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Category: leftovers

Homemade Chicken or Beef Stock

Homemade Chicken or Beef Stock


Broth or stock is the base for most soups, many sauces, and used in place of water to improve grains such as rice. Many recipes give you the option of using store-bought broth or stock, but nothing compares to homemade. Making your own is very easy, a great way to get the most out of meat you buy that contains bones, and gives you control over the flavor, any possible unwanted ingredients, and the sodium level (if you care about that sort of thing).


This is the basic method, without any salt or seasonings.


Put the bones in a pot, raw or cooked, it doesn’t matter.
Add an acid – vinegar or lemon juice (a couple of table spoons to half a cup).
Cover the bones with cold water (you can go an inch or two above the bones depending on how they sit in the pot).
Let it sit for about 30 minutes, so the acid can do its work pulling minerals out of the bone.
Turn on the heat and simmer for several hours – beef bones take about twice as long as chicken. If you are doing this on the stove or in a slow cooker, chicken bones should simmer for at least four to six hours, and beef bones need six to 12. Or, you can use a pressure cooker and cut your time down significantly (see below).
Cool, strain, and put your broth fridge overnight. Save the bones if this is your first time (see below).
Lift the congealed fat layer off the top. Your broth should have the consistency of Jell-O.


Why You Should Save the Bones if This is Your First Attempt


If your broth or stock did not gel, you probably need to toss the bones back in and simmer some more. This can also happen if you use too much water for the amount of bones.


Using a Pressure Cooker


This is much faster in a pressure cooker. Once it has come up to pressure and you’ve reduced the temperature, chicken broth takes about 45 minutes and beef takes about 90 minutes. DO read the instructions for your pressure cooker thoroughly if you are not familiar with it.


Which Bones?
I use whatever bones I have from cooking chicken. For beef, I’ve used rib bones after making ribs, and I’ve bought beef bones at the store. If I buy them, I choose a mix of femur bones and bones with lots of cartilage. Check out some of the Benefits of Bone Broth.


Seasoning and Flavoring


I often add a good handful of coarse salt. Sometimes I don’t add any flavorings. If the bones are from cooked meat your both will likely take on some of the flavor of the dish. You can use raw bones. Roasting beef bones before making your broth gives it a deeper, richer flavor. Adding roasted onion and garlic does, too.

Double Meat, Pasta-Free Lasagna

Double Meat, Pasta-Free Lasagna

Looking for a completely different way to use up turkey leftovers, and craving lasagna but currently staying away from pasta, I came up with this dish which turned out better than I expected. I had leftover spaghetti sauce, too.

I make this in single servings, but you could make up a whole batch of lasagna this way. The key is simply replacing the pasta with turkey. You could try it with any lasagna recipe you like. Here’s what I used.

Turkey, pulled apart pretty thin (no need to try to get it as thin as lasagna noodles!)

Meat sauce
Cottage cheese

It’s a pretty pared down lasagna recipe, and I didn’t even include the mozzarella every time I made it. Build it like you would regular lasagna, with the turkey making up the noodle layers. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes for single serving size made from cold ingredients out of the fridge.

Greens and Leftovers

Greens and Leftovers

Well, I was going to make mackerel croquettes when I realized I had some leftover chicken breast and leftover roast that really need to be used up. I also have some fresh spinach I need to cook before it goes bad.

I am making my basic greens cooked in bacon grease with garlic slices. I will cut up the roast and chicken and toss that in on top to heat near the end of cooking. Just to change things up a bit I may sprinkle some shredded parmesan on top.

I will serve this with steamed red potatoes (not really new potatoes, but close). It sounds so good, it seems a shame to call it leftovers.

Leftover Tortellini and Beef Stew

Leftover Tortellini and Beef Stew

Here is another variation on left-over soup. It does not require flour or broth. Any left-over cooked beef will work. Hamburger is the easiest. If you are using steaks or roast cut into bite size pieces.

Beef (cooked)
Tortellini (cooked)
corn (1 can)
green beans (1 can)
diced tomatoes (1 can)

Sauté onion and garlic in butter for 5 minutes. Add meat and any juices from meat. Continue cooking for 5 more minutes. Add tomatoes, green beans, corn, salt, and about 2 cups water. Stir. Simmer for 2 or 3 hours, longer if possible. Stir occasionally. Add water as needed until the last hour. Simmer for 30 mins to 1 hour after the last water is added for fullest flavor.

Clean Out the Refrigerator, Left-Over-Chicken Noodle Soup

Clean Out the Refrigerator, Left-Over-Chicken Noodle Soup

The beauty of this recipe is that you can use just about anything in your refrigerator that needs to be used now or thrown out tomorrow to make a delicious and healthy meal!

What you have to have:
Onions (any kind will work)
Broth, stock, or bullion
Cooked chicken (any kind of meat can be substituted)
Cooked pasta (if you use long pasta like spaghetti cut into bite
size pieces, you can also substitute with rice)
vegetables (if you have them)

What I used last night:

2 medium-large onions
2 carrots
1 stick celery
Minced garlic to taste (3 heaping tablespoons)
¾ stick butter
3-4 cups left over cooked chicken (lemon chicken and broaster
2-3 tablespoons flour
6 cups chicken broth (bullion)
1-2 cups left over cooked penne

Put onions, carrots, and celery in food processor until chopped up fine (can be done by hand). Melt butter and add onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook stirring occasionally over med-med high heat for about 20 minutes, or until everything get soft and onions start to turn translucent. Add chicken and stir, add flour and stir, cook for 5 more minutes. Add chicken broth (this is when you would add raw vegetables) and cook at simmer – low boil uncovered for 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add pasta (this is when you would add cooked vegetables), cover and cook for 10 minutes more. It is now ready to eat, but will improve if you leave covered, turn down to low heat and cook for another 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Don’t Throw That Out!

Don’t Throw That Out!

Leftovers don’t have to be boring and ruined dishes can be rescued. Both can be turned into something entirely different. Reusing food that you have already cooked is a great way to save time and money. Soup, sandwiches, casseroles, pizza, shepherds pie, fillings, and sauces are all good revivals for leftovers. Many people complain that one or more of their family members refuses to eat leftovers. A little creativity can change leftovers into something they will never recognize as last night’s dinner. An easy solution to repetition is simply to freeze leftovers the same day that the meal is cooked and serve it the next week. In fact, I strongly recommend cooking more than you need for one meal and freezing the rest for later as a time saver. When entrees and side dishes are frozen separately they can be mixed and matched for more variety. Try making extra gravy to freeze for mashed potatoes and gravy to go along with meals that do not lend themselves to gravy making.

The key to making leftovers great is your approach. Rather than asking yourself how you can re-serve that dish, think of meals that you would like to cook that call for those ingredients. Now you have saved some time by already having them cooked. This is great for pizza and soups. You may have to expand your horizons on pizza to make this work, but it is well worth it. I once made a filling that consisted of feta, garlic, and spinach. I wound up with more filling than I needed so a couple of days later I thawed out some leftover lemon chicken, whipped up a garlic cream sauce and made pizza with the leftover filling and some mozzarella on top. Any leftover meats and veggies can go on pizza or into a shepherd’s pie. Leftover meats go great in sauces, too. Burritos and enchiladas can always be filled with leftovers.

On another occasion I tried making mashed sweet potatoes, but decided I did not care for the flavor. So, I looked up recipes that called for sweet potatoes for some inspiration. I found one for pasta filling. I read through the recipe for a guideline and then improvised with my own ingredients. I made sweet potato ravioli with a garlic and sour cream sauce that became an instant favorite.

There are many wonderful alternatives to throwing food out. Be creative and have some fun with it. Never think of leftovers as just leftovers again!

Fried Rice

Fried Rice

3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 – 1½ cups peas and carrots
1 – 1½ cups leftover meat (cooked)
Garlic powder
Onion powder
3 cups cooked brown rice
3 eggs
Tamari sauce (or soy sauce)

Heat coconut oil in skillet on med-high. Add meat, vegetables, rice, onion powder, garlic powder, and ginger powder. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes stirring occasionally. Beat the eggs. Make a well in the center. Pour in eggs and cook for about one minute. Gradually incorporate the egg into the rice and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until egg is done. Add tamari sauce to taste and cook for 2 more minutes.

Monterey Chicken and Bacon Sandwiches

Monterey Chicken and Bacon Sandwiches

These sandwiches are made mostly from leftovers. The other day I made black-eyed pea patties and way too much hummus.

Roasted chicken breast
Monterey jack
Multi grain bread

To make two sandwiches place slices of cheese on two slices of bread and leave the other two untopped. Toast all four slices in the oven melting the cheese. Spread the hummus over the cheese, the mayonnaise on the untopped slices, and the chicken bacon and sprouts in between. If you are not using bacon, you will need to salt the chicken.

Leftover Roast Salad

Leftover Roast Salad

When I make a roast, after the first meal, I cut up the remaining roast into bite-sized pieces and refrigerate in its juices. It makes a perfect addition to salads.

Fresh spinach leaves
Lettuce of your choice
Grated carrots
Leftover roast
Dressing of your choice (goes great with raspberry vinaigrette or ranch)

This also works well with leftover chicken. If you have both leftover roast and chicken, that’s even better!

Homemade Beef Stew with a Hint of Barbeque

Homemade Beef Stew with a Hint of Barbeque

I made this with homemade beef stock made from rib bones. The ribs were cooked in barbeque sauce.

2 to 4 cups beef stock
1 pound ground beef
Baby carrots
1 can petite diced tomatoes
2 cans water
1 Vidalia onion
1 bulb garlic

Roast onion and garlic at 400 for 30 minutes.
Place stock broccoli, cauliflower, and radishes (cut u to desired size) in a large soup pot. Brown and drain ground beef, and add to pot. Pour in tomatoes with juices and two cans of water. Simmer, covered, while onion and garlic cool for about ½ hour.
Peel onion and garlic. Place whole roasted garlic cloves in pot. Cut up onion or process in food processor. Place onion in pot. Continue to simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered.

This stew can be served right away or kept warm on the stove on very low heat and covered for a long time.

Use any kind of vegetables you like. It’s a good way to get rid of those which might otherwise go to waste. The roasted onion and garlic really make the flavor great!