It is but natural that most of us despair over leftovers especially when there are a lot of them to be disposed off. By that I certainly don’t mean in the waste bin, for I firmly believe that the right place for food is our stomachs and not the bin. But after having gorged on a delicious chicken curry at the party the previous night, one doesn’t really look forward to eating it again the morning after. So what does one do? Well make something else equally delicious and enjoy that to the hilt. Using leftover food to create new meals is definitely recommended for it is a great way to save money and reduce waste. Wasting food is, according to me, blasphemous.
Now let’s explore what delicacies can be prepared with leftovers in a way that no one will even suspect that they are being served leftover food.
If there is leftover dal, just add some whole-wheat flour and knead into a dough and roll out super dal paranthe for a quick breakfast.
If there is leftover chicken curry, the next day you can reheat it till it becomes a little dry. Then make layers with cooked rice, sprinkle some fresh coriander and mint leaves, cook for a while under dum to make some jhatphat chicken biryani.
If there is mixed vegetable bhaji left, the next day, mash them up a bit while reheating and make toasted sandwiches. Your family will love you all the more for these crispy things.
If there is palak paneer leftover, make a delightful baked dish. All you need to do is spread it over a layer of rice, sprinkle some chopped onion and grated cheese on top and bake till the cheese melts. Yummmy....
If there is pasta leftover, add a little refined flour, some semolina, adjust salt and pepper powder, shape into small croquettes and deep fry to make a fantastic starter.
Just let your imagination work overtime, and I am sure you will be able to think of many more exciting things to prepare with leftovers. The fact that you can churn out some tasty things with leftovers will give you double satisfaction – you will get to eat some delicious things and also contentment that you have not wasted food.
How to store leftovers
Before we do that we should ensure that the leftovers are packed away carefully in the refrigerator so that they don’t get spoiled. So let us first discuss how the leftovers should be stored safely so that they can be enjoyed the next day or the day after in some other avatar. Do remember that it is very important to store them correctly in order to keep you and your family safe from any infection.
Wash your hands before handling leftovers. Refrigerate or freeze food at the earliest. Which means as soon as the party is over and you find that there is unused food to be taken care of. Ideally you should pack them into small, shallow containers with a well fitting cover because this helps the food chill quickly. This way you can heat just the amount you want the next day. Do reheat the leftover food thoroughly. No half way measures here.
How to reheat leftovers
You can reheat the food either in a microwave or put them straight into a hot saucepan and heat it well. If you are reheating sauces or a dish with gravy, bring them to a rolling boil. Cover the pan while the food is coming to a boil will ensure that the food remains moist and not become too dry and at the same time the food gets heated all through.
However, if you find the leftover food to be questionable, just throw it away. Leftover food should not be kept for more than four days anyways so if you find any food in your refrigerator which has been lying there for longer than that, please discard it.
Recipes For “Cooking-with-Leftovers”