No, all of my skeletons are not falling out of my closet, even though it is a good season for skeletons to be out and about. I am referring to some of the secrets I want to share to help you in your kitchen. I am not a lazy cook, as a matter of fact, I am a person who loves cooking and baking. However, one thing I don’t like is having leftovers that can get boring to keep eating over and over. Since I am a creative writer, I practice the same thing as I do in my writing, I change my plots by twisting them and creating a new chapter in my books. Today I want to share a couple of ways I alter a dish or meal I prepared to continue to use the basis dish but I re-create or reinvent it to appear to be a totally fresh cooked meal. By following the thinking and preparation tips I will share, your spouse may not even know it’s leftovers, and if they do, they won’t care.
When I prepare the base meat and/or dish, I am already thinking of at least two or three dishes I can reinvent this base. For an example, recently I fried several chicken tenders using an egg/ buttermilk/spices marinate, a seasoned flour/bread crumbs dredge. I had a vegetable (any kind will do) to go along with the delicious but easy tenders. I saved the extra six tenders (making ahead and using the air fryer to warm them saves a lot of time in cooking).
- Meals/Dishes Made from the Tenders
- The first is the original eaten with a fresh vegetable. You can use a salad too, but I will show you how I made another meal using a salad. Total prep was 5 minutes and 12 minutes to fry and serve.
- Sandwiches made by warming tenders in the air fryer and placing the tenders on a good bun with a mayo using some chopped herbs and green onions. Pickles, lettuce, tomato can be added too. Makes a great and fast lunch which took 6 minutes to warm tenders while I prepared buns and mayo. No photo since we were in a hurry to get back to work.
- The last meal was prepared from chopping the rest of the left over tenders (Only 2 larger tenders and 1 small one was chopped to make two big salads. I used a Sweet Kale Salad Mix, added some cherry tomatoes, 2 shallots, cheddar cheese shredded (mild or sharp whichever preferred) and salad toppers. I used the Poppy Seed Dressing and seeds in mix and also Ken’s Steak House Thousand Island (a little amount). This salad took 10 minutes total to assemble and serve.
If I add the time for all three meals which were so yummy, no food wasted, and all three meals took no more than 40 minutes from the initial meal to the finish of the last meal. Most of us take more than 40 minutes to make one. The best news is I could do at least three more meals starting from the initial meal and I practice this rule of prep almost every time. Here is my thought process:
1 – Choose a meat whether it is chicken, pork, beef, and/or seafood.
2 – Mentally envision three methods and/or meals this meat can be used .
3 – Prepare meat by a cooking method that can lead to multiple meals. You have seen my husband grill a lot of shrimp which I will separate into multiple ways on implementing those shrimp into salads, pasta, cocktail dish, scampis, etc. Once the prepared meat is completed and stored, it is only used one time in a different meal so that it tastes fresh and not recooked, only warmed and added after other ingredients are cooked as stir frying vegetables and only adding the prepared shrimp at the end for warming and merging sauces.
The key is to properly prepare the meats but not overcooking as the meat doesn’t need to be cooked to death. I seal and store the meat until the next meal.
You can do this method with vegetables by prepping ahead like slicing, chopping, roasting pans of vegetables and then using them as you need them for stir fries, soups, casseroles. It Is All In The Prep!
When I post meals during the week, some people are surprised since I work full time and I get asked how I can do those meals. I am an early morning person so I prep early, assemble the dish, and then put it in the oven while I work to have it come out piping hot at lunch or dinner. Cooking is easy if you think ahead and make it so convenient.
As a true Reinvention Queen I love seeing how many meals I can make that my husband loves and expresses how tasty they are. My advice is to try this method by preparing a larger amount of meat and try to make at least two different meals as an example of grilling steaks or chicken by chopping the leftovers and then making a stir fry or a salad for a second meal. When you see how easy it is to reinvent a meal into a savory, delicious but oh so easy, you will be on the reinvention team. I would love to hear what you make and how you feel about cooking once, and enjoying it at least two meals. Until We Cook Again….Happy Meals To You…….Arline Miller, Reinvention Queen
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