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SweetSilver 09-21-2012 07:29 PM

Update on post #11 (give me a minute!)




Tonight I made on of my favorite fridge-clearing dishes I think I've ever made.  If I factor in the number of ingredients it used up, I would consider this the best ever.


So, I got to thinking, what have you created out of bits-and-bobs from the fridge/freezer/pantry that wowed the crowds and begs for a repeat (if you ever would have written a recipe down--oh well!)


Bonus points (self awarded, so feel free to be generous!) for the proportion of ingredients that were used up.  


Here's my offering:


Smoked salmon and cucumber salad:


Mix in yummy proportions:


Smoked salmon (NW style, not lox)-- didn't quite use up all this

Cucumbers (if overgrown, scoop out seeds which I feed to the chickens)-- used up!

Grated carrots--last 2!

Homemade honey mustard dressing--gone!

Tamari glaze--from glazed eggplant 2 weeks ago--gone!


Even though it was far from being used up, we sprinkled some gomasio (salt+toasted sesame) that nobody wants to ever use.  


Bon Apetit!

*LoveBugMama* 09-23-2012 01:34 AM

Oooh, sounds yum! yummy.gif


I don`t think I have any new, exiting use-it-all-up-recipes... What I usually do with leftovers is make fried rice. Boring, but very tasty. Leftover meat, veggies etc. in a pan with either leftover rice or newboiled rice. Some butter and whatever spices I like, and voila!


I hope this thread gets really long! thumb.gif

sundaya 09-23-2012 05:59 AM

You've inspired me.

The only thing I've made recently was a crust-less quiche

6 eggs

goodly splotch of cream that was on it's last legs, as well as a splotch of questionable sour cream(no mold, though!).

cut up leftover pork from pork chops

last half of a bag of spinach, fried up with 2 end pieces of tomato, and the getting-soggy second half of an onion

dill havarti cheese from tj's that no one liked, and was a smidge over it's use by date. I grated it all (about 8 oz) put half on the quiche, and the other half in the freezer for later.

Turned out surprisingly yummy.

Quiches and soups are my go-to use up strategy, and since we no longer do wheat, the crusts have fallen off the quiches :) I used to also do pizza- everything veggie like in the food processor mixed with the tomato sauce, or as toppings on it. I need a good gluten-free pizza crust recipe, but I really miss my yummy crust.

Don't know why, but I've never thought of doing fried rice....another one to add to my arsenal-yay!!

And I am nowhere near creative enough to come up with anything like as salmon and cucumber salad- props to you Sweetsilver!

mumkimum 09-23-2012 06:49 AM

Well, more of a to-make plan for tonight, but I'm contemplating making sour-cream-enchilada baked potatoes - as we have half a container of enchilada sauce, 1-2 cups of sour-cream enchilada filling leftover from last night (didn't have enough corn tortillas to use it up).  I have a bunch of potatoes, so I'll bake some and we'll top/fill them up.  Plus sprinkle or slice a bunch of tomatoes to go along with it (too many of those too).  Even better, I think I'll cook the rest of our spinach in the fridge, and put on my own potato.

SweetSilver 09-23-2012 07:43 AM

LoveBugMama, I *love* fried rice for leftovers--not boring in the least.  It was my go-to until I realized that rice was giving me a moderate allergic reaction.  We kept a bottle of fish sauce in the cupboard just for it.


mumkimum, that potato dish sounds delicious!

MadelinesMama 09-23-2012 07:57 AM

Last night was personal pizzas..


Left over flatbread used as crust.

The end of some spaghetti sauce that's been living in the fridge for a week for the sauce.

Olives from the pantry.

Part of a sad bell pepper that is on it's last leg.

The remnants of several types of cheeses that were open.


It was actually pretty good!

erigeron 09-23-2012 09:52 AM

I usually just do goulash. Can of beans, can of tomatoes, pasta of some sort (usually there's some leftover in the fridge), and whatever random stuff we happen to have, and some spices.

Ragana 09-23-2012 04:52 PM

I used to do crockpot "Mexican" casserole before DH started having trouble with dairy. Basically, I just layered corn tortillas (doesn't matter if they're a little stale) and beans in the crockpot with a mixture of leftover cheese/sour cream/cream cheese and whatever salsa/Mexican-type sauces were left over in various jars, plus sometimes corn. You could also add leftover green onions, onions, garlic, taco seasoning, etc. Cook in crockpot until the whole thing is bubbly.

PS SweetSilver, you are lucky! There is no way there would be smoked salmon of any kind left over in this house. Yum!

Kate&Joey 09-24-2012 11:46 AM

Saturday night was one of those weird nights where DH didn't want dinner, but I was starving.  I cooked that annoying 1/4 lb of leftover pasta (why do pasta recipes call for 3/4 lb instead of a full lb ???), threw in some frozen peas that were past their prime, drained and tossed with a smidgen of leftover cream cheese that wasn't enough for anything useful.  Flavored it with salt, garlic pepper, and grated parmesan.  Pretty good!

sundaya 09-24-2012 12:47 PM

I'm loving this thread. Great ideas all!

I made mayo today. The recipe I use calls for 3 egg yolks, and sometimes I've done it with 2 eggs, but it works out yummiest and thickest with more yolk than white. But, then, there are the whites left over, which no one particularly likes, and more often than not have gotten thrown out after a week or so....So, today, I made mayo with 2 yolks and 1 whole egg, and used the 2 remaining egg whites to make meringues!! I know this wasn't earthshattering, but I was kinda patting myself on the back a bit.

SweetSilver 10-03-2012 06:32 PM

I've been having fun with this thread, but something has been lacking.  I think it needs a bit of expansion to encompass the trials and triumphs of the Frugal Cook.  


Tonight I was making a chocolate cake for dh's birthday, one I've made a bazillion times both with wheat and with oat flour.  (if you are curious about the recipe, it is Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake, the one on the back of the cocoa box.)  And I forgot the sugar!!!   What could possibly be wrong with this cake????  Well, I figured it out.  I'd done this before, for dd's birthday and I promptly rebaked the entire cake from scratch.  This time I thought I'd be frugal.  What could I do?  Simple syrup?  No, bread pudding.  I even had some Vanilla Soy half-and-half dd didn't like because it was brown, and I used that for the "cream" in the egg mix.  Not much hope going in the oven--this cake looked seriously rubbery.  Baked up all right.  Hid the ugliness of it with powdered sugar.  But I cant taste it because of the oats and the eggs.


So, will it bomb?  


I've thrown my culinary Hail Mary pass and am crossing my fingers!  I'll let you know if it was magnificent or a colossal waste of money and time......

SweetSilver 10-03-2012 06:49 PM



(Shrug)  "...yeah... it's good!  You've made better...  the textures kind of funny...."


    idea.gif  Hm.


So, saved the chocolate cake, but let's hope I never forget the sugar again!

Basylica 10-04-2012 06:32 AM

I grew up where we had clean out the fridge nights and my mom isn't the worlds best cook to begin with.

She would buy cheapest whatever imaginable, even if it was barely edible. Seriously.... 14c for a box of mac and cheese which tastes like paste vs 20c for a edible version. wtf?

She also would do stuff like put 2lbs of ground beef (we got half a cow for free every year, so we ate beef/beef/beef and more beef) into a single box of hamburger helper and then added in extra egg noodles. So what you got was a ton of beef and noodles and almost no flavor. Bleecchhh....

mom just has no passion for food. she figures as long as it doesn't kill you...shut up and eat it. Course, she also eats ketchup sandwiches. bread...with ketchup. *gag*


Suffice it to say leftovers have been colored in my opinion. I hardly EVER eat leftovers. Kinda miss ex in that regard...he usually ate some of them.

There are a few things however I make specifically for the leftovers!

One of the big ones of course are stews. I make a beef/potato/carrot stew with garlic and onions and lots of red wine...yum. and another with beef and carrots simmered in guiness and served over mashed potatoes. Delish! stews actually taste better the longer they sit :)


My favorite however is "sloppy Corrans" which is what I call a sloppy joe made with turkey meat. My eldest corran was 2ish when I made it the first time and he was not all that thrilled. so I told him they were "sloppy corrans" to get him to eat them and it stuck! Whats funny is EVERY SINGLE TIME I make them both kids balk and whine and complain, until they eat them. then they polish off a full pound of the meat between the two of em! I kid you not!!


I throw browned turkey meat into a crock pot, add in liptons onion soup (I have a thing about texture and onion flavor is fine but the texture isn' I sieve the onions out. LOL) and a small can of tomato "sauce" the puree stuff, not spaghetti sauce, and usually a splash of red wine vinigar. Sometimes I throw in A1 or balsamic....just depends on my mood.

Cook on low ATLEAST 8hrs, more is better.


We eat sloppy corrans on night 1, then I'll reheat in sauce pan with cumin and chili powder and it's taco meat! then i'll add a few scoops to jarred spaghetti sauce and serve over pasta (meat sauce!), i've thinned it out with some extra sauce and topped english muffins with it along with cheese and even veggies for minipizza. But my favorite is to add a few spoonfuls to velveeta shells in cheese (or homemade velveeta...since box sizes don't work for 1 or 3 of us. Grr....and I can use up pasta. I'll cook up the little bits leftover from making pasta and have 3-4 different kinds. add cubed velveeta and a splash of milk and voila!) and love it.


I've been known to make the sloppy joe meat JUST so I can have it in the mac and cheese. teehee!

SweetSilver 10-04-2012 07:43 AM

Your story reminds me of the book "Tender at the Bone" by Gourmet's Ruth Reichl.  Her mother must have been the worst cook in the world.  Reichl remembers moldy food being served not only at family dinners but at dinner parties.  Once, when her mother was trying to clear out the fridge, she slipped apple pie into the soup along with everything else.


I'm going to remember Guinness next time I make beef soup.

Basylica 10-04-2012 08:08 AM

Yep, can't tell you how many times we had to pick mold off bread during dinner.

Also mom would buy bread when local store had it on sale for like 4/1.00 or something similar. she'd buy enough to fill entire back of station wagon and freeze it. first couple were "ehh" by the last few the bread would be so hard you could shingle with it...AFTER it was defrosted!



The guiness stew was REALLY good (I brought in some for my very broke coworker who has custody of his two kids and they LOVED it too!) but I imagine you'd need to atleast be ok with beer. it didn't really taste like booze IMHO....i've seen chocolate cakes made with guiness so it can't be too bad ;)

Basically I ended up with super tender beef that shredded apart, esp when reheating, and tender carrots swimming in a dark beefy gravy. next time I may add in a splash of cream or sour cream to try and replicate a guiness cream gravy I had at a irish pub in portland....but I LOVE brown gravys so it was good either way.

Spooned it over a plate of mashed potatoes and it was heaven in a bowl!

plus....the chef got the leftover beer! ;)


my reg beef stew i'd usually do 10oz or so of stock OR water if I didn't have any handy, and 6oz of tomato "sauce" (can labeled sauce but basically puree) and add enough wine to almost cover which i'd say is about ehh...10oz? so quite a lot, but not 100% of liquid. and I adjust the liquid when I pull it out to stir (I like it best in the dutch oven, plus I proof bread while its cooking) and i generally add water at that point.


the guiness stew tho, was 100% guiness for liquid and only those packets of beef flavor to enhance. no water or anything. I think I used just shy of 2 tall cans for I *think* 3lbs of meat.

philomom 10-04-2012 10:41 AM

I opened a can of lentils and used up a bunch of fridge stuff to make a spicy lentil soup for all of us the other night. Now that my picky eater is off a college, I can be creative with food

lentil beans, one can

three cups bone broth (finishing the last of a batch)

three baby carrots, slightly past prime

a cup of mild salsa, been in the fridge for weeks

small piece of onion, leftover from another creation

smidgen of mashed potatoes from dinner three nights ago

Two tiny peppers, kinda wilted

I flavored it with cumin and pepper, like a chili and served it with homemade biscuits. Yum.

eirual 10-05-2012 06:20 PM

Okay, maybe not the best "use-it-up" recipe, but super easy staples you can keep in the pantry and you can stretch it out to make A TON (I threw out our last portion that didn't make it in the freezer because we ended up with about 6 extra servings).


It's from my MIL, so I don't know if it's a "real" thing or what, but here it goes...surprisingly delicious for something so simple:


Chicken Tetrazzini

-cooked spagetti noodles (this is where you can really stretch it out)

-a chicken breast grilled and cubed

-a can of cream of chicken soup

-2/3 c of milk

-1/3 c parmesean cheese (plus a sprinkle on top)

-garlic, salt, and pepper to taste


Cover with foil, bake at ....350? for about 30 minutes.


I was thinking you could easily add broccoli, cauliflower or spinach too.

Bokonon 10-06-2012 01:26 PM

This wasn't a totally leftover meal, but for lunch I made a box of rice noodles (I bought a few from a couple of months ago), then tossed the noodles with sesame oil, tamari, and rice vinegar, and threw in some leftover chicken breasts that were cooked in tamari, plus some edamame.  DH asked for seconds!

mamarhu 10-07-2012 10:08 AM

Last night I made chicken soup with a fairly meaty leftover carcass, onions and carrots that were on their last legs, and the dregs of brown rice in the bottom of the canister. The only thing that made it unusual was the juice of 2 aging lemons I found at the last moment. Wow - what a difference! I am having it for breakfast right now!

Kate&Joey 10-11-2012 07:29 AM

I thought of this thread last night!  It was truly like a "Chopped" episode.  eat.gif


The mystery basket ingredients: a bunch of bedraggled (ugly) late season tomatoes from the garden; a half dozen peppers from MIL's garden (reminded me of Cubanelle peppers, but I'm not sure the actual variety); and about two cups of stale tortilla chips.


I pulverized the tomatoes and peppers in the Vitamix.  Added chile powder, cumin, salt/pepper, bit of sugar and cooked down to make an enchilada-like sauce.  I poached 2 chicken breasts in veggie broth, lime juice, cumin, and peppercorns.  Shredded the chicken.  Beat the tortilla chips into rubble and lined a baking dish with those.  Poured a bit of poaching liquid onto the chips.  Layered the shredded chicken on that and topped with tomato mixture.  Scooped some vegetarian refried beans (can lurking in pantry) on top of that.  More tomato sauce.  Topped with shredded cheese.  Bake.


Served with a dollop of sour cream.  DS gave it two thumbs up!  The tortilla chips turned into a masa-like consistency, which I didn't really expect.


So now I have that "concoction" for leftovers tonight.  But I also mixed together the leftover tomato sauce, poaching liquid, and couple spoonfuls of refried beans together...the resulting "soup" is almost better than the casserole creation!  thumb.gif

EarthyMamaofDaisy 11-04-2012 02:22 PM

I like to take leftover beans and veggies and turn them into chile.  It can easily be eaten over leftover rice or quinoa.  I do the fried rice with leftovers a lot too.  And if I'm on a kick where I'm eating eggs I will saute leftover veggies in with a few eggs for a fritatta.

Ragana 11-04-2012 04:11 PM

I have been making clean-the-fridge chili lately, too. Basically you saute an onion and some garlic, add canned or leftover tomatoes, the last of the salsa and pasta sauce left in various jars, various leftover beans including refried, and a bit of frozen corn, maybe some past-prime green/red/yellow peppers or a shriveled jalapeno, then season with chili powder, cumin and paprika (equal proportions) and S&P.

justmama 11-05-2012 06:48 AM

Wow, you guys are rockstars.  Here I was thinking I was all "hot-shot" because I took my middle daughter's pumpkin from school and peeled, cooked, and pureed it for pumpkin muffins and the freezer last night.  It was the first time I'd ever done it and it was a PITB but totally worth it for 6 1/2cups of free pumpkin puree.   But I feel a little lame after reading this thread.  I'll have to step up my game a little.thumb.gif

worthy 11-12-2012 06:40 PM


Originally Posted by Basylica View Post


Also mom would buy bread when local store had it on sale for like 4/1.00 or something similar. she'd buy enough to fill entire back of station wagon and freeze it. first couple were "ehh" by the last few the bread would be so hard you could shingle with it...AFTER it was defrosted!


We have french toast for dinner once every 1-2 weeks.  To use up the bread the kids decided was too old, too hard, too end-y, not their fave.  I have started tossing the bread dregs in the freezer and pulling them out the day of french toast.  Of course I make the french toast with water, not milk -- just eggs, water, cinnamon, vanilla, and maple syrup for the top (lucky for us, we live in maple syrup country.)


I make "rice-n-stuff" a lot -- same as fried rice but not fried.  I try to include a) some kind of meat, b) some kind of fat for flavor, c) some kind of green veg, d) tamari to even out the flavor.  Sometimes it has lots of different kinds of bits; sometimes it's just bacon and kale, or whatever. 


If a pot of leftover rice gets left out on the stove overnight, I boil it with water in the morning and turn it into rice pudding.  I figure the boiling kills any overnight germs.  Add a little vanilla, raisins, almonds, sweetener.  Yum.  Or cinnamon and chopped fresh apple (preferably the bruised one or the half that the kid didn't finish the day before, with the bite mark trimmed off.)


I make soup at least once a week.  It's like stone soup -- see what's in the fridge, see what leftovers can be tossed in.  This week we had a rotisserie chicken carcass left over from a potluck, so I boiled the heck out of it in my crockpot overnight to make stock, strained the broth and let the solids cool, and picked off enough chicken for the soup - maybe a cup, or 1-1/2 cups.  I added leftover pasta my kids didn't eat the night before, a couple of chopped shriveled carrots, a handful each of freezer green beans and corn (freezer-burned works fine in soup, too), and some chopped cabbage that was cut on some prior date for raw snacking -- my kids like raw cabbage, of all things.  Added seasoned salt and it was delicious.  We had half a chorizo sausage left from a prior meal and diced it and divvyed it between those who wanted to add a little "spicy" to their soup.  Yum.  Leftovers got eaten for lunch today.


I love making hash with leftover potatoes.  Also omelettes with any kind of leftover rolled into them (this is my current favorite breakfast).  We eat very little dairy; my kids eat almost none, but I will add some cheese on top of even the sort of dried-up weird leftovers and somehow the cheese makes it all better.  LOL.


When I make pancakes/waffles/muffins, whatever doesn't get eaten is made into bread pudding the next day.  My kids love bread pudding so they beg me to make muffins, LOL.  (I'm gluten-free so baked goods are an uncommon treat.)


I just put several plastic lidded containers inside the door of my kitchen freezer.  One is for ingredients that make a good tomato based soup (meat bits, leftover peas, the scrapings or swishings from the pasta sauce jar), one is for stock veggies (clean parings and trimmings, shriveled up whatevers that are dried out but not moldy), one is for the leftover squishy grapes that taste miraculously fine when frozen (my kids think these are a huge treat), and one is for "sweet" odds and ends that would be good baked in goods, granola add-ins, etc (like choppeds bits, dried fruit, etc).  I need another one for spicy stuff, like the swishings from the salsa jar, spicy sausage, diced pepperoni ends, etc.  Ooh, and I need another one for chopped abandoned fresh fruit for smoothies.  These are all for the bits and ends that would otherwise likely get tossed, and I do sometimes use plate scrapings in these containers; I figure they're going to get boiled or baked to death anyway (except for the grapes).

CookiePie 11-13-2012 09:07 AM

I make soup often to get rid of veggies that are on their way out.  I keep 2 zip-top bags in the freezer 1 with chicken bones the other with veggies ends & peelings.  When I have enough I make stock.  I like to keep them separate and roast them in the oven until browned & then add to stock pot with frozen veggie scraps, seasonings and a glug of vinegar.  I simmer either stock for several hours strain, for the venison I pick through for meat to add back to the stock.  The amount of meat left on the bones always surprises me.  My Dad had been wasting these bones for years & years until a hunter friend of his told a couple years ago, that he saves bones for soup.  Dad tried it & gave be some & we are both hooked on this soup and now he saves ALL usable bones!    

SweetSilver 11-25-2012 10:29 AM

Last night while I was cooking the obligatory turkey soup, we had a delicious dinner of baked potatoes with Thanksgiving gravy and broccoli stems (leftover from the broccoli dish I made.)




Can't wait for the soup!  While making the broth I tossed in the tail end of celery and onions from the fridge.  I threw in the skin along with the bones for flavor.  I'll skim off and save the extra fat off the top.

colemom 11-25-2012 10:58 AM

I always make turkey tetrazzini using this recipe as a base I saute garlic and onion in butter first and add broccoli for the last 15 minutes. The kids love it because it's creamy and cheesy and I love it because it uses 4 cups of turkey and 3 cups of turkey stock and broccoli :) It makes a lot so there are always leftovers for lunch or even another dinner.


I also will make turkey and wild rice soup and freeze the remaining stock in 3 cup bags to use for future soups or to cook rice in. We've been having turkey salad sandwiches for lunch on toasted wheat bread. I add chopped pecans and dried cranberries.

onlyzombiecat 11-27-2012 02:03 PM

I had the following to use up:

1 to 2 cups cooked turkey meat, cubed

maybe 1 to 1 1/2 cups homemade tomato soup left from this recipe-

about 1 cup beans, salsa and corn mixture left from this recipe (without any cream cheese added)-

1 can bean and bacon soup that I have had sitting in the cupboard for a long time

about 2 cups mashed potatoes

maybe 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


I mixed everything except the cheese and mashed potatoes together in a baking dish. Sprinkled cheese on top of that. Covered that with a layer of mashed potatoes. Sprinkled some paprika on top. Baked in 350F oven for 30 minutes.

I would say it made 6 servings.


Dh declared that it was the best leftover casserole thing that I've made in the last 13 years. Dd pretty much just ate the mashed potatoes and left the rest alone.

SweetSilver 11-27-2012 04:35 PM

Originally Posted by onlyzombiecat View Post


I mixed everything except the cheese and mashed potatoes together in a baking dish. Sprinkled cheese on top of that. Covered that with a layer of mashed potatoes. Sprinkled some paprika on top. Baked in 350F oven for 30 minutes.

I would say it made 6 servings.


Dh declared that it was the best leftover casserole thing that I've made in the last 13 years. Dd pretty much just ate the mashed potatoes and left the rest alone.

And I award you 1,000,000 points for that dish!


I love canned bean and bacon soup.

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