The Leftover Chef

Lately Iíve been participating in one of my favorite pastimes: Leftover Cooking.

In college I became somewhat of a master at the art of rummaging through the fridge and trying to make a meal out of whatever was available. Some of my finest work occurred when I was working at Bob Evans in St. Charles, MO., where biscuits were the name of the game.

At the end of each day we would be left with enough biscuits to feed a small army and in my penniless position, this was as good as winning the lottery three times a week.

With said biscuits, I devised all sorts of carb-laden combinations, using spices, sauces, and sundry other ingredients to whip-up a variety of (usually) tasty creations.

Although Iím not relegated to the position of biscuit baker any longer, I still enjoy putting those loitering leftovers to good use whenever possible. Over the last few weeks Iíve concocted a number of delicious delicacies that I would like to share with you, the devoted reader, so that more people might enjoy my tasty creations.

Course 1: Surplus Salad

Ingredients: Mixed greens, diced carrots, sliced red onion, leftover green peas (cooked then refrigerated), diced manzanilla olives, parmesan cheese and leftover curry dip.

Construction: This one is pretty easy. Put the carrots, onions, peas, olives and cheese on top of the mixed greens. Add desired amount of curry dressing.

Course 2: Sandwich-sans-sourdough

Ingredients: Microwaveable veal patty, spinach, butter, plain Greek yogurt (Chobani all the way for me), turmeric, and cayenne pepper.

Construction: Microwave the patty while wilting the spinach in the butter. Place spinach on top of patty, dollop of yogurt on the spinach, sprinkle with turmeric and cayenne pepper.

Course 3-A: Back-up BLT (Extra Bacon)

Ingredients: Two slices of wheat bread, six pieces of thick-cut bacon, tomato, spinach, Mayo, and black pepper.

Construction: Fry bacon in large frying pan on one side until slightly crispy, flip bacon, place spinach on bacon to let juices wilt bacon. Toast bread and add Mayo to both sides. Layer cooked bacon on sandwich and cover with spinach and tomatoes. Season with pepper. (For a breakfast twist, add fried egg.)

Course 3-B: Gargantuan Grilled Cheese

Ingredients: Two slices of wheat bread, cheddar cheese, roast beef, sliced red onions, butter, and spinach (yes, I really like spinach).

Construction: Butter one side of each slice of bread, place one slice on frying pan (medium heat) add sliced cheese, roast beef, spinach and onions. Cook each side to desired level of crispy goodness, spinach and onions should get nice and soft.

And finally ... (insert drumroll here) ...

Course 4: The Uneaten Meat ní Cheese Burrito

Ingredients: 12 ounce flank steak, spices, bacon, dark brown sugar, grated cheddar and pepper jack cheese, Greek yogurt (again I went with Chobani), butter, hot sauce, and large tortillas.

Construction: This oneís for all of you carnivores out there. Readers who might be sensitive to the devouring of delicious animals may want to skip to the final paragraph.

Still with me? Then letís get cooking:

First, grill up that steak to about medium-rare/medium. You can add whatever sort of glaze/ seasoning youíd like. I went with garlic salt, thyme, pepper, cumin, and Worcestershire sauce. Meanwhile, grab an oven pan and cover it with tin foil. Grab your thick-cut bacon and layer those pleasant little pork portions. At this point, take the brown sugar and coat those succulent strips of heaven. Set the oven to broil and pop those babies in to brown. Flip once for a crisp, even *author has elapsed into catatonic drooling mess*

Sorry. Once your steak is done, slice that sucker up and throw them onto a tortilla. Cover with grated cheeses. Slice bacon and cover cheese.

At this point you want to fold that bad burrito up so nothing will spill out, place it on a greased frying pan, and grill both sides so all that lovely cheese melts into the meat.

Once both sides are slightly browned, serve this amazing chunk of glory with yogurt and hot sauce on the side, and dive into the divine. (For the true carnivore: Serve with a side of hot wings.)

Well, there you have it: The Leftover Luncheon. Try them one at a time or serve up a feast for you friends. Once youíve tried cooking up a few of these ideas, open up your fridge, put on your creative cap and come up with some ideas of your own.

Then, share the wealth and let me know what youíve come up with! Iím going to go raid the fridge ...

Check out some pictures of the completed meals on The Evening Sun website, and donít forget to follow me on Twitter ...@evesunjulian.

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