add picked leftover rotisserie or roasted chicken with leftover cooked pasta, frozen peas and a touch of cream or half-and-half. Let simmer until heated through. Serve with green beans and salad.
*Slice leftover steak. Heat in a pan with a bit of oil, some frozen broccoli, chopped garlic, a touch of soy, a sprinkle of sugar, a squeeze of lime juice and some homemade or store bought chicken or vegetable stock. Tighten to desired consistency with cornstarch mixed with water (it should look like whole milk when properly done). Serve with brown rice for a quick Asian-inspired meal.
*REMEMBER – cooking has no rules. If you have a meal sitting around a table of friends and family, even if it’s just cold pizza, that’s all that matters.