Nobody likes letting their food go to waste, but sometimes, leftovers can be an unavoidable outcome. Whether you’ve made too much food for a party or you’ve simply overestimated your appetite for the day, it’s not too far fetched to say that leftovers are an inevitability in the kitchen. So, instead of being stuck with excess food that’s going to gradually expire, here are some inventive methods you can try at home to bring a fresh new life to your leftovers.
- Get more use out of stale bread
Bread is infamous for its relatively short shelf life of 5 to 7 days, but in actuality it still serves to be useful in the kitchen even when close to the expiration date. Leftover bread, especially those nearing expiry, can be toasted and then crumbled into breadcrumbs. These crumbs can be added onto meals like salads and casseroles to give them a crunchier texture. Breadcrumbs can also act as an excellent binder for meatloaf and stuffing recipes. Furthermore, you can use leftover bread as a makeshift “sponge” that soaks up excess moisture from cooked rice. By simply placing a slice on top of soggy rice (while inside of a covered rice cooker), all the excess moisture will be absorbed by the bread, leaving you with a perfectly firm serving of rice
- Give your chicken a second life!
Chicken is a bonafide household favorite, as it completes and complements a variety of dishes. A quick and easy way to finish up your surplus supply of chicken is to shred the meat and repurpose them for a multitude of new recipes. For gatherings and parties, you can easily create mini-chicken wraps that everyone can enjoy! Simply mix the shredded chicken with chopped tomatoes, onions, garlic, and lettuce, and place them in a warm tortilla wrap. Roll and fold the tortilla, and it’s ready to serve! You can even forgo the tortilla wrap altogether and use lettuce leaves Korean Samgyeopsal style!
Another tasty alternative you can do with leftover chicken is to create chicken stock. Place the remaining meat and bones in a covered pot filled with water, along with an assortment of aromatics of your choice such as salt, onions, carrots, celery, and peppercorn. Bring the whole thing to a boil at a high temperature, and once it starts boiling let it simmer for 3 to 4 hours while partially covered. Then strain everything with a mesh strainer or a cheesecloth, and remove the remaining chicken parts and vegetables from the broth. Keep the broth cool in the refrigerator for up to 4 days and you’ve got yourself a rich and flavorful stock perfect for infusing a deep savory flavor to your soups, braised vegetables, fried rice, and a plethora of other various dishes.
- Level up your leftover vegtables
Resorting to making another bowl of salad just to quickly rid yourself of all the leftover vegetables in your crisper and pantry can get boring fast. Luckily, with the right recipe you can transform ordinary vegetables into savory and mouth watering dishes. For instance, a simple yet effective way to have your kids eat their veggies in the morning is by making omelettes stuffed with ham, cheese, and assorted vegetables like tomatoes and carrots! Another tasty and useful recipe anyone can learn is to create a vegetable stir fry! And the best thing about it is that you can make use of the ingredients we’ve mentioned above. Simply fry up some leftover chicken breasts with some broccoli, string beans, and red bell peppers in cooking oil for 5 to 7 minutes. Add soy sauce, garlic powder and a generous sprinkle of delicious breadcrumbs made from toasted bread and you’ve got yourself a scrumptious and healthy meal made purely out of leftover ingredients! With a bit of ingenuity and creativity, truly delicious creations can come from anywhere! After all, a fancy kitchen with expensive tools isn't what makes a great chef, but resourcefulness, curiosity, and the willingness to just create and innovate!