Cooking should and can be an adventure. There comes a time about once a week when you must either use the leftover “stuff” in the refrigerator or toss it all out. Since I detest throwing out money I had to find some way to use up the weekly accumulation of leftovers. The goal is to create a meal from what might have fed a garbage bag instead of a family.
If you are one of those people who simply can’t stand leftovers pass this one up.
• 1 cup or so of leftover meat (hamburger, hot dogs, sausages, chicken wings, etc.)
• 1 cup or more leftover vegetables (potatoes of any sort, limp celery, squash, even wilted lettuce)
• 1 medium onion or whatever onion is left from previous meals
• 2 teaspoons bullion, either chicken or beef
• 1 teaspoon salt
• ½ teaspoon or more black pepper
• 1 can of stewed tomatoes, optional
• 2 tablespoons of butter or cooking oil
• Leftover cheese, grated
Gather together all leftover meats and cooked or raw vegetables. You should have approximately two cups total. Chop an onion or use a leftover part of an onion. All meat should be pulled off the bones and should be cut in 1 inch chunks, shredded or sliced thin. Use whatever vegetables you have that you think will go well with the types of meats you discover. The vegetables should be sliced thin or in dice.
Heat a couple tablespoons of cooking oil or butter in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the meats first and stir until lightly browned. Add the vegetables and continue to stir until the onion is transparent. Season the vegetables and meat with salt and pepper.
Leftover scalloped, boiled, baked, fried or mashed potatoes can be added. Mashed should be added toward the end of the cooking time so it can thicken the mixture. Celery leaves add a lot of flavor. Wilted lettuce can be torn into pieces. It cooks down and no one ever knows you put it in. I’m not sure about using leftover pizza and am not adventurous enough to try it.
Add enough water to cover the meat and vegetables. You can add a can of stewed tomatoes if you want and then add water to cover. Mix in a teaspoon or two of dry bullion, either chicken or beef depending on the types of meat. Chicken for chicken, pork, ham or fish, and beef for beef of any sort, hot dogs, and Polish or breakfast sausages.
Depending on the ingredients you might want to add a minced garlic clove or some garlic powder. Maybe a tablespoon of ketchup or bottled steak sauce would be good. Poultry seasoning is excellent with poultry or pork.
Simmer on low to medium heat, covered, until the vegetables are tender. It doesn’t take long. Add more water as needed, taste and adjust the seasonings.
Decision time, it either becomes soup, stew or you can add noodles or dumplings or you could serve it over cooked rice. Grated leftover bits of cheese can be put on top right before serving.