After spending hours planning, shopping for and preparing frugal Shabbat meals, one of the most wasteful things we can do is throw away our left-overs.
The easiest way to avoid this is obviously just to re-serve them a day or two later. But what if your family can’t stand warmed up salmon? (Honey, I’m looking at you!) And what about all those ends of challah that get tossed out after a few too many days on the counter? (Okay, now I’m looking at myself.)
To avoid all these unfrugal pitfalls, here are my top ten suggestions for creatively using up your Shabbat leftovers.
Using Up Left-Over Challah
1. Bread Crumbs
I keep a big Ziploc bag in my freezer, and every week I add the odds and ends that are left from our challot. After a few weeks, I’ve got enough to make breadcrumbs. I’ve experimented with some fancier recipes, but for now I prefer the uber-basic method: Let the challah bits defrost on the counter, possibly dry them out in the oven, and then chuck them into a food processor and give it a whirl. I then transfer them back to the Ziploc and refreeze. I know people say not to, but it doesn’t affect the flavor, just the longevity. We use them up pretty quickly, so it’s not an issue. I use them to top my homemade mac-n-cheese or tuna casserole, fill out my meatballs, and of course, my favorite application, when my husband makes eggplant parm! Yum!
2. Bread Pudding
Leftover challah is great for French toast, but my favorite bread-and-egg concoction is bread pudding. You’ll need a whole loaf to make up one 9×13 pan, so I just save chunks in the freezer until I have enough. A little cream, a little milk, a little egg, a splash of vanilla and a dash of nutmeg. Yummy!
Using Up Left-Over Chicken Soup
3. Soup Stock
If you have broth-based soup left over, strain out all the bits of chicken and veggies and freeze in gallon ziploc bags to use as stock in future recipes. I like to fill up my baggies, use a straw to suck out all the air, then lay flat in the freezer for an hour or two. Then store the bags stacked up straight to save room in the freezer. If there are any bones left, you can get super frugal and freeze them to add flavor to your next soup recipe.
4. Chicken Pot Pie
After straining out the broth, use the rest of the chicken and veggies for a chicken pot pie. Mix up a “white sauce” with margarine, flour and either stock or rice/soy milk. Top with a homemade crust and you’ve got a super frugal meal. By the way, chicken pot pie is a great freezer meal. Just make sure to cool completely and double wrap with tinfoil to avoid freezer burn.
Using Up Left-Over Roast/Chicken
I like to cut off bits of meat or chicken from the bone into bite-size pieces and then add them to stir-fry. If there are any left-over veggies, I toss those in as well. A little sauteeing with soy sauce and stock, plus some freshly boiled pasta or rice, and we have another frugal, delicious meal!
Kind of the same idea as the stir-fry but with a Tex-Mix twist. Warm the meat (and veggies) on a grill or in a dry cast iron pan. Boil up some rice and beans, mash some guacamole and serve with warmed tortillas. Ole!
Using Up Left-Over Rice
7. Fried rice
I often make majadara (rice and lentils) for Shabbat, which I love — but it seems to lose its luster the day after. It’s easy enough to repurpose into a wannabe fried rice, though, with some finely diced scallions and carrots, scrambled egg and soy sauce.
8. Stuffed peppers (or onions, or cabbage)
A little left-over rice goes a long way when it comes to stuffing veggies. Sautee up some ground beef or crumbled tofu (if you want to keep it pareve), add in a bit of onion, garlic and tomato sauce, and mix it all into your rice. Lob off the top of a pepper and stuff it with the rice mixture. Pour more sauce on top and bake in a shallow dish with about 1/4-inch of water. Cook at 350 until the pepper is tender.
Using Up Left-Over Veggies
9. Salad fixin’s
I often have one or two pieces of left-over steamed broccoli or cauliflower (my kids’ two favorite veggies), which are great to toss on top of a green salad for my lunch during the week. Alternatively, I add them to a salad of pasta, chick peas and vinaigrette. As long as the veggies aren’t b’chezkat basar, I toss in some feta cheese, too.
10. Veggie patties
Another easy application for left-over veggies — and this works for just about anything, including roasted potatoes or sweet potatoes — is to mash them all up, add in an egg or two and some bread crumbs (see #1), and fry them into patties. Serve with Ranch dressing (if the veggies are not b’chezkat basar) or tomato sauce and let your kids dip to their heart’s content. (What is it with kids and dipping?)
A few other quick tips, while I’m at it:
- I’m trying to switch over to storing in glass as much as possible. One of my favorite frugal sources of glass storage containers is reused glass jars from spaghetti sauce, pickles, mustard, jelly, etc. Now if only I could find a way to keep them all organized…
- Left-over potluck — if you don’t have it in you to cut all the meat off the chicken for a stir-fry, I totally understand. Sometimes I can’t be bothered either! What about a left-over potluck? Put out all the meat or dairy left-overs and let the family have at it. It’s like a tapas bar. (But not half as cool.)
What are your favorite ways to use up your Shabbat leftovers? Please share your best ideas, as I know we could all use a little left-over inspiration every now and then!