Today, instead of showing several reinventions of meals, I thought I would give my readers an insight on how I think in my kitchen. I never think of only one meal when I cook, but how I can reuse the ingredients or even the whole dish in a new way that it takes away the sting of eating “leftovers” but a new dish with different and/or additional ingredients. I am going to list out my reinvention thoughts when I begin to prepare a meal. The list will be broken down into food categories and it may give more insight than showing recipes after recipes. I will continue showing you reinvented meals but let’s start with how it helps from the get go. Here’s the list:
Each category offers flexibility in multiple uses and we will review how to choose, prepare, and store. I use shrimp a lot in reinvented meals but salmon makes an excellent source for my reinvented dishes.
Seafood such as shrimp or salmon can be cooked in larger quantities than the first dish and stored until it is reinvented. I usually begin with grilled, sautéd, baked and I will prepare the seafood to have at least three meals from the initially cooked meat. I am aware you are thinking why not prepare as you need it. Most certainly, you can do this. Maybe, I am hesitant about the multiple preps and cooking time. It makes sense if I am grilling, grill three times the amount in one grilling event, rather than prep three times and grill three times. When we are really “lazy” we buy the freshly steamed shrimp from our supermarket and work from the larger amount we buy. Salmon is prepped the same way, more quantity is bought, prepped, and grilled either on the grill, the air fryer oven grill, or sometimes in a pan, but always more is prepped and cooked than our initial meal.
Beef is a common reinvention meat that several dishes are made from the initial prep and cooking. I will make meatloaf and work from that initial dish and reinvent another dish using rice or noodles. I have used my leftover meatloaf to make the best burgers or have used the meat in the base for spaghetti or soup. Beef roast becomes the main ingredient for a sandwich with other ingredients. Maybe the thought behind my reinvention queen mentality is what else can I make from the meatloaf or roast. Build from the first meat dish and I will remove and/or replace some ingredients in the next dish such as potatoes and carrots from a roast and make a pot pie from those ingredients with a different meat, such as leftover baked or stewed chicken. Use your refrigerator as a cold pantry instead of only thinking how many times will my family keep eating leftover meatloaf or roast.
Chicken is one of my favorite reinvention meats. I grill, I bake, I stew, and then I store the extra. If any of you have learned to reinvent, I will say you probably use chicken more in the recreated meals than other meats. I have stewed a pot of chicken breasts or thighs, or even both. I will store what I am not making the first day but don’t put it past me to recreate a new meal from the first dish too. Let’s say I make chicken and noodles the first day. Let’s put our Reinvention Hats on and think what could I make from that initial chicken and noodles? What if I add a crust which can be a store bought crust and use leftover potatoes and carrots from a roast I spoke about in the beef section. Throw in a can of sweet garden peas, even a can of whole kernel corn, some chopped or sautéd onions, and make a chicken pot pie. I would process the noodles slightly to encourage a thickened filling. Add herbs and seasonings to make the pie the preferred taste. How simple can that be? What about taking the breasts and/or thighs and either make a bbq sauce or use a bottled one and wallah, you have bbq chicken in a few minutes. Or what if you chop the cooked chicken and make a great chicken salad, adding celery, mayo, grapes, nuts, and seasonings. The ideas go on and on. The key is in the beginning. Don’t cook a small amount, think of the quantity of three meals/dishes would require. Cook the meat at the same time and a good tip is to invest in quality sealing containers. Never leave the extra meat out, but store immediately as this will give you a freshly cooked meat.
Pork is another great reinvention meat. Ham, oh sweet ham can be a great reinvention queen ingredient. I bake or Greg smokes the ham and I don’t do anything in the beginning as we want the presentation for the first meal. Greg will take the ham pieces off the bone leaving enough meat for a great bean or greens cooking. I make a base from cooking the bone until the flavorful broth is formed. Sometimes, and this is where I think about what can come next. I store some of this ham broth for multiple flavorful dishes. Never use the broth for one reinvented meal, think three if possible. I then will use the ham for breakfast meals with eggs or omelets. Some of the ham pieces can be used for a ham pot pie, or flavoring a soup, sandwiches, and even use in dips, or like deviled ham salad. I think you see what I am plotting and planning when I prep that ham in the beginning. Pork chops are a gift from heaven as they can be grilled, baked, and/or fried. After they are cooked, they can be eaten of course, but if you make enough, you can store the extra, chop and use in Pork and Rice, sau’te some of the chopped pieces with a mustard base with sautéd onions and peppers or a great sandwich and/or even a salad. I can go on and on many other ideas, but now is the time for you to get creative yourselves.
As a true Reinvention Queen, I found stocking my pantry and refrigerator with what I call filler foods. Mushrooms fresh and canned, onions, garlic, herbs, peppers, cheeses, cream and buttermilk, seasoning bastes, vinegars, balsamic vinegars, seasoning salts, and dried herbs, honey, sugar, cream of whatever soups, broths vegetable and meat, vegetable bouillon as well as better than bouillon, bread crumbs and crackers to make crumbs, flour (I use White Lily) WL corn meal, and specialty mixes for quick breads, and BUTTER as well as EVOO, and even shortening. That is a short list but it helps to have it on hand instead of trying to make a list every time for each meal.
For some of my reinvention meals, Search on my home page search for Reinvention Queen and several blog posts should come up for you to go one on one with me in my world of reinvention. Use What You Have and a philosophy I believe is WASTE NOT, WANT NOT! Have fun, try new things. Mix it up and create your own dish. Until we reinvent again………..Arline Miller, Reinvention Queen 2022.
(C) Copyright 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration and Reinvention Queen with all rights and permission reserved. Third party materials, if known, are sourced to original location/author for credit reference.