Saturday, July 9, 2011

Leftover Makeovers

I've done my best, since we've been in our apartment, to cook most of our meals.  Cooking isn't exact, though, and there are nearly always *some* leftovers.  Sad little remnants that don't amount to much lingering forlornly in the bottom of the fridge.

When I cooked asparagus and bacon bits, I saved the drippings and the bits of cracklings from where I'd crumbled off the lean meat.  The drippings, of course, will not go to waste.  That's good stuff!  I have a grease jar next to the stove where that all goes, so I can get to it to swipe into a skillet to fry eggs, or brown chicken, or whatever happens to sound yummy with a bit of bacon flavor.  

We had some grits leftover from breakfast one morning.

We had a cup or two of leftover mashed potatoes lingering from the 4th. 

There was about 1/2 c beaten egg left over from the schnitzel I made last night.

And there were a couple cups of cooked plain oatmeal and the accompanying chopped fruit sitting around from a hurried breakfast one morning when B was running late and didn't have time to eat all of his breakfast. I had cooked enough for both of us, but ended up eating his hastily abandoned half-bowl and wound up with way more oats than mouths to eat it.  

The leftover potatoes and bacon cracklings became potato cakes.  One cup got flour and a bit of egg added to it, bacon cracklings, and cheese.  The other cup was used up this morning, and received the last of the cracklings, a chopped green onion, and the leftover beaten egg.   You basically just throw everything together, mix well, and cook like you would a pancake or hoe cake.  It was something my Gramma used to do with leftover potatoes, and it always seemed to be a treat to me since we didn't get them often.  

The leftover oatmeal became breakfast bites.  
There was about 2c oatmeal (plain cooked whole old fashioned oats)
and about 1/2 c chopped strawberries and blueberries (mixed together) leftover.
So I added 2c peanut butter
2 eggs
2/3 c sugar
1/2 c raisins
And an assortment of ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.  I didn't measure the spices.  I just mixed them in till I liked the taste when I got some on my finger :-P.

I baked some in mini muffin cups, and some in regular sized muffin cups.  The mini muffins turned out the best.  The larger muffins didn't retain their consistency as well, because the peanut butter was so oily.  I think next time, I'll either reduce the amount of peanut butter, or maybe add some flour, salt, and soda to give them more of a bread-like consistency.  

They are not dessert sweet.  They're more like a quick-grab breakfast or a snack.  B said they're the bomb.  I don't know about that, but they're pretty tasty.  They need some tweaking, but as a leftover makeover, they turned out pretty good.  The amount ended up making 24 mini muffins, and 6 regular muffins.  I think for future reference, I'll stick to mini muffins, cookies, or maybe try bars.  The good thing about muffins, though, is if you use plain paper cups (not waxed or foil), the cups absorb some of the oil that cooks out of the peanut butter.  I also cooled them on paper towels to absorb even more of the oil.  (I don't have all my stuff here, yet, so my t-shirt towels are not available.  It does irk me a little bit that I feel like I'm tossing pennies in the trash can every time I throw away a paper towel, though.)  I took pictures of these, but unfortunately, I'm still working on a very limited internet connection, and the estimated time for me to download the picture from my email is 3 hours.  Maybe I'll edit this post later with pics lol.

I also had some grapes, blueberries, and cherries that were not going to last much longer, so I chopped them up, put a few teaspoons of sugar over them, and simmered them into a compote (Thanks Sam for the idea a la your Blueberry Pancakes!  Terri's kids are awesomesauce.  They're as full of great ideas as their mom.)  That makes a really yummy addition to plain oatmeal that is a bit healthier than adding in butter, sugar, syrups, etc.  I also had some milk I'd frozen into cubes, and I added the fruit compote and milk ice cubes to the blender and made something of a milk shake (though not as satisfyingly sweet as I wanted.  My sweet tooth was not assuaged.)  

The leftover grits ended up just getting more cheese thrown in and reheated on the stove for a small pre-bedtime snack.  I've been having trouble with my sugar dropping in the mornings, so I figured I should try to pay better attention and either not eat so early, or have a snack before bed.  The grits worked well for that.  

But now it's lunch time, and I'm feeling peckish.  There's still some leftover fruit in there... I'm thinking smoothies :-)

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