How many times have you found yourself with leftovers, dreading eating the same meal yet again? What if we tell you that with a little creativity, even with the same main ingredient, you never have to eat the same meal two days in a row? We bet we’ve got your attention now!
On numerous occasions, a roasted duck, chicken, beef roast and even plain rice get boring the moment you have to eat them more than once, no matter how tasty it was at the original meal. Leftovers, if merely reheated, are pretty much anticlimactic the next day. Just think about it. Would you be excited about the following conversation?
“What’s for dinner tonight?”
“Same thing we had last night!”
No matter how eager you sound when you respond, it will not be appetising. So add some more ingredients, and change things up so much so that no one will know that the lovely entrée salad they are taking seconds of was reinvented from the roast from last night’s dinner. Some people may have a problem with eating leftovers, but we practical and there is no need to throw away leftovers of a meal you spent good money and time on.You can spice up your regular menu by changing things up regularly. Another way to add variety to dishes you have cooked before is to add ‘a little extra’ to them.
For many busy cooks, leftovers are a lifesaver because they allow you to get more bang out of your kitchen time. Roasts are also great for a week’s worth of sandwiches that are free from the unhealthy nitrate and nitrite-filled processed sandwich or deli meats. However, while this is certainly more convenient, no one — child or adult — wants the exact same sandwich again for the week.
If you want to pack sandwiches, experiment with different herbs, veggies, condiments and breads everyday. Make at least two different protein roasts so that you can alternate between the two.
For a beef pot roast, you can pair with either basil, parsley, chives, onions, or green onions, and pair with mustard, horseradish, béarnaise sauce, with mushrooms, shredded carrots, peppers or orange on a few varieties of bread.
When you have leftover roast chicken, pair with basil, chives, coriander, dill, fennel, mint, parsley or tarragon, and match with barbecue sauce, béarnaise sauce, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, onions, salad greens and an assortment of breads.
Fish is very delicate and cannot take much fuss, as it will get dry and trashy, if overcooked, and this is likely to happen if re-heated. Ideally, you are better off eating seafood freshly cooked but if fate hands you extras, warm it up very gently on the stove or in a microwave. Warm up in little butter or ghee and some fresh herbs. Dill, fennel, leeks, lemon, coriander, cumin, curry, rosemary, tarragon and thyme are great with fish. Of course, you wouldn’t use them all. To avoid leftover cooked fish, it is best to make adequate portions. You can always cook more if needed.
Poultry is great for leftovers, especially if roasted. Roasts are versatile. If you made chicken curry, you are stuck with chicken curry, but if you made a roast, you are faced with more options than you can tire of. Experiment with other poultry like quails, turkey and duck because there is no reason to eat only chicken!
This is our all-time favourite way to reinvent leftovers in our kitchen. The easiest way to add finesse to poultry or meat leftovers is to make a stir-fry. Stir fries offer a quick way to make a delicious and healthy meal, and also feature veggies in their finest form since we cook them for shorter periods, preserving more of their nutrients than when cooked for long. With leftover rice, make fried rice with eggs, aromatic vegetables, herbs and chopped ginger, green onions and stir-fry quickly. Then add the rice and continue stirring briskly. Add soy sauce to taste when almost done.
What to do with leftover duck?
Since duck is one of the priciest in the lot of poultry, most of us do not eat it often, leaving it for special occasions. However, when you have the good fortune of having leftovers, you may be wondering what on earth to do with the duck! We leave you with a tasty meal that I made with the leftovers from a Crispy Duck recipe we made. Initially, we served it with a Roasted Garlic Puree and a Pomegranate Reduction, but as a leftover, we wanted to add even more panache, otherwise it would be a lame duck. Hoisin sauce is a popular condiment for duck and this recipe fuses Asian flavours with a hint of Middle Eastern flavours with the pomegranate for a totally delectable and balanced marriage of flavours.
Chinese Duck Stir Fry with Pomegranate
Toasted sesame oil
Chopped fresh ginger
Sliced roasted duck (room temperature)
Chinese flowering chives (cut to 2-inch pieces)
Baby Chinese cabbage (chopped)
Baby Bok Choy
Salt to taste
Pomegranate seeds/ anar to sprinkle over plate
The ingredients have not been given in quantities. You can estimate what is appropriate for however many servings you will make.
Heat wok or sauté pan.
Add ingredients in the order listed, making sure that oil is added to the hot pan.
Stir-fry each item for about 30 seconds before add the next, except the duck, which you should do for 1 minute.
Add Hoisin sauce at the end, add salt to taste and then plate dish.
Sprinkle with pomegranate right before serving.