Monday, February 03, 2014

Leftovers Shmeftovers

Well, that Super Bowl was a bust! Boring game, boring commercials, a total snore fest (unless you are a Seattle fan, I suppose!). Thank God for Bruno Mars or I would have fallen asleep on the couch in a carbo-cheese induced coma. The Super Bowl almost always ends up turning into a mini-Thanksgiving food wise, with a bunch of people stuffing their faces with everything in sight, then passing out on the couch full of beer and shame. Then come the leftovers. At least with Thanksgiving you can easily make another meal of it, but Super Bowl leftovers require a bit more creativity. Is your fridge stuffed to the gills with bowls of leftover guacamole, spinach dip, salsa, buffalo wings, or cold cuts? Not to worry. These ideas will get it gone for you, and fast.

What to do with all the leftovers?

1. Calzones. Just preheat your oven to 400 degrees and roll a prepared pizza dough into an oval onto a greased cookie sheet. Spoon the dip onto one side of the oval, leaving an inch border at the edge. Top with a little extra shredded cheese if you like and fold the dough over the filling. Pinch the edges to seal and bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is browned. Serve with some marinara for dipping! This is also a great way to use up your leftover pizza dip, buffalo chicken dip, or wings.

2. Macaroni and Cheese. Boil 8 oz. of whole wheat shells, reserving about 1/4 cup of pasta water. Melt 2 Tbls. butter in a sauce pan with 2 Tbls. of flour, whisking constantly until it is golden. Whisk in 1/2 c. milk. Then add a generous cup of spinach dip, stirring until smooth. Toss pasta, reserved cooking water and the sauce together and serve immediately. Again, you can substitute the spinach dip for pizza dip, buffalo chicken dip, or wings.

3. Pizza. This one works for just about any leftover appetizer you can think of. Roll out a prepared pizza dough and cover it with anything! Those dips or wings I keep talking about, crumbled meatballs, sliced ham or capicola from your deli tray, whatever! Just top it all with some shredded cheese and you are good to go!

4. Quiche, Omelettes and Frittatas. Eggs are my favorite way to use up leftover salsa and cheese, as well as any raw veggies from a veggie tray. Saute those bad boys up with a little oil, and pour a few scrambled eggs on top. Sprinkle it with cheese, fold it over and serve with salsa (or maybe a little guac if you're feeling crazy.) To make a quiche, spread 1 cup of your leftover dips (buffalo chicken, spinach artichoke, pizza, etc) into the bottom of a prepared nine inch pie crust. Whisk together 4 eggs and 1 cup milk or cream and pour over. Then bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes until the eggs are set and golden brown.

5. Sandwiches (but only if you didn't actually make sandwiches for the Superbowl). All of your dips make great sandwich spreads, as long as you pair them with the right ingredients. Sliced turkey with artichoke dip? Yes please. Pizza dip on ham? Not so much. Any leftover chicken makes great chicken salad, obviously, and guacamole is fantastic in quesadillas or wraps.

6. Salads. I know, you really need a salad after that binge-fest last night. All of your cold cuts, chicken, cheese, or steak leftovers make perfect toppers for a big ole' healthy bed of greens. Use leftover ground beef with your guacamole and salsa to make a taco salad, or shred the wings and add cranberries and raw veggies from your veggie tray. However you mix it up, you're guaranteed to feel a little lighter.

7. Smoothies or Parfaits. Just in case you actually had some fruit at your party (which we actually did, so there!), you may need ideas for using it up before it spoils! This is my Pinterest board dedicated to drink recipes. Click on over and go nuts making a different smoothie every morning until the fruit is gone! Or layer your fruit with yogurt and granola and call it a healthy breakfast or dessert. Anything to erase the bloat from yesterday.

8. Pancakes. You're all confused now, probably because you're thinking of spinach dip, which I do not suggest putting into pancakes. Fruit obviously works in pancakes, and guess what? So do hot-dogs.Really, I haven't lost my mind. Bear with me as I toss an old school WT breakfast food at you. Slice the dogs up into 1/4 inch rounds and toss them in a bit of maple syrup. Prepare your pancake batter, pour into a hot pan, and drop the sliced dogs into them, as a normal person would blueberries. Flip and serve with butter and syrup. It may be a breakfast at the same caliber as Velveeta and shells, but hey, would you rather throw them away?

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