Leftovers. At that word, moms rejoice over a no-cooking night. Kids groan, picturing cold meatloaf and green beans once again. And me? I pull out my secret weapons from the fridge, ready to revamp yesterday's meal into today's delicacy.
As I've mentioned before, as a college celiac cooking all my own meals, leftovers are a saving grace. Between 17 units, a TA job, and a social life I lack the time, energy and motivation to whip up a fresh dinner every night. But, following a few tips I've learned this year, I can trick my taste buds into thinking every dinner is a freshly-cooked feast.
1. First, slap on some condiments and dressings! My favorite add-on's are gluten free BBQ sauce, avocado, pesto, and lemon dressing (just a squeeze of lemon juice with olive oil) over greens.
Just adding a new sauce can transform the flavor profile of your entire meal. Avocado adds creaminess to a typical salad with fish and roasted veggies. Pesto transforms your potapas tortillas and leftover catfish into mini pizzas.
I always keep a few bottles of sauces in my pantry or fridge for when life gets crazy and my leftovers need a kick!
2. Shake up the sides. I'll admit that discovering new sides for my dishes is a skill I've yet to master. But, from my limited armory, I still have a couple secret weapons to give my leftovers a face lift.
For instance, over the break, I cooked pulled pork in the trusty crock pot. One night, I devoured it with sweet potatoes (in the form of sliders, of course) and a side salad. The next day, I whipped up some of Amber's "green bean fries" and served everything over mixed greens.
For more ideas, you can serve your leftover meat on mixed greens, stir fried veggies, and a quesadilla on the side. And leftover baked potatoes? Toss them in a salad with turkey meat, roasted veggies and avocado and you have a sure winner!
3. Change up the main protein - or go vegetarian! This trick works wonders when I'm stuck staring at a whole rack of sweet potato wedges (the horror!) or roasted veggies.
One day I'll chow down on a deconstructed (and defrosted) turkey burger with all the toppings. The next, I'll devour some pan fried fish with melty daiya cheese and veggies.
By loading up your freezer with pre-cooked meats (I've found that turkey, chicken and pork freeze the best) I'm never afraid of running out of protein to transform my leftovers.
But, if you do hit a shortage, rock some vegetarian action for a day! There's nothing like leftover roasted veggies, mixed greens and a gooey quesadilla for lunch!
Over the years, leftovers have gotten a bad rap. Flavorless. Repetitive. Gross. But this college celiac - and her Instagram - are proof that leftovers can be just as delicious with a few kitchen tricks.
(Casey the College Celiac denies responsibility for the extinction of left overs thanks to their now irresistible nature).
What's your favorite kind of leftover? Do you have any revamping tricks? Comment below!