Here's a cooking hack you can use to prevent "leftover boredom." I call it re-seasoning.
Essentially, you take a previously-made meal and add new spices and/or new ingredients to change the dish into something totally new. This transforms your leftovers into a new and different meal with negligible effort.
Here's an easy example: Let's say you fire up a batch of my easy Split Pea Soup, one of the least expensive recipes in all of Casual Kitchen. But wait: this time, make a double batch. It's the same amount of work, but you'll produce twice as much food.
Then, feed your family with this central dish tonight and tomorrow (if your household is like mine, people start complaining if they get served the same thing more than two days in a row). For the third night, then, make some other easy and laughably cheap recipe: Black Beans and Rice for example.
Here's where it gets interesting. On the night after you serve the Black Beans and Rice, reheat the leftover Split Pea Soup, but add a twist: Briefly saute four or five links of Italian sausage, and add them plus two generous tablespoons of Tabasco sauce to the soup. Then, for an intriguing mix of sweet and hot flavors, add in two peeled and cubed sweet potatoes.
In just five minutes of prep work and 15 minutes of simmer time, you've "re-seasoned" your Split Pea Soup into a something completely different: Fiery Sausage and Sweet Potato Soup.
Voila! A totally new, healthy meal for your family for two more nights, made with minimal cost and effort. Most importantly, you're not serving leftovers. Technically.
Here's a few more re-seasoning ideas using recipes from CK's archives.
1) Starting to get sick of that big pot of laughably cheap Black Beans and Rice you made a couple of days ago? Add the juice of a lime--and a couple of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce--to give it an entirely different flavor profile.
2) Make a double batch of my Chicken Mole Sauce, and then for your re-seasoned meal, crack two or three eggs into the sauce to make a Mexican Shakshouka.
3) Take an extra large batch of leftover Savory Moroccan Chickpeas, and puree the leftovers in a food processor for a nuanced and unusually flavorful Hummus.
4) Take my Shrimp in Tomato Sauce recipe, except this time make a double batch just of the sauce. After you've enjoyed the shrimp and sauce for your first meal, briefly fry up four or five bone-in chicken thighs and add them to the leftover sauce. You've now got a delicious Chicken In Tomato Sauce recipe, but with an interesting middle eastern twist.
Look: on one level, this cooking hack is simple, almost to the point of obviousness. It's also not always a perfect solution. For example, some re-seasoned meals will still closely resemble their predecessor dish. After all, you can try to change the flavor profile of black beans all you like... but you're still eating black beans.
And some re-seasoning transformations simply don't work well: I'm not sure what you could do to re-season CK's Corn Pone Pie recipe, and I'm also drawing a blank on Laughably Cheap Carrot and Fresh Cabbage Curry. In other words, this hack may not work well with certain recipes. However, it does work quite well on simple, basic recipes that feature simple and mild flavors.
Readers, can you think of any re-seasoning ideas of your own? Share them--with links to recipes on your blog if you like--in the comments below!
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