Monday, August 11, 2008

Making Use of Leftovers

I love leftovers. For some reason (probably the thrifty voice ingrained in my head by my mother), I derive immense pleasure from turning leftovers into delicious next-day meals. The best leftover is roast chicken, which can be shredded and reused in a variety of cuisines from Mexican (quesadillas) to Italian (filling for ravioli).

This time, I purposely ordered way too much Peruvian rotisserie chicken (it's so cheap, how can you not buy more?) and shredded 3/4 of a chicken for meals throughout the week. As a full time consultant and part time student, I take all the help I can get for fast meal preparation. Some of the chicken went into the standard quesadilla with store-bought tortillas - they last forever in the fridge, shredded cheese, and sauteed onions. Most of the chicken, however, was saved for delicious chicken salad sandwiches in which I mixed the chicken with its accompanying mayonnaise (not sure what's in it but it's light yellow and phenomenal), a bit of the green pepper sauce (very spicy so a little goes a long way), and some sliced green onion. I topped sourdough bread with smoked provolone and the chicken mixture, popped it in the oven for a few minutes, and had myself a gorgeous, scrumptious open-faced sandwich.

Speaking of leftovers, ever since my experiment with onigiri, I've developed a fascination with bento boxes! What a creative and clever way to use up leftovers. I always have small amounts of leftovers too, not quite enough for a full meal but too much to let go to waste. After reading many many posts on, I visited the online store for Ichiban Kan and bought way too many bento supplies! I have yet to use the cutesy food dividers, sauce containers, and food picks, but leftovers from dinner last night yielded this adorable version of a bento box:

Left: broccolini sauteed in garlic and shallot
rosemary rib-eye steak
Right: buttermilk mashed potatoes with green onions

Here's to many more adventures in bento-making!

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