Monday, March 16, 2009

What to do with leftover meatloaf

When I went to my Mom's with a Mission group this past Thursday the topic was on organizing your life. Now I'm the busiest mom there (the leader's words, not mine), so they asked me how I stay organized. Truthfully...I don't. I keep trying, though, so I told them a few things I do...mainly this giant Post-it Weekly Organizer thing that I stuck giant magnets to and keep on my fridge...but I also told them about allrecipes (an AWESOME website for finding good can sort them by rating and read the reviews for tips on making the recipe even better). The biggest thing I found out, though, was that none of the other mothers had heard of using their leftovers for other types of dishes. Granted there were only six of us there, but when I mentioned using the rest of a roast in a pot-pie they were all shocked that I did that. Is it really that big of a deal that I reuse my leftovers...that I use them in different ways than their original intent? I guess to them it was.

I try to reuse everything we make mainly for two reasons. First, because I know we as Americans typically eat more meat than is actually necessary for a balanced diet, so if I spread out our meat throughout the week then it makes things a little more balanced (even though I eat way more chocolate than any person should ever consume). And second, it's just a heck of a lot cheaper than making a new dish every single night, just to have a fridge full of leftovers no one eats. So I incorporate as many leftovers into other dishes as possible throughout the week, and I usually get 3-4 days worth of dishes. This week it was meatloaf...

Here's what we can do with leftover meatloaf:

Night #1: I make my meatloaf with two pounds of meat (if I'm feeling fancy I'll use sausage or pork with my hamburger), TONS of garlic, onion, bell-peppers, cheese, lots-o-the-spices, and then the typical egg/breadcrumbs mixture, all topped off with ketchup. I serve that with either basmati rice (the best rice in the world) or mashed potatoes, and usually applesauce or some other kinda fruit (read: peaches). When we put the leftovers away for the night I make sure to keep the meatloaf and the mashed potatoes or rice seperate from each other.

Night #2: I take about a third to half of what's left of the meatloaf and crumble it up in a pan and add spaghetti sauce. Voila! Spaghetti.

Night #3: If you used mashed potatoes, then take the leftover mashed potatoes (hopefully you made them without the skins, because it doesn't turn out as well if you like your spuds with the skins on) and put them in a pot with some milk. Whisk it around and add a bunch of cheese...stuff like Parmesan, Romano (all the Italian, non-stringy cheeses) works best. Add whatever spices you like, to taste (and MORE GARLIC!! yum). Whisk it around until you have a soup the consistency you like. You can add more diced potatoes if you want a chunky soup. I usually serve this with some diced chives and bacon on top and some sort of crusty bread or crackers (usually crackers...I'm cheap). Mashed potato of my favorite meals to make with leftovers.

Night #4: Take another third of the leftover meatloaf and the rice (if you didn't make the original meal with rice then you'll have to cook some up). Mix the meat with the rice, again lots of cheese (any cheese works well), and some spices to taste (usually just salt and pepper will do). I usually make a very watery sauce with the cheese and some milk or half and half. I add that to the rice/meat/spice mixture and then add even more cheese (did I mention I LOVE cheese?). The goal is to have the rice mixture stick to itself pretty well but not be soupy. Chop off the top of some bell peppers, or cut them in half length wise...doesn't matter. Stuff the bell peppers with the rice mixture and top with even more cheese! Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes (30 if you made this the night before like I did and it wasn't quite room temperature) or until cheese on top is bubbly and the center of the rice mixture is warm. And there you have it...stuffed bell peppers!!

Night #5: Take the last little bit of the meatloaf and crumble it into the crock pot (cook up some more hamburger if you need it). Add beans, some beef broth, chili powder...really whatever over kinds of "chili"-esque things you'd like to add. Keep it simmering all day and serve with cornbread and any other chili toppings you like. Chili!! Yumm.

That's what I would do for nearly a week's worth of leftover meals. They can kinda go in whatever order you choose...these were just what came to my mind.

I feel all domestic and stuff!!