I finally bit the bullet and tried my hand at a frittata. Try one was decent in terms of flavor, but I got the timing wrong and made the bottom look pretty torn up. Try number two came out nearly perfect both in flavor and appearance. I'd say it has been one of the easier dishes I have tried in recent years.
My success got me thinking, though. Why is it that so many times we are going out of our way to buy endless special ingredients for recipes like this? It is really a better vehicle for using up leftovers. A bit of ham left from the night before, some cheese you didn't grate into the pasta. An errant handful of vegetables that you didn't need for that special dish you tried yesterday.
In my family, we make a point of doing a lot of stir fry for this reason. It lets us burn up whatever is on hand and turn it into something delicious every time. If you have on-site egg production, a frittata seems like a perfect way to get the most out of that production and out of your leftovers. Other examples (including the previously mentioned stir fry of course) include soups, fried rice, quiche, and hash. Those who make a lot of fresh bread, like I do, will find that french toast and bread pudding are ideal ways to use every scrap of bread, even if the family doesn't happen to be eating it as quickly as you are making it.
I thought I would start this post to see what sorts of ways people are using their leftovers and what sort of creative dishes you have to make sure to get the most out of your production. I am thinking that there is a general pattern to most leftover dishes that are the most useful. They either ignore specific ingredients in favor of ratios and/or they lean heavily on the abundance of a single component. Too many specifics to the recipe and the chances of having everything on hand goes down.
So what about yourselves? What ways are you bringing new life to your leftovers?
I don't often have leftovers, but since I grow my own food, I often only have small amounts to harvest at times. Things like.......6 snap peas, one tomato, one small pepper, one beet, 3 radishes. At the beginning and end of a crop, sometimes it's only 1 or 2 of something. So I've had to get creative in the kitchen.
Frittata or quiche is a great way to use little amounts of things. Soups, stews, casseroles, and stir fries are others. Homemade pizza can get very interesting with the toppings. My spaghetti sauce has been know to contain all sorts of odds and ends.
It's never too late to start! I retired to homestead on the slopes of Mauna Loa, an active volcano. I relate snippets of my endeavor on my blog : www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com
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