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February 2000 Issue
Planning Your Leftovers
by Ronda L. Halpin
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This month, I'm doing a little something different. Unlike most months in which I take the "what's-in-the-fridge" approach to leftovers, I'm going to be writing about the value that can be reaped in planning to make leftovers. Those that are used to sitting down at a table set for one or two probably know what I'm talking about. It's all about making those meals that you've been craving for days and taking advantage of the fact that they're just not meant for small crowds. With a little creativity and some extra storage space in your refrigerator, you'll find traditionally large meals finding their way into your kitchen ... and onto your table ... and into your refrigerator or freezer ... and onto your table again. I think you get the picture.

Imagine roasting a wonderful turkey for two people. Sound like the definition of eternity? Nonsense! Go ahead and make that turkey (try using Phil Gantt's recipe for Honey Turkey) and get ready to enjoy wonderful dishes like turkey tetrazzini, quesadillas stuffed with turkey and tomatoes and turkey veggi pitas. Find recipes that call for cooked turkey or chicken or duck and feel free to use those leftovers! If you freeze half of the leftovers in single size containers, you'll be able to enjoy that comfort food over the course of several months.

Another inspiring dish to tackle is simple corned beef. Enjoy the corned beef the first time around with boiled vegetables and your favorite mustards. Then, use some of the leftovers for corned beef hash for a hearty breakfast treat. If that's not enough to satisfy your cravings, thinly slice some more leftovers for a classic Reuben sandwich. Again, any "extras" can conveniently find themselves in single size containers to be enjoyed later.

Roast beef is another prime (excuse the pun, I couldn't resist!) example of a meal that lends itself well to planned leftovers. Enjoy lovely slices of roast beef with gravy and the fixings one night and get ready for your favorite sandwiches, soups and stir-fries later on. In fact, you could easily make a double batch of soup from leftover roast beef and freeze half of that for another day! Imagine the possibilities.

Even great vegetable classics like ratatouille can find new life as a great pita or soup filler. I've even made quiche that starred last night's ratatouille! And it freezes perfectly and tastes even better a day or two after it's made. What more can you ask for?

To help you on your way, I’m including some recipes that are meant to serve a large crowd. Don’t let that stop you! Take it as a challenge to find new and exciting ways to serve your favorites. Who knows? You might come up with a few new favorites!

Enjoy and make sure that you let me know what you do with your leftovers! I’m always looking for new ways to serve the same old thing!
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