Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Repurposed Food

You can spend hours, yes hours, on Pinterest checking out "repurposed" ideas.  Using old doorknobs to hang your keys on, turning an old suitcase into a desk, making headboards out of old doors.  The list goes on and on.  But, you never see anyone talking about repurposing food.  And I get it.  The term generally applies to objects, most of the time found objects that can be given new life.  But, since I think about cooking and food pretty much all the time, I find myself thinking about "repurposing" food.

You see, I hate leftovers.  Always have.  The only food, in my opinion, that is worth eating as a leftover is Chinese food, pizza or my Aunt Jennie's sweet potatoes.  Everything else just sits in the fridge hoping that my husband will come along and gobble it up before it finally gets thrown out.  You're probably asking yourself "Why bother putting the leftovers in the fridge if you know you won't eat them?"  Well, it's really really hard for me to just throw away something, anything, that I know is good and useful.  Consequently, when I was single, I'd amass a pretty good collection of unwanted leftovers that would stare back at me until it was finally time for them to take up residence in the trash can.  But then I found Neil.  He loves leftovers! He's a "chronological" eater too.  He keeps track of what went in the fridge when and he finished them off accordingly.  It's a great system really.

However, over the last couple of years, I find myself trying to be more responsible when it comes to the leftovers.  I still can't bring myself to want a plate of heated up old stuff, but aha! I realized that I can turn them into something else and then everybody wins! Repurpose it into something completely new.  

This brings us to tonight's dinner.  Pork & veggie spring rolls and beef with broccoli over jasmine rice.  A few days ago, I made caramel apple pork chops.  The chops were huge, so we ended up with a lot leftover.  I just scraped off the apples and sweet sauce then finely minced the meat.  This morning I created the spring roll filling using shredded cabbage, julienned carrots, bean sprouts and sliced bamboo shoots, mixed with the minced pork.  Viola!  

Stir-frying cabbage, carrot, bamboo shoots & bean sprouts
Assembly: got these awesome spring rolls skins at the Chef'Store!
Ready to be fried

Yesterday was my husband's birthday, so we had steaks.  Again, I had more than we needed, so I took the leftover steak, sliced it thinly and will use it in a beef with broccoli recipe from my trusty Chinese cookbook.  I am so excited about dinner I can hardly stand it!  And better yet, there are no leftovers sitting in the fridge giving me the stink-eye every time I open the door!  Repurposing again.

All ready for the wok
I love the sight of bright green broccoli


Added in some bamboo shoots as well

Beef with broccoli & pork/veggie spring roll
I don't pretend to be the first or only person to do this with leftovers. I'm just happy that I've become pretty darn good at it.  I find my creativity kicking into gear any time we have leftover food and I'm likin' it.  And when you stop to think about how inexpensively you can end up feeding yourself and your family, the numbers are almost staggering.  Now that I'm a committed and addicted coupon-a-holic, this means so much more.  If you are an anti-leftover person like me, think about how you can do something with the food instead of enduring the guilt that those leftovers can inflict when they stare back at you all weepy-eyed in that harsh fridge light.  :-)

1 comment:

  1. This is awesome Elizabeth. He have the same issues in our house with eating leftovers; however, you have mastered the skill of repurposing your food and we are just starting. Thanks for this great post!



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