STOMACH AFFAIRS – MANAGING LEFTOVER FOODS
The festivities may have come and gone with a lot of toll on all – I mean persons and non humans. Often, we may not realize the burden the kitchen bears on a daily basis and much more, at a time like this. It seems worse when there are so much of leftover foods to contend with. There’s no point in spending your hard-earned money on food just to turn around and throw it away – so if you find yourself frequently discarding leftovers and food scraps, it’s time to be creative and start using them.
The economic realities of the moment compel the garbage bin and foods to remain arch enemies. Also, the conscience factor – would you be comfortable knowing that a lot of citizens walk about without food and you have excess for the bin? Anyway, it is this emotion that gave birth to this topic. A lot of food waste comes from our own kitchens. Some of this waste results from leftovers from meals that aren’t eaten, and some are created during preparation, such as vegetable peels. Any which way it goes, food waste is expensive.
At times, people may not want to throw their leftover foods away but because they don’t know how to manage them, they’re compelled to patronize the waste management agencies. However, it is possible to squeeze some nourishment out of leftovers if you know how to go about it. Here now, GistAgric comes with the needed assistance.
PLANNING FOR LEFTOVERS
If you create leftovers purposefully when you’re planning meals, then you will anticipate what the extras can become and you begin to consider how to apply them. You can take these initial steps:
*Store leftovers smartly.
* Donate leftovers
*Dedicate a leftovers night.
*Turn dinner into lunch.
*Think “ingredients,” not “leftovers.”
*Salvage stale bread.
*Stash vegetable scraps
With the charge #Don’t throw away#, it is good to consider these options:
*Donate Your Leftovers.
There must be someone or family who would have value for the leftover meal. You can donate to them. Even some homes ( prisons, orphanages, etc)
Make a Sandwich. …
*Cook Up Leftover Breakfast Frittatas. This come exciting in families as they are often unexpected.
*Give Leftovers to Party Guests.
*Bake a Ham and Egg Breakfast Casserole.
*Host a “Leftovers Night”. This is mostly difficult to achieve.
*Put a Spin on Your Favourite Mac and Cheese.
*Make Croutons or Bread Crumbs.
RECIPES & TIPS FROM LEFTOVERS
TIPS FOR USING LEFTOVERS
After hosting a party or a family dinner, you may likely have leftovers of roast chicken, potatoes, salad, rice, foofoo, soup, bits and pieces of foods that may not serve for a meal. So rather than put it in the fridge to grow fuzzy, you may decide to throw it away and be done with it. But since that food is still perfectly good, and can be put to good use, why not be innovative and think outside the box, make a meal for one person – or use them as ingredients in a different meal that can feed the whole family. So let’s go!
LEFTOVERS FOR LUNCH
*Regular home lunch
The simplest way to use up leftovers is to eat them for lunch. If it’s a weekend or if you work from home, it’s easy enough to reheat the leftover, be it chicken, rice, beans, plantain porridge, the potatoes, etc. Add some vegetables or hot spice to jazz it up, then see yourself enjoying a replay of the previous night’s dinner.
If you don’t want to eat the same thing two days in a row, simply save it for the next day.
*Brown bag lunch
If you have to go to work, these leftovers can still be the basis of a brown bag lunch – put each
item into a little reusable container to be reheated in the office microwave.
*A change in lunch
You can combine your leftovers with fresh ingredients to make a new dish, such as a salad or sandwich. For example:
*You could chop up the chicken leg and add it to the salad, along with some other veggies, to make a hearty chicken salad. ~The potatoes can be heated up with a little cheese on top to make a stuffed baked potato appetizer.
*Ķeep for a later date.
If the amount of leftovers is huge, You can give a portion to everyone in your family to take to work or school, or have one or two people spread it out over a few days. Or, if you don’t want to serve the same thing so many times in a row, you can just put the whole pot in the fridge and reheat it later in the week for a quick second dinner.
PUTTING THE FREEZER TO GOOD USE
If you think you’re not going to have a chance to finish your leftovers within a few days of preparation, you can transfer them to a freezer-safe container and store it in the freezer. It’s a good idea to label containers of leftovers with the contents and the date frozen – that way you can eat them while they’re still good. Different types of leftovers keep for as much as six months. Write the date and contents directly on the container or on a piece of masking tape attached to the top.
Here are good containers for freezing leftovers:
**Pyrex Bowls: They come with plastic lids and are great for freezing because they won’t develop stains or scratches after repeated uses. Better still, I describe them as dynamic as you can reheat the contents right in the container since they go from freezer to fridge to oven, and are also said to be microwave-safe.
**Mason Jars. These are ordinary glasqs mason jars used for freezing. Sometimes they may not be ideal because they can shatter if the contents expand in the freezer. However, to prevent this, leave extra space at the top of the container and freeze the jars with their lids off. Once the contents have frozen and expanded, secure the tops in place.
**Plastic Containers. These inexpensive containers don’t hold up as well as glass, but they’re convenient for short-term use. You can buy reusable Rubbermaid containers, or reuse deli dishes or containers from yogurt or whipped topping.
**Zip-Top Bags. Zip-top freezer bags can be used for just about anything, even liquids such as stew or soup. Just lay the filled bags out on a tray to make sure they freeze flat. Once they’re frozen solid, you can line them up in the freezer like books on a shelf.
**Freezer Wrap. Solid hunks of leftovers, such as breads and large cuts of meat, can simply be wrapped in foil, plastic, or waxed paper. This type of wrapping is nice and compact, so you don’t waste any freezer space. It also does a good job preventing freezer burn.
RECIPES FROM LEFTOVERS
Sometimes, you’re left with a hodgepodge of different items stored up in the fridge from various leftovers. For instance, you could have stir-fry and rice from Monday night, spaghetti and meatballs from Tuesday, ham and scalloped potatoes from Wednesday, beans and plantain on Thursday, yam and stew on Friday, voodoo and soup on Saturday and so on.
With all these come your leftover buffet for dinner: Place all the dishes on the counter and let family members take turns loading up their plates with whatever they like. Kids often love leftover night because it gives them a chance to choose their own meal.
You can even turn the leftover buffet into a party. Invite your neighbors to come over and bring their own leftovers, and set everything out together. That way everyone has more options to choose from – including some dishes they haven’t seen before.
*Universal Recipes for Leftovers
The most interesting thing to do with leftovers is being innovative and creative by redesigning leftover into a whole new meal. In fact, some people deliberately make extra when cooking so they’ll have leftovers to work with later on.
Universal recipes are flexible recipes that can work with just about any kind of protein, starch, and veggie ingredients. With these recipes, you can turn whatever you happen to have in your fridge into a quick meal.
The Universal Quiche
A quiche is a great way to use up any vegetables that have gone a bit limp or mushy. This dish is also very flexible – you can vary the amounts of egg and cheese quite a bit and still get good results.
1. rice crust
2. 1 1/2 cups leftover vegetables, chopped
3. 1 onion, chopped (optional)
4. 1/2 to 2 cups cheese (cheddar, Swiss, or any hard cheese), grated
5. 2 to 6 eggs
6. 1 cup milk, soy milk, yogurt, or vegetable broth mixed with dry milk powder
7. Salt and pepper
Place leftover veggies and grated cheese in the bottom of the pie shell. If you want to add more flavor to the quiche, you can quickly sauté an onion and combine it with the other veggies before adding it to the crust. Beat the eggs with the milk (or milk alternative) and add salt and pepper to taste. Pour this into the crust and bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, or until solid. If you don’t want to use a rich pastry crust for your quiche, you can make a lighter crust out of leftover rice. Blend 1 1/2 to 2 cups of rice with an egg and a bit of grated cheese, pat it into the bottom of your pie plate, and bake at 450 degrees until firm.
The Universal Frittata
This is a simpler alternative to quiche. It is a combination of veggies and eggs cooked on the stove top. You can make a frittata with almost any kind of raw or cooked leftover vegetables, including cooked potatoes.
1. 1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
2. 1 onion, chopped
3. 1 1/2 cups raw or cooked leftover vegetables, such as zucchini, peppers, spinach, green
beans, carrots, broccoli, corn, raw mushrooms, or cooked potatoes
4. 4 to 6 eggs, beaten
5. 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (plus an optional 2 tablespoons more)
6. Salt and pepper
7. Chopped fresh herbs such as basil, sage, parsley, rosemary, or thyme (optional)
*Heat the oil in a skillet. Sauté the onion until it softens (approximately five minutes).
*Add raw vegetables to the pan and cook them until they’re nearly tender. Then add any cooked
vegetables you’re using and cook them for just a minute or two to heat them through.
*Mix the vegetable mixture with your eggs in a bowl and stir in two tablespoons of grated
Parmesan cheese. Add herbs and salt and pepper to taste.
*Add a little more oil to the pan if necessary.
*Pour the egg and vegetable mixture back into the pan and spread it evenly. Cook over very low
heat until the eggs are firm – this should take about 15 to 20 minutes.
If you’re using an oven-proof skillet, you have the option of sprinkling the frittata with another
two tablespoons of Parmesan and heating it under the broiler for a minute or two to give it a
lightly browned top. When the frittata is done, loosen the edges with a knife and slide it out of
the skillet onto a plate.
The Universal Casserole
Another option is to concoct a casserole with any kind of protein, veggie, and starch ingredients. Because it uses whatever you have on hand, this casserole never comes out the same way twice. You could make a classic tuna-noodle casserole with peas, a chicken-rice casserole with mushrooms, or a tofu-potato casserole with cabbage. Nearly any combination you can think of can work in this dish.
1. 1 cup main ingredient: any protein-rich ingredient such as canned tuna or other seafood, tofu,
or cubed cooked chicken, turkey, or ham
2. 1 cup secondary ingredient: another ingredient with a contrasting texture, such as peas,
mushrooms, thinly sliced celery, or chopped hard-boiled eggs
3. 1 to 2 cups starchy ingredient: cooked noodles, cooked rice, or thinly sliced potatoes
4. 1 1/2 cups “binder”: canned cream soup, homemade white sauce, or sour cream
5. 1/4 cup “goodie” ingredient: any flavorful ingredient such as olives, pimentos, almonds, or
water chestnuts (optional)
6. Seasonings of your choice: salt, pepper, herbs, spices
7. Topping: bread crumbs, crushed potato chips, or cheese
*Combine your main ingredient, secondary ingredient, starchy ingredient, and binder in a bowl. If the resulting mixture is dry, you can add some milk or vegetable stock. Add seasonings to taste.
*Pour the mixture into a buttered casserole dish and sprinkle on the topping. Bake at 350
degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.
The Universal Stir-Fry
Whenever you have any kind of leftover raw vegetables – half a cabbage, a few stalks of celery, part of a green pepper – a stir-fry is the perfect way to use them up. It doesn’t matter what you have or how much of it there is – a stir-fry can accommodate anything.
The trick to a successful stir-fry is to add your vegetables in the right order, from the toughest to the most delicate. That way, everything comes out tender-crisp upon completion.
1. Vegetable or peanut oil
2. 1 or 2 eggs, beaten (optional)
3. Chopped onions and minced garlic (optional)
4. Group 1 vegetables: carrots, celery, cauliflower, eggplant, winter squash, thinly sliced
potatoes, thick asparagus spears
5. Group 2 vegetables: mushrooms, peppers, broccoli, summer squash, zucchini, thin asparagus
spears, canned water chestnuts, snow peas
6. Group 3 vegetables: scallions, bean sprouts, shredded cabbage, greens of any kind (such as
spinach or chard)
7. Cooked white rice
8. Soy sauce (optional)
*Heat a little bit of oil in a pan. If you are using the eggs, add them to the pan and cook over high
heat in a thin, pancake-like layer. When the egg becomes firm around the edges, flip it and cook
the other side. Remove the egg from the pan, slice it into thin strips, and set it aside.
*Add more oil to the pan, if needed, and start adding veggies, one group at a time. *Cook over
high heat, stirring almost constantly so that they cook evenly.
*If you are using onions and garlic, add them to the pan and cook them by themselves until
they begin to soften. Then add group 1 veggies and sauté until partially done. Add the group 2
veggies and cook until everything is very nearly done. *Finally, add the group 3 veggies and stir
them around for just a few seconds before turning off the heat.
*If you used eggs, add the egg strips to your stir-fry and mix them in.
Serve your stir-fry over rice with soy sauce on the side
The Universal Kabob
A good way to use leftover beef and other meats is the kabob which is comprised of meat and
veggies cooked together on a skewer.
1. Leftover meat cut into cubes
2. Bite-sized pieces of veggies: mushroom caps, green pepper strips, chunks of zucchini or
summer squash, quartered tomatoes or whole cherry tomatoes, sections of onion or whole
3. 1/4 cup inexpensive red wine
4. 1/4 cup olive oil
5. 1 garlic clove, minced
6. Seasonings to taste: salt, pepper, fresh or dried herbs
*Mix the red wine, olive oil, garlic, and seasonings to make a marinade.
* Pour it into a dish and add the meat cubes. Let them soak for several hours, stirring occasionally.
*String the meat cubes onto bamboo skewers, alternating with chunks of vegetables.
*Brush each completed skewer with marinade.
*Grill or broil the skewers, keeping them close to the heat source until the meat is brown and the
veggies are tender-crisp. Since the meat is already cooked, this should take a few minutes. If you
use a broiler, put a pan under the skewers to catch drips.
LOCAL NIGERIAN SOUPS
A times you may have bits of various Nigerian soups remaining. Some combinations come out exciting.
* Egusi combined with Okro/ogbono
* Egusi and bitter leaf
* Nsala (white soup) and vegetable soup
*Egusi with scent leaf.
Now that you’ve been educated on managing leftover foods, would you not be able to excite your family and importantly, save some money? Try some of these suggestions and remain grateful to GistAgrica