This mound of containers is ready to be filled again! Rethinking leftovers is one of the best ways to get the most out of your food!

Tuesdays are trash pick up for us. So, I usually clean out the fridge on Monday nights. Typically, I take out whatever I can see quickly and is within easy reach. This week I did the deep clean though, pulling everything out and even wiping the shelves down too. Yay me! I had a pile of Tupperware, glassware, and recycled yogurt containers to wash though and that brings me to the point of this post. Leftovers can be enjoyed beyond a warmed-up plate. The DCI family loves leftovers for this very reason and more! In fact, at any given moment, you can open our fridge and find a tiny glass bowl with a couple tablespoons of some vegetable in it from the night before because I couldn’t bear to throw out perfectly good food. One of the reasons we started this blog was to share our passion for self-sustainability. I try to get the most out of our food and reduce wastage and extra trips to the grocery as much as possible. While growing the food we don’t want to throw out would be closer to true self-sustainability, we are taking steps in that direction by using the food we buy wisely. So, I thought I’d share an example of how we are creative with leftovers and you can be too!

A couple of keys to successfully using leftovers is to do a mental inventory of what you have in the fridge and then think about what those individual items could be made over into for a different dish. For example, I made a watermelon pie this past weekend. (It was yummy and you can find that recipe here!). I had whipped up some fresh cream and sweetened it with powdered sugar for a topping. I had a ton left over – a good cup. I also had about a cup of buttered corn kernels from one night over the weekend as well. So, it occurred to me … what are the basic ingredients of a souffle? Cream, butter, sugar, eggs, salt, a thickener like flour or cornmeal and something to make it rise – baking powder. Four of those ingredients could be found in the sweetened whipping cream and the corn. I could just add the rest and voila! A completely new dish from leftovers and no wastage of the individual items that would have sat in the fridge or been thrown away otherwise.

Here’s what I did:

  • Heat a cup of milk just to a low simmer and gently fold the whipped cream into it.
  • Add the corn and an extra tablespoon of butter then bring back to a low simmer, milk will burn if you bring to a hard boil.
  • Slowly whisk in a beaten egg, it will scramble if you dump it in all at once.
  • Add around ¼ cup of cornmeal and about ½ teaspoon of baking powder.
  • Stir until thick, put it in a greased casserole and baked it at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.

    Photo courtesy of Adinaplus/Flickr

Typically, I bake a souffle at 350 for about 45 minutes. But I had salmon roasting in the oven at the same time that needed a hire temp and I was looking for a golden-brown top with a soft and fluffy inside to this concoction versus a more solid consistency of a true souffle.  That was the exact outcome and it was so good. I was in such a hurry to get supper on the table, I didn’t think to snap a picture but the one included here is close to what it looked like.

So, don’t be afraid to experiment with leftovers! What the worse that could happen? If it doesn’t turn out well, those items would have likely been thrown out anyway. What’s the best that could happen? Food that is not wasted and a happy tummy! Have you had a leftover made new again success? Leave it in the comments below!