Left-overs in my house growing up never really seemed, well, intentional. There was just always, extra. Extra mac n cheese, extra soup, sometimes extra stir-fry and extra pasta.
I never really ate left-overs, but for the most part, it was because my life went breakfast at home, usually cereal or poptarts, or when I was lucky, waffles. Lunch at school. And then mom would make dinner at night.
But we never really threw away food.
And now, with 3 working adults and a baby at the Burrow, strategically planning left-overs has become key to our survival.
It started out just as a baking day. I wanted cookies, and since I don’t own my own mixer yet, cookies are a bit of an endeavor. So, my gal-pal Arianna and I spent from noon, to almost midnight, baking. Not just baking, but prepping too. I made a triple batch of cookies, so I ended up with 5 bags of 12 cookies, each one a frozen un-baked ball about an inch and a half around. BIG. cookies.
Then, I moved on and up. Made stew, used 6 or 7 pans for mac n’ cheese, with 5 cheeses and 6 different kinds of pasta, topped off with a bacon and bread crouton thing.
Stew, lots of beef stew, when that was gone, lots of chicken stew, and there is still a LOT of that. I stick some in everyone’s lunches before they go to work (aside mine, because I don’t actually get a lunch break, I eat a sammich at my desk while I do exactly whatever it was I was doing before it became noon and hungry feed the face mouth time.)
Then there’s my 7+ pounds of ham and scallopped potatoes. Not enough ham, or cheese, or sauce, I probably should have done something else with the extra potatoes honestly…but hey! We’re not gonna be out anytime soon!
There are a lot of ways I’d rather be eating, with my fiance and child together would be great. But as I keep reminding myself, and him, we’ve got our plan. We can live on leftovers (I’m getting good at creating complex flavor-town things that get BETTER the longer they sit and cook) and we will get where we need to go and be fairly comfortable while doing so.
So that’s my two cents about left-overs, as long as you have freezer bags and hope…and by hope I mean tupperware…you can never have too many leftovers. DON’T FREEZE PASTA.
ok, that was three…
OR PUT PASTA IN THE SLOW COOKER
Rice is a great thickener! Only don’t get too carried away in the croc-pot because it’ll turn it into like a ball of meat and veggies that’s not very appetizing to look at!
Five…Gosh this is getting ridiculous
DON’T EVER THICKEN SHIT WITH STRAIGHT UP FLOUR OR CORN-STARCH. Always. ALWAYS make a slurrie. If you don’t know what that is well I’ll explain it:
A slurrie is a cornstarch/flour paste thing. 1 part flour/cornstarch 1.5 parts liquid. Put in a hopefully water-tight container and then shake the shit out of it. Pretend it’s a jar your hand won’t fit in and there’s a Rolo stuck in the corner. Once there are no more clumpies, stir it into your soup/stew/gravy and bring it to a boil, set it to simmer and then it’ll start to thicken.
[Ever notice how there’s cornstarch in pudding?]
I’m pretty sure six is it…oh…no it’s not!
If you ever need a thickener and decide “screw rice, I don’t want no rice in mah stew 2nite bra.” [/shudder. That hurt to type] instant mashed potato flakes do a great job at that too.
If it gets too salty just drop a raw potato(cut in half or peeled or something) in it and cook it like that for a while. Potatoes have some mad seasoning absorption skills! So do rice! But you can just remove the potato and not mess up with the textures and flavors you’ve got going just a bit overdone.
Nine – STEWS ARE SUPER RIB-STICKING.
Ten – Don’t be afraid to do slow-cooker things on the cheap! Everything is delicious when you cook it for 10 hours and smother it in gravy and pepper!
Eleven – Gravy mix is a great thing to add to a stew that’s lacking just a little bit of umph, even better than base or bullion. I can’t explain it!
Someone stop me!
Twelve- Always keep your pantry and fridge stocked up with potatoes, celery, carrots, and onions. With these four things you can take literally any meat and make an amazing meal with like 30 minutes of prep in the morning and then no more worries til food consumption time!
Twelve, twelve is a satisfying number. Oh god, I’m a monsterrrrr….
I’m glad I stocked up on left-overs, I’m getting closer every day to finishing my bawdy romance novel (it’s actually pretty classy if you think about some of the stuff I’ve read…) and then going back to edit before revamping my new idea inspired by “Little Talks” by Of Monsters and Men.