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How to Do Over a "Left Over"

     Now, I've never been inside of your refrigerator, but let me tell you what -- if I don't keep track of our "leftovers," they quickly become an unsightly cure for meningitis or the bubonic plague -- furry, odiferous and just plain gross. So what can we do with those little leftovers that no one wants to eat because "we already had it the day before" or "it's just a few bites, what do I do with that?" Well, grab your pen and paper or get ready to hit print on your computer because the LEFT OVER LADY has just made her way past the front door and into your home. Stand back! You'll be amazed at the meals you can create that will bring your family rushing to the dinner table.

My Friend Debbie Rotisserie Chicken Revelations

     We all love to buy those wonderful rotisserie chickens from the store - already cooked and all ready to eat. But what about after we've eaten the bulk of the meat? Don't we usually leave the ole' bird by himself just rotting away in the back? Well, not anymore! That bird still has plenty of use to him. And it's truly a snap. . .

     * First, put on some fun music. (Everything is more enjoyable with some of your favorite tunes.)
     * Next, pull ole' Henry out of the back of that 'fridge and begin picking off all the good meat still left on his ole' bones. (Yes, you will have to crack a few bones to really get all the meat off, but the way I get around really thinking about it is I pretend I'm one of those pioneer women from the late 19th century getting ready to prepare a stew for my brood. It's kind of invigorating.)
     * After you pull the good meat off (placing it into some type of storage bowl), you will next take all the bones and throw them in a pot of water. Boil the water for about an hour and turn those leftovers into a wonderful broth for a future soup.
     * Now, with the chicken you pulled off (you'll be surprised how much there is), you can take it, heat it in the microwave and sprinkle over some nacho chips in a pan (you probably already have some chips left over too. You know how that works - the 1/8 of a bag that gets left). Sprinkle some cheese, peppers (if you have a few floating around in a jar in the fridge), and tomatoes, or whatever you like. Then pop the pan in the oven until the cheese is melted (350 degrees for about 10 - 15 minutes).
     * And voila! A wonderful snack for the family! And you'll still have that broth for a future soup. Now let's talk about that soup.

Stone Soup

     If you've never heard or read this story, it's a must. The gist is that there is a pauper boy who is hungry and tricks the townspeople into making a pot of soup while he convinces them that it was his stone that really made the soup something special. So . . . as he passes from town to town, each soup winds up being a little bit different but every bit as tasty. Well . . . that's the same idea as you make soup out of your leftovers.

My Friend Debbie Here's how it works:

     * First, get out a big pot and place onto your stove.
     * Then see what you have in the fridge: left over veggies, rotisserie chicken, cooked beef even lunchmeat works great. Anything that is a solid will pretty much work perfectly. (Always check to make sure expiration dates are still good, of course.)
     * Next, pour in chicken broth. You can either use the broth that you boiled from above - (which you should've only kept the broth and discarded the bones) or you can buy some broth from the store or bouillon cubes which you will need to dissolve in water. Just follow the directions on the package. The point is -- get some liquid into the pot of leftovers before you begin to cook.
     * Turn your burner on approximately low medium. Then begin to experiment, stirring often.
     * Remember, colors usually go together. Like, if you're going to put in sour cream, then all other light color ingredients work well like carrots, chicken, etc. Your reds and heavier sauces (salsas) go well together too. You can combine both for a pinkish sauce and that's fine. You experiment to your taste and liking. The more you do it, the easier this will become. Just remember my grandmomma's hard and fast rule: YOU CAN ALWAYS ADD MORE, BUT YOU CAN'T TAKE AWAY. So add ingredients carefully.
     * And finally, onions, garlic and tomato sauce always make any stone soup wonderful.
     * After the soup cooks for however long it takes you to get all the ingredients in, stirring and tasting, (usually an hour but you can leave on simmer for as long as you like), then cut up some fresh bread with butter and maybe prepare a nice salad for a fun and delicious evening with your family.

Beverage With Burst
My Friend Debbie     Complete any meal with this easy drink.
     * Use leftover soda and add juices, crushed ice or even some milk to make fun interesting drinks.
     * Light-colored juices and ginger ale go best together.
     * Brown colas go best with cherry or raspberry juices.
My Friend Debbie      * Don't have an ice crusher? Just place some cubes into a plastic Ziploc freezer bag and pound it with a meat tenderizer. . . this worked like a charm when I was 8-1/2 months pregnant and really wanted some crushed ice. Desperation is the mother of invention!
     * Place the drinks in some fancy glasses (you can buy some cute ones from the Dollar Tree) and enjoy your family meal around the table. Remember, the best conversations take place here.

Have fun experimenting, and think about all the money you've saved from literally being thrown away.

Copyright © 2008-2015 Cindy Aitken

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