Updated: Jan 7
The term leftovers tends to scare everyone away; children and adults. Who wants to eat a day old plate of spaghetti and meatballs?
You never heard of anyone excited for last night's chicken casserole.
Eating leftovers is done to minimalize food waste. The guilt of throwing out last nights meal can haunt you.
But, what if I can tell you leftovers can taste amazing. Leftovers can be upgraded into a gourmet meal and no-one will ever know it was last night's meal.
How to use leftover food in the fridge?
Growing up in a large, Italian household, with three sisters, one brother with immigrant parents has taught me how to save! Income was used to pay the bills and any penny left was put into saving accounts.
My parents could not afford any waste including food. The only problem was my sisters and I were picky eaters. We drove our mother nuts! Long pasta; forget it! If it was day old macaroni we would cry to eat it.
My mother got creative. She mixed grilled zucchini, fried mushrooms and boiled string beans with eggs and cheese and turned it into a frittata. It tasted like a gourmet omelet, with a crispy exterior and gooey, cheesy, center.
Leftover mash potatoes was turned into a soft, oily, focaccia. The day old mash potatoes gave the focaccia dough a softer texture that was incredible moist. She replaced part of the flour with the dried up potatoes.
She fooled us! Not only did we eat the frittata and focaccia, we loved it, and asked for more. Today restaurants are serving frittata for gourmet lunch and focaccias as a quick snack.
THE RIGHT PAN - ULTIMATE RESULTS
Using leftovers should not take up time out of your busy schedule. Nor should you buy extra ingredients to use up the leftover meals. The trick to using up leftovers is using a versatile bake pan with ingredients you always have laying around in the pantry.
A deep-dish coated pizza pan is the perfect choice. A versatile pizza pan should be able to cook a quick pizza, focaccia, quiche, frittata and still be able to roast potatoes, proteins and veggies. The pan should be able to reach temperatures up to 500F.
The pan should have a coating on it to allow you to cook anything you like without having it stick to the pan. Saucy-chicken wings, without the sauce being stuck to the pan. That exact same pan to create the crispiest French fries.
One pan and do it all! Because who really wants ten pans to create multiple dishes. The reason I suggest using a deep dish pizza pan instead of a traditional solid pizza pan is for the versatility aspect for using up leftover meals. However, solid pizza pans are great for baking cookies, crackers, biscuits, pizzas and flatbreads.
The extra one inch height allows the baker to be in control on what they are creating. The one inch depth allows you to cook thin crust or thick crust pizzas. But why stop at pizzas!
The baker can make frittatas in that same pan without flipping it. Transform last nights grilled asparagus and roasted peppers into a quick lunch, by adding whisked eggs to the mix. Pour the mixture into a pan and lunch is served.
Dried up left-over mash potatoes should not be a problem. With the addition of all purpose flour, instant yeast, olive oil and water to the mix, to create the fluffiest focaccia.
Crown Cookware's Pizza Genius is the perfect bake pan! HERE IS WHY?
Made from pure food-grade aluminum. Aluminum is a great heat conductor!
It is a premium non-stick pizza pan, that is made from their secret formula blend of steel, coated with more alloyed metals to protect the metal then coated with Crown Cookware's Black Steel Release coating.
No nasty Teflon coatings like other pans. Cook safe with Crown Cookware.
Easy clean-up. Once the pan is cool, you can simply wipe your pan clean or use a little light detergent to lift the residue oil, and you are done!
It's made in Canada!
PASTA FRITTATA RECIPE
Frittata is an Italian dish that is made with the coagulation of eggs. Essentially, it is one giant omelet, that is made in a bake pan instead of a frying pan. Frittatas are mostly made with eggs, vegetables, various cheeses and sometimes potatoes.
Frittata is a great way to use leftovers because all you need is eggs to bring the whole dish together. Quiches usually have pie crust, or heavy cream in it, but frittata does not.
Frittatas can be flavored with various cheese like mozzarella, parmesan or cheddar. The cheese should be added into the mix before baking. Fresh or dried herbs are a lovely touch to add in the frittata mix to make the dish more flavorful. Roasted garlic with fresh cut rosemary will bring out the day old veggies back to life.
Pasta frittata is a dish my mother always used to make for us as kids. She would use leftover pasta, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, oregano and eggs to create the dish. It was a great way to revamp pasta that was sitting in the fridge. The pasta could have had tomato sauce, béchamel or no sauce....its just that versatile.
YIELDS ONE 12" FRITTATA
3 cups Cold Leftover Pasta (fettuccini)
1/4 cup Butter
2tsp Kosher salt
Dried Herbs: 1 tsp Paprika, 2 tsp dried basil, 2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup Mozzarella Cheese
Preheat oven to 375F
Grease a 12" Crown Cookware Pizza Genius Pan with softened butter.
Spread cold leftover pasta in the pizza pan.
Bake for 11minutes at 375F.
In a bowl whisk eggs with spices and salt.
Take pasta out of the oven, add mozzarella cheese and parmesan on top.
Pour the egg mixture all over the pasta.
bake at 375F for an additional 15minutes.
Cool for 10minutes, take out of pan to serve.
POTATOE FOCACCIA RECIPE
YIELDS ONE 14" POTATO & SAUSAGE FOCACCIA
Sliced Leftover Cooked Sausage 1/4 cup
Leftover Roasted Peppers 1/2 cup
Fresh Rosemary 2 sprigs
Granulated Sugar 10g
Cold Leftover Mash Potatoes 265g
All Purpose Flour 400g
Instant Yeast 11g
Olive Oil 80ml
Warm Water 500ml
Coarse Salt 8g
Mix instant yeast with warm water. In a separate bowl mix flour, mash potatoes, salt, and sugar.
Add the yeast and water mixture to the dry ingredients, and knead.
Add olive oil to the mix and knead for 10 minutes or until a smooth dough forms.
*** If you have a stand mixer: mix the dough with a hook attachment on speed 2 for 8 minutes or until a smooth elastic dough forms***
Place dough in a greased bowl, and let it rise for 2 hours or until it has doubled.
Grease a 14" Crown Cookware Tapered Pizza Genius Pan with olive oil. The olive oil greasing is just an extra step for an extra crispy crust.
Roll focaccia dough into a 16 inch circle. It will shrink exactly to fit a 14 inch pan.
Place rolled focaccia dough in the non-stick pizza pan.
***If you do not want to roll the focaccia dough because it is too soft, you can place the dough in the pan. Push and pull the dough while forming it to the width of the pan. You want to press the dough and stretch it at the same time.***
Let the focaccia rise for 2 hours covered or until doubled in size.
Add toppings to your focaccia after it has risen. Sausage and roasted peppers as last nights leftovers. This was the focaccia topping.
Add coarse salt on top, with various herbs including rosemary and paprika.
Cook in a preheated oven at 375F for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Delicious meals created effortlessly with leftovers. All you need is one great bake pan. Put money in your pocket by using ingredients you already have in the pantry to limit trips to the grocery store.
Revamp last night's dinner into gourmet lunches saving you more cash. Using day old vegetables including roasted peppers and baked carrots in frittata makes a quick and healthy lunch.
Using last night's mash potatoes to thicken soups and sauces will add a restaurant quality touch. Create fluffier focaccias, and deep dish pizza with the addition of mash potatoes by using less flour.
Revamp your leftovers by using Crown Cookware and using Baker Mary's tips.