Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Use It - Don't Lose it: Loving the Leftovers

So call me weird, but I get a sense of satisfaction from using up leftovers, converting them into a tasty meal instead of letting them become science experiments in the back of the fridge, or tossing them in the compost bin. I hate to see good food wasted, food that cost good money or time. My meals are usually planned around what needs using the most in the fridge or garden. In this way there are no Science experiments in the fridge, the turnover is too rapid.

This weekend we catered for 100 people and had a lot of leftover rolls, potato salad, coleslaw, tuna salad, green salad, dessert and sauces. How does Elastic Mom tackle this problem, you may ask?

Well, firstly I shared out some of the rolls, cheese, potato salad and coleslaw with the farm families. I froze the rest of the fruit crumbles, sauces, rolls and cheese for using at a later stage. We ate salad with the next few meals too.

We couldn't eat the salads fast enough, so I was contemplating what to do. Then I had a brainwave: I tossed potato salad with tuna salad (lettuce and all), stirred in 3 beaten eggs and spread the mixture in a casserole dish. Topped with grated cheese, it was popped in a medium oven and baked. The end result was the best potato bake that I have ever made. It was creamy and delicious.

I made a hot lettuce soup (Ina Paarman's recipe) for lunch yesterday from the half the wilted lettuce, onions and cucumber and some chicken stock and milk. I just couldn't toss out 8 litres of lettuce salad. The soup was ok, but not that exciting, so I gave the chickens the rest of the lettuce. If we had had any more coleslaw, it  could have been used in a winter vegetable-style soup too.

Tomatoes are precious around here, considering my summer tomato crop was a failure, so I picked over the green salad, removing all the tomato wedges, olives and feta.

Last night, for supper, I turned one leftover cooked steak, a bowl of tomato wedges and a handful of olives rescued from the green salad into a very tasty toast topping. I sliced up the steak and fried it in a pan with the tomatoes,  garlic, some horseradish sauce, some monkey gland sauce, a splash of gluhwein, and with the olives tossed in, it was lip-smackingly delicious. Decadent Dad yom-chomped his way through the meal.

In all the busyness of preparing for the catering, my fridge got a little too cold in the bottom drawer and froze up the last few precious cucumbers from our garden, and some green peppers too. This evening I made a ratatouille from the rest of the salad-rescued tomatoes, the half-frozen cucumber and green peppers, some garden-fresh brinjals and one of Decadent Dad's salami-style sausages that is half cured, not ready for eating raw, but tasty sliced up for cooking. I tossed in the last of the macaroni from the pantry and, voila, dinner. Delicious again.

Tomorrow, for lunch, I plan to make quick pizza  rolls
topped with the last of the ratatouille and olives, some peppers from the garden and our home-made feta rescued from the salad. I couldn't bear to toss those hours of hard work.

So there you have it... Elastic Mom... stretching those resources big time.


  1. and I am sure it was all delicious, used to love your leftover meals!

  2. I get a kick out of stretching meals out too. Always a challenge! Love the last picture of the beautiful flowers.

    1. Somehow I become more creative with my cooking when I have a leftover challenge.