Monday, December 6, 2010

cooking with leftovers

I had a TON of leftovers after my party and I always hate just reheating things.  For the first meal or two, it's fine, but then I get bored and usually end up letting it all go bad.  Not terribly economical.

So I decided to be thrifty.  After everyone left my house, I still had gobs of egg nog and gobs of toasted bread.  So I decided to turn it into French toast.

My favorite cookbook is Perfect Party Food by Diane Phillips.  She has EVERYTHING in there and all are able to be made ahead.  (I think my only complaint is that she's too light on salt, but since I now know this, I can easily adjust.)  She has a recipe for do-ahead French toast that's almost more like bread pudding - you mix everything up, let it sit in the fridge overnight and bake in the morning.  And she includes a little note that it can be made with leftover egg nog instead of cream.  Now, she doesn't recommend using overly crusty bread because it soaks up all the liquid and can become chewy, but I figured that I could just add some more liquid in the morning.  Did I mention that I have gobs of nog?

It turned out great.  Just as boozy as it was in beverage form, but then the next time I make this eggnog I plan on cutting back the alcohol even more anyway.  And it would be great with non-alcoholic nog as well!

So that was recipe #1.  I killed all of the toasted bread, a good amount of the eggnog and "left" the unopened can of whipped cream at my sister's.  Fab.  Making progress.

Recipe #2 was dinner.  I was sitting on the couch trying to get inspired to heat up some more of the BBQ pork but it just wasn't working.  I was really tempted to order a pizza, but I have SO much food in my fridge.  Then I remembered the box of whole wheat pasta I bought when doing my party grocery shopping.  I had even put it on my list.  No clue why - I already had a box of linguine in the house, but I just HAD to also have some rotini.  Now I know why because my dinner was insanely good.

From the fridge, I pulled out a clump of garlic, a medium red onion, salami, blue cheese, arugula and sliced almonds.  I put several tablespoons of olive oil to heat and chopped up the garlic and onion.  Four cloves of garlic, which is a lot, but I didn't want to put anything back in the fridge.  I also put the water on for the pasta.  After the oil heated up, I tossed in the garlic.  After a few seconds, the onion went in as well.  I turned down the heat and let it just hang out while the pasta water came to a boil.  Pasta then went in the water and I added a heck of a lot of herbes de provence and a shake or two of red pepper flakes and some salt.  When the pasta was done, I drained it and dumped it in a bowl with the salami and arugula then poured the hot oil on top.  Then I added a Tbsp-ish of red wine vinegar and crumbed in the blue cheese and the almonds.

And OMG it was divine.  Hot pasta salad.  Highly recommend.  It made enough for dinner as well as three generous lunches so I'm all set for this week!  Next up will be trying to figure out a creative use for leftover BBQ...

And with that, I'm off to eat some more pasta salad!

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