Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Learning to Embrace Leftovers

I am always surprised when someone expresses their utter disdain for leftovers. I have been a long-time fan of them, myself, for many reasons. Firstly, I can use them to help put together a meal faster than usual on a night where I don't have much time or energy. In addition, the wise and creative use of leftovers means that nothing is going to waste, keeping my grocery bill down! And I admit I feel more than a little satisfaction in creating something delicious out of items a lot of people might have just tossed in the garbage.

A few evenings ago, my husband was out at dinner time and my motivation for cooking for myself and my two boys was running low (sometimes it's hard to muster up my cooking enthusiasm when I know they'd be just as happy with a peanut butter sandwich!)

I rooted around in the fridge for a couple of minutes, and came up with: 2 baked potatoes (leftover from burger night), half a carton of sour cream, a few strips of bacon and a jar of salsa with a few spoonfuls left at the bottom. I also had some garlic chives poking up in the veggie garden. Inspiration struck and I came up with the following:

Spicy Potato, Bacon, and Onion Hash

2-3 strip of bacon
2 baked potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 small onion, chopped
2 tbsp canola oil
3-4 tbsp salsa
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
sour cream and garlic chives for garnish

In a small frying pan, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove from pan. Saute the potatoes and onion in the oil until onions are tender and potatoes turn golden brown. Add salsa, salt and pepper and mix well. Crumble bacon and add to potato mixture. Cook for a minute or two longer. Spoon out onto serving plates and garnish with sour cream and garlic chives.

To round out our meal, I scrambled up some eggs and toasted the last few slices of homemade bread we had on hand. This turned out to be a deliciously satisfying meal!

I hope I've convinced you that leftovers are a good thing - they can be the springboard to a tasty, something-for-almost-nothing culinary creation.

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