Column: Too many leftovers, too few recipes


I have nothing against dinner leftovers, nor breakfast, lunch and late-night leftovers.

Actually, most of the time I enjoy them, although not necessarily in their original form. One of the great joys of my boring being — aka, no social life — is that I have all the time in the world to try to create something out of leftovers.

One of my favorite TV shows is “Chopped” on the Food Network. The show has many themes. My favorite has to do with leftovers. Guest chefs open their basket and it is filled with leftovers. If I ever had a chance to win something on that TV show, it would on a leftover show.

You can make a quesadilla or a burrito or an omelet or a casserole or soup out of pretty much anything.

And I do mean anything. On a Myrtle Beach vacation a few years ago, I made omelets out of leftover bratwurst and sauerkraut. Granted, only two of us ate those omelets, but they were were pretty decent.

Usually, the leftovers I work with are something of my own making.

My mom taught me how to cook, and she cooked for a large family. I live alone, and the only think I cannot cook, is anything for just one person.

I cook in large batches.

Anyway, last Friday I got home from work and my refrigerator was filled with letfovers. A lot more than usual.

There was leftover pizza from Payne’s Pizza in Galion. There was leftover pizza from Baker’s in Bucyrus from the previous night. There was leftover pizza I had made out of na’an bread the previous weekend. (Yes I eat a lot of pizza). But there was more. I cooked some fish on Monday and one piece remained. I also I found a couple of hot dogs that were only a couple of weeks old, but still perfectly edible.

I even found an old quesadilla that looked, well, old. The one thing I don’t use to make leftovers, is something I already used to make leftovers. So that one went into the trash.

There was some leftover chicken for hot chicken sandwiches and on Thursday, I made two batches of Rice Krispie treats for a family get-together this week. A few of those treats didn’t make it to the freezer.

But wait, there’s more.

On Friday morning, a commercial was being filmed a few doors down from at the Galion’s Whistle Stop Cafe. Apparently, there was a lot of food prepared for this commercial shoot. And not all of it was used, or eaten. About 11 a.m. Friday, I heard my name called from the other part of our office and went running to see what had happened. There, on a table that doubles for our kitchen area, sat about 10 carryout containers filled with hot, delicious food.

Never mind that I had purchased two breakfast burritos a couple hours earlier and they were still in my lunch bag on my desk.

My coworkers were opening all the carryout containers to see what we had reaped. There were lunch, breakfast and possibly some dinner items. There were omelets, sausage gravy and biscuits, some chicken and sandwiches and fries. And that was only the three or four treys I opened.

I went for huge reuben sandwich and some fries The reuben and the Cuban are — in my opinion — the finest sandwiches created, followed closely by a pastrami on marble rye with mustard.

Anyway, I sawed the reuben in half and toted it back to may desk. There was no way to eat all of that sandwich in one setting, let alone a pound of curly, fried potatoes. I planned to take the rest of the container home for dinner.

An hour or so l later, I went back to our dining area to pack up my leftovers. I grabbed the other half of my reuben and the leftover fries. A container that included fried chicken tenders and some regular friends, and another container that contained some gravy and biscuits and home fries also went home with me. (That’s more potatoes than I eat in a month).

Ironically, a friend and I went to breakfast on Saturday morning — yes, at the Whistle Stop. As we walked in the usual crew was there and I started chatting and not really thinking about what I wanted to order. I went with an old standard, couple eggs over easy, bacon, wheat toast and some crispy home fries.

I didn’t eat all of that breakfast, but for the first time, I didn’t bring any leftovers home, either.

For lunch on Saturday I had the leftover pizza from Payne’s. For dinner Saturday I had the chicken tenders and about a quarter of the fries I took home. I shouldn’t have, but for a snack before bedtime, I had a few more fries covered with cheese. For breakfast Sunday I tossed a pile of leftover fries into a frying pan, tossed in some leftover corned beef from that huge reuben, added some onions and cheese and covered it with a couple over easy eggs.

For a late lunch, the same, only I topped the friends with some friend jalapenos.

For dinner that night, you guessed it, the rest of my leftover french fries, with more fried jalapenos , some cheddar and a little ketchup.

Thank God, the fries are over.

For breakfast Monday morning I had the leftover pizza from Bakers.

For lunch on Monday I had the leftover burritos from Friday.

As I speak, the only leftovers I have in my icebox are one piece of fish, two hot dogs and some shredded chicken for sandwiches. I don’t believe there is anything more lurking in the back of the fridge.

Oh yea, I forgot about the tuna and noodle casserole I made last Monday. A couple helpings of that remain.

I’ve given up on creating something to make out of tuna casserole, baked fish, hot dogs and shredded chicken.

However, if anyone can up with a recipe to use them all, let me know. I’ll throw it all together and deliver it to your front door in time for Thursday dinner.

Russ Kent

Galion Inquirer

Russ Kent is editor of the Galion Inquirer. Email comments or story ideas to [email protected]

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