I love to cook. I like recipes, even though I usually don’t follow them exactly. But one of my favorite things to do is to make something up on the spot, especially when it involves leftovers. I think I get this from my father. He hates wasting food and has ingrained this pretty strongly in me. And he was always good at taking leftovers from the fridge and making them into something edible. My leftover creations are sometimes a little bit more involved with a heavier dose of transformation, but they come from the same place.
So the other day, my husband and I had lunch at McAlister’s and he ordered one of their baked potatoes. He ate all the filling but there was still a substantial amount of potato left that he planned to throw away. It took a little effort, but I managed to convince him to box it up and bring it home. And then when it was time to make dinner the next night, I got to pretend to be Lynne Rossetto Kasper. Here’s how I took what we had in the fridge and made something pretty yummy.
First of all, I had to see what was available. I had leftover baked potato, 6 eggs, leftover vegetables from some harvest baked chicken that I made last week, half a bag of matchstick carrots, some past their prime green onions, and about a half a container of baby spinach salad blend.
One of my favorite wedding gifts was this handy little 4 cup chopper by Cuisinart (If you’re interested you can find it here: http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/cuisinart-reg-elite-collection-4-cup-chopper-grinder/121759). So the first step was to chop up the potato, skin and all. Next I used the chopper for the rest of the baby spinach and a couple of handfuls of the carrots.
So I mentioned that the onions were a little past their prime (as you can see here). But they didn’t smell funny so I just threw away any part that looked questionable and sliced the remainder. It felt way better than throwing away 6 green onions 🙂
I combined the chopped onions, spinach, carrots and potato in a mixing bowl and added about 3/4 cup of breadcrumbs and picked two seasonings. I went with garlic powder and summer savory this time, but I could have gone Old Bay or Lemon Pepper or any number of different ways. I used about 1/2 a teaspoon of each. Mix well at this step so the seasoning doesn’t get stuck in one place.
Finally, I added 1 beaten egg and mixed again. Now I had the perfect potato pancake batter. And it was even healthier than normal potato pancakes thanks to the carrots and spinach.
I used our cast iron to make the potato pancakes. Just poured some olive oil and let it heat up until a drop of water thrown on the pan sizzled and popped. A word of caution here: I recommend not turning the heat above medium, especially if you are a new cast iron user – and definitely put the oil in the skillet before it gets too hot. Will and I accidentally found the flashpoint last Valentine’s Day and that is not fun.
Meanwhile, I started heating up the leftover vegetables and scrambled the remaining eggs.
And before you know it, there’s a dinner from a bunch of nothing that was in the fridge. I can assure you that this was way tastier than heating up that baked potato in the microwave would have been.
Do you have any creative leftover transformation tricks? Let me know in the comments. I am always looking for new inspiration.