This weekend, I set a goal for myself to transform as many leftovers as possible into a new meal. In previous posts, I mentioned that last week included a lot of “misses” and not too many “hits”, so I had a lot of strange leftovers that weren’t really worth eating again on their own. Sometimes this happens as creativity and good ideas come and go – but I still didn’t want all of this perfectly edible food to go to waste!
I pulled out my leftovers and decided to make a soup, mostly because I had ¾ of a box of chicken stock in there as part of the leftover pile. I have also talked at length about my love for soup and how versatile it is. The recipe that I made was a very loose interpretation of my Ribollita, which is basically a hearty veggie soup, often with a tomato base. The leftovers that I had would make something similar, with more of a summer veggie twist.
So, in the line up of leftovers, we have the following:
- ¾ of a carton of chicken stock
- Roasted pattypan squash
- Zucchini “lasagna” with tomato sauce
- Random container of veggies
- Raw carrots, home-grown poblano peppers, and a rogue home-grown tomato
- Small chunk of leftover pork loin (already cooked)
I took pictures of my process to assemble the soup, following these main guidelines:
- Chop all ingredients (raw and cooked) into bite-sized pieces
- Start by cooking all raw ingredients first, then add cooked ingredients to warm through but not cook for much longer.
- Add stock at the end and bring to a boil, and finally add meat to re-heat but not overcook. No need to cook this for too long, as the pre-cooked veggies may become mushy.
- Serve with a little swirl of pesto, fresh herbs, or lemon to bring all of the flavors together. When cooking with random leftovers, most of the flavors were pretty cohesive here, but the pesto I added at the end really tied it all together.
I hope to make more posts like this, because it’s fun to clean out the fridge and get a few more meals out of this exercise! I hope this helps inspire you to try a Chopped-style challenge in your own fridge to reduce leftover waste. I just ate the last container of this soup for lunch today, and I’m pleased with myself for putting in the effort to re-purpose these food “flops” into three more satisfying meals for this week.
Happy cooking, friends!