I hate wasting leftovers, I mean absolutely hate it. This probably stems from my childhood when we weren’t exactly rich, probably existing just above poverty level as it was just myself and my mother for years. We even had to sustain ourselves for some time on things like government cheese, powdered milk and the like. So when my daughter has leftovers, I have to find a way to use it or I feel like I’m wasting food.
Make Leftovers Shake
The easiest way to do this it to take the leftovers and make a shake. Generally, this only works for breakfast where she only wants fresh berries, bananas and other fruit. And it would be pretty gross to make a shake out of leftover pizza, which is sometimes my breakfast.
Fruit Leftovers Shake Recipe:
- At least 1/2 cup berries, apples, grapes, bananas, melon (almost all fruit leftovers work)
- 1 cup milk (Cow, almond, soy, or otherwise – they all work)
- A food processor or blender (I have a Rival Food Chopper – not awesome, but effective)
- Blend until you think everything is chopped up to drinkability
Sometimes the consistency doesn’t quite turn out and it needs to be run through again. If I had a better blender, like say, the Ninja Professional Blender, it would be done the first time.
The food chopper is handy for making salsa though!
Salsa from Leftovers
There are a lot of cherry, grape and other small tomatoes on the menu here. Sometimes they end up sitting in a bowl for a few hours and start to get wrinkly. While not as finicky as other toddlers, my daughter will decide she can’t eat some of these. So into the food chopper they go, with other tomatoes, some garlic cloves and some onion. While my daughter will try to eat the last two, she generally doesn’t but they are staples in the house. I’ll also throw in some spices as well.
Leftovers Salsa Recipe:
- 1/2 cup tomatoes – cherry, grape, or whatever you’ve got
- 1/4 cup onions
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- juice of 1/2 lime
- salt (to taste)
- pepper (to taste)
- cilantro (to taste as some hate it)
- Vulcan’s Fire Salt (for heat and flavor) – this is made locally in Milwaukee so I’ve included the ingredients below
- 1tbsp vinegar
Throw the tomatoes, onions, and garlic in a food chopper or blender and get to a chunky consistency. Then add everything else and mix thoroughly (in blender or by hand). Enjoy with your favorite tortilla chips (we eat Donkey chips as I wrote about in Make Errands Fun).
Breading from Leftovers
Also in Make Errands Fun I mentioned that my daughter likes Goldfish crackers and pretzels. However, it doesn’t mean she eats them all when they’re put out. Instead of putting out a whole bag, I just put out a bowl of a couple dozen. After a while the leftovers start to be less than fresh. She’ll eat them throughout a whole day but by the next day I’m not so keen on them still being around. So I will gather them up in a bowl or bag and save them for when I’m cooking the following day. I’ve made some pretty great breading out of these types of leftovers.
Goldfish Cracker Crusted Chicken Fingers
- 2 chicken breasts (cut into strips)
- 1/2 cup of leftover Goldfish crackers (many flavors will work)
- 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs (usually I have Kikkoman Panko – Wheat flour, Sugar, Yeast, Salt)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1tsp pepper
- 1tsp garlic powder
I skip salt in this recipe as there is salt in the Panko and the Goldfish crackers. Take the Goldfish leftovers and crush them either in a food chopper or with a rolling pin. I’m trying to reduce my plastic waste so I use wax paper usually instead of a plastic bag with the rolling pin. One could also use the food chopper or blender as well but it’s a bit trickier.
So when you’ve got everything ready, put the flour, eggs and breadcrumb/Goldfish (with pepper and garlic powder) mix in three separate bowls. Then dredge the chicken through flour, eggs, coating (in that order). Be sure to knock off any extra flour and let the egg drip off while still covering the pieces totally. When you’ve got that done you can rest them on a piece of wax paper, like the piece used to crush the Goldfish leftovers.
I generally like to pan fry my chicken fingers, usually in olive or coconut oil. Sometimes I’ll use sesame oil but it’s a pretty strong flavor. Sometimes I’ll even bake them. When baking them you might replace the egg with olive oil. I haven’t tried that variation yet but I hear it works.
Got Great Leftovers Recipes?
Got a great leftovers recipe that you use regularly, or want to share? Drop it in comments and we’ll get them all together and publish as a recipe collection to help other Urban Dads save on food waste.