17 November 2011

Stew fu: how to turn one-pot meals into multiple dinners

Amazon: Slow Cooker Revolution (America's Test Kitchen)Erin's technique for quelling leftover rebellion:

For fall dinners I've started making large batches of different stews (hurrah for the slow cooker)! The problem is that my family has started giving me The Look over endless leftovers.

[Respond to The Look with "would you like to cook dinner once a week?" -- Ed.]

Here's how I turn a one-pot meal into three dinners my family happily digs into: 

I started serving stew over whole wheat pasta with a little cheese, they think it's a completely different meal! Barilla makes great whole wheat mini shells that are indistinguishable from "normal" pasta.

Another stew fix: serve it over rice topped with a fried egg.

Oh! The whole "topped with a fried egg" is a new discovery for me as well! My new favorite: rice and beans topped with a fried egg, salsa, and avocado.

How do you reinvent leftovers?

Related: I want to love my Crock Pot. Talk amongst yourselves.

More: Leftover hacks

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Oh how I love leftovers with a fried egg on top.

I don't bother reinventing leftovers... i freeze them. when you get it out two weeks later on a busy night, it's just another meal they like, not the same thing they just had. Works great.

Slow cooker things (soups, stews, etc.) eventually find their way into tortillas at my house. Stew Burritos, anyone?

In our house we take the leftovers and make a pizza. That is, we toss whatever onto a Boboli pizza crust, hide it (err... cover it) with cheese and then pop it into the oven for 15 mins. Voila! Dinner is served.

another in favor of freezing small portions. i make chili one day and save the rest for a -really- bad or rainy day, chili cheese fries with red onions! or a dip. it's okay to have dip for dinner. ;)

This is what I do with left over meat--steak, pork etc. I bet you could do it with stew too if you don't use a ton of sauce. Make hand pies!

I take pie crust ( you can make your own or use the kind that come rolled up in the refrigerator case). You take the round of dough and cut it in half. Then I spread one half with grainy mustard, then put the cut up meat down, then some grated gruyere, then some onion confit (more on that in a minute). Paint the edge of the dough with egg wash and fold the flap over. Pinch it closed. Egg wash the top and cut some vents in the top. Then bake it at 350ish til it looks done. This is also a great way to stretch one and half-ish servings of meat into two.

Obviously you can vary this any way you like. Put in more vegetables, different condiments etc. You can also make the crust out of biscuit dough. I've used tube biscuits and crescent rolls before. But it's definitely a way we like to dress up left overs around here.

You can make delicious red onion confit easily by slicing a couple of red onions thinly and putting them in saucepan with a bunch of butter. Cook 'em down til they're looking sort of caramelized and then add several slugs of balsamic vinegar. Then cook 'em down some more. Now put them in a mason jar in your fridge. They're terrific on hamburgers and on pizzas. Or you can just eat them out of the jar...

HAND PIES! I WANT! What a great idea!

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