If you are like me, you hate to see things go to waste. I rarely eat as much as I cook, so turning those leftovers into a whole new meal is the perfect way to change up my meals and keep the waste down.
Pull Out the Leftovers
The first step is identifying what you have available to work with. Pull out the leftovers – all of them. Pastas, stale bread, crackers, meats and vegetables. Also pull out any fresh vegetables that will soon need to be used and dairy products close to expiration. All of these are great candidates for a delicious stew.
The best thing about stew – there is no single recipe that makes up a stew. You can combine any number of ingredients and add simple fillers such as rice or noodles to make a whole new meal out of what would have otherwise gone to waste.
Make the Stew
Now that you have your ingredients, cut up any leftover meats into bite size chunks. Combine them in a stew pots with some stock (vegetable, beef, chicken, seafood or homemade stock). Season to your liking and be sure to make use of any opened wine or beer to add some extra flavor!
Add any ‘harder’ ingredients such as carrots or potatoes to the pot prior to the softer items such as tomatoes, rice and pastas. Hold those until about 15 minutes prior to serving.
While the stock and other ingredients are heating, sauté any raw vegetables in butter, oil or even leftover bacon grease to bring out the flavors. Add some garlic, onions or seasonings if you have them available. Once they are done, spoon them into the stew with slotted spoon to reduce the amount of grease you are adding to the stew. Simmer the stew until you are ready to serve and any harder vegetables are cooked.
Tip: If the stew is too thin, use cornflower, cornstarch, flour, grated cheeses or ground breadcrumbs then stir the stew until the desired thickness is achieved.
Toast any stale bread or crackers to garnish the stew upon serving along with any cheeses on the verge of expiration – shred those and add upon serving.