I consider myself the ‘Leftover Queen’. I can look into an empty fridge or freezer that is full of odds and ends, and within 30 minutes I can produce an amazing meal for 4-6 people. It’s my superpower and I am not shy to brag about it. But I have a secret weapon. The Red Apron.
At the end of each week my fridge and freezer are both full of quality leftovers. Those, plus a few key ingredients, and I can make magic. My pantry list includes the following:
- – a good quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar
- – lemons, limes and green onions
- – good local flour in the freezer (I keep Almanac Grains 00 durham flour in my freezer)
- – a bag of rice in the cupboard (basmati or jasmine are my go-to choices)
- – at least one ripe avocado
- – cheese (any kind)
- – bones (from chicken, beef, lamb from meals I have brought home)
- – fleur de sel & some fresh herbs
- – fresh eggs
- – not so fresh bread
- – corn flour tortillas in the freezer
- – one can of fire roasted tomatoes
- – one box of good quality pasta
If you open my fridge or cupboard on any given day, these are the things you will find. You would wonder – ‘does anyone live in this house’? I do have the benefit of living within walking distance of a few good grocery stores, and the Ottawa Farmer’s Market.
Often for breakfast I serve breakfast tacos. I scramble up some eggs, heat up any leftover rice and beans from the week, dig out my any leftover slaws or salsa from the week, shred some cheese and slice up the ripe avocado and give it a squirt of lime or lemon juice. I heat up my tortillas from the freezer (over the gas flame on my stove) and I have a very tasty breakfast. It works just as well for dinner with any leftover chicken, beef or pork.
My most recent infatuation is with fresh pasta, made using Almanac Grains 00 Durham, which paired with just about anything is delicious. A good quality boxed pasta does the trick too. You can take one can of fire roasted tomatoes, add any leftover vegetables you have from the week, and toss with some freshly boiled pasta and grated cheese (parmesan or cheddar) or crumbled feta or chèvre. This is an easy Friday night dinner. This example below uses leftover salmon, fresh kale from a salad that didn’t get eaten, and a can of diced tomatoes.
Eggs (Bekings) paired with pretty much any Red Apron Dinner leftovers, make a great omelette the next day, or stir fried with some plain rice, makes a delicious and nutritious dinner.
This past weekend I made the most amazing soup/stew. Our Thursday ‘Dinner in the Bag‘ featured chicken, on the bone, with mashed potatoes, gravy and vegetables. I had a lot of that meal leftover. I took the remaining meat off the bone. I put the bones and skin in a large saucepan and I browned them on medium high heat until they were good and crispy, with lots of brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan – ‘Flavour’ – as my Cordon Bleu Chef would say. If I had had an onion or leek, I would have chopped that up and added it in too. I deglazed with a little white wine (or white wine vinegar, hard cider, or cider vinegar) and added about 4 cups of water (or stock) and the remaining bits of gravy from the meal (I had one in the fridge and one in the freezer leftover from other Red Apron meals). I let that bubble on medium heat for 30 minutes.
Then I strained the ‘stock into the blender, and added with the remaining mashed potatoes and pureed until it was creamy. Meanwhile, I took the leftover chicken, and all the vegetables left over from the week (I had Brussels sprouts from Thursday, and arugula from Wednesday’s meal) and put them in my saucepan with a good dollop of butter, and cooked them on medium heat until warmed through. I poured back my ‘veloute‘ and seasoned with salt – et voila! A delicious, hearty and nutritious chicken stew. I served 3 people generously and it was made completely out of leftovers.