But I also get really excited when I get to re-purpose leftovers. Say, for example, you make roasted chicken and kale salad for dinner. And the next day, you don’t want to have the exact same thing for lunch that you had for dinner the day before. It’s more fun if you pretend it’s a Top Chef challenge. I have a few go-to ways to repurpose those leftovers and win because I DID NOT COME HERE TO MAKE FRIENDS:
- Soup. Obviously. Chop up half an onion, saute it over medium heat in a small pot in 1 T. of either butter or vegetable oil. Chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces, and add it and the kale to the onion and give them a stir. Cover in chicken stock (bonus points if it’s homemade) and bring the whole thing up to a boil. Throw in a handful of leftover rice and heat for another minute or two. Grate a little parmesan cheese and some fresh cracked pepper over the whole thing and you’re done.
- Pasta. Again, obviously. Chop up half an onion, saute it over medium heat in a small pot in 1 T. of either butter or olive oil. Chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces, and add it and the kale to the onion and give them a stir. Stir in one large can of chopped tomatoes and simmer. While the tomato sauce is cooking, boil some pasta, according to the box instructions. Toss the pasta with your chicken kale tomato sauce and a top with a little (okay, fine, a lot of) parmesan cheese.
- Frittata. Chop up half an onion, saute it over medium heat in a small pot in 1 T. of either butter or olive oil. Chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces, and add it and the kale to the onion and give them a stir. (Are you noticing a pattern here?) Preheat the broiler to 500 degrees. Whisk 4 eggs with 1 T. milk, a fat pinch of salt, and a few grinds of fresh black pepper in a medium-sized bowl. Pour the egg mixture over the chicken and kale and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until browned on the bottom, then transfer to the pre-heated oven for 4-5 minutes under the broiler.
- Japanese pancakes. (See below for instructions.)
Japanese pancakes, or okonomiyaki, are a great way to re-purpose savory leftovers. For one thing, the word “okonomiyaki” literally derives from “what you want” or “what you like,” so you can put anything in these little pancakes. So in this case, I used leftover brussels sprouts salad and the last strip of bacon from the back of the fridge. (It looked lonely, sort of like a pathetic puppy, so I was really happy that it made it into this pancake and didn’t wind up in the trash. Is that weird?)
You’ll see below that this recipe calls for “1/2 – 1 cup of leftovers,” so you can use whatever you happen to have in your fridge. My favorite versions of these little pancakes use meats or veggies — or a combination of both — as a filling. Go crazy. It’s the holidays. Do you have old thai curry in the fridge? Chop it up and make it into a pancake! Did you wake up after your office holiday party with meat sticks in your pockets? First, that’s strange and very #coafg, congratulations, but, also, that sounds like it would be much better in a pancake than out of one. Do it.
- ½ -1 c. of leftovers (see note above)
- ½ c. all-purpose flour
- ¼ c. water
- 1 egg
- Pinch of salt
- ½ T. butter or oil
- 2 T. greek yogurt
- ½ t. sriracha
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- Lightly whisk together the egg and water, then whisk in the salt and flour in thirds until fully combined -- don't leave any lumps!
- In a nonstick skillet (I used an 8-1/2 inch skillet, like this one, which worked well), melt the butter over medium heat. Toss the leftovers in the butter and sprinkle with salt. Once the leftovers are browned and warm, pour the pancake batter over the leftovers and smooth it down with a rubber spatula. Cover the skillet with a lid and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, until the bottom of the pancake is browned. Flip the pancake over, press the pancake into the edges of the skillet, cover again and cook for another 5 minutes.
- While the pancake is cooking, make your sriracha sauce by stirring together the greek yogurt, sriracha, and a pinch of salt. If you want to drizzle the sauce, scoop it into a sandwich baggie and cut the corner off to make a DIY pastry piping bag.
- Then use the baggie to drizzle sauce all over the browned pancake and top with sliced green onions. Serve hot.