Leftovers are such a pain – especially when it’s that last bit of peas or last partial serving of pork nobody wants. Not enough to toss but everyone is sated and happy – and they don’t care for another bite. My frugal streak gets all bent out of shape when I try to throw these bits away. Here’s how I keep them from languishing in my fridge and growing fur.
This sounds terrible, I know. But it’s really not. You make a base with some oil of some sort (we like butter, olive or avocado oil) and some onions. Cook until caramelized. Toss in some root or raw veggies you have, like turnips, potato, or carrots and celery. (You know, the ones that will take a little while longer to cook.) Add a can of diced or stewed tomatoes, (or fresh) and after letting it all simmer for a bit, add some stock or broth. (We like chicken soup base + water in this house) Season however you like; basil, seasoning salt, pepper, bay leaf, cumin, paprika – really, whatever you like – add it. At this point, I’ll add any leafy stuff like spinach or cabbage, followed by the leftovers. Meat bits of all kinds, even if they’ve been doused in sauce, any and all cooked veggies, rice, noodles, pasta – whatever you have, into the pot. Bring to a boil then drop to a simmer for about 30 minutes and you’re done. If you really want to make it snazzy, add a bit of cream to the mix. Serve with a side of bread or salad and you have a fantastic meal in no time!
We do this during the winter months at least twice a month with some low carb biscuits that remind me of what Red Lobster serves. It is very easy to make the soup low carb by adding only the things you want in the soup. It’s great for those veggies that have been in the freezer too long or the ones that aren’t bad – but don’t look so hot. The best part – everyone eats it! I add fish crackers to the little guy’s soup and he thinks that’s the best.
I am not a huge soup fan, but when it comes to saving money, cleaning out the fridge and making a quick and easy meal, this one takes the cake. I wish I could take credit for the idea, but alas, but it was someone else’s idea first and there are a lot of food bloggers out there that agree with me. One of my favorite versions of this soup is by Michelle Tam’s from NomNomPaleo. You can find her iteration HERE. If you read the comments over there, you can get even more ideas for this soup!
Crustless Garbage Frittata
This dish paired with a salad, half an avocado, or a creamed veggie side is a treat.
Grease a pie dish, whip some eggs, add in your leftovers and a bit of cheese, choose some spices – mix till combined and dump into pie dish. Bake for a while and BOOM! – you have a very tasty dinner. Talk about easy! Even without a side if you top it with sour cream, salsa – or more cheese, it’ll fill you up. Ham is particularly delicious in this along with chunks or cream cheese or strong cheeses like blue.I love making a “Jalapeno Popper” version of this with diced jalapenos, cheddar, and cream cheese mixed in. Sooo yummy! A good starter recipe to follow can be found on Bonappetit (HERE is a link to it) but even this allows for wiggle room. Your veggies do not need to roasted (just cooked) and your herbs do not need to be fresh – dried will do just fine.
I hope these two recipes help out the next time you have a lot of “nothing” to make a meal out of.