Leftovers Recipe: Grown-Up Sloppy Joe Sandwiches

Original Meal:
Mixed grill with baby back ribs, flank steak, plus pasta and salad sides

Grilled flank steak

Leftovers Meal:
Grown-up sloppy joe sandwiches

Making the sloppy joe stew: Chop a whole onion and a few cloves of garlic and saute in olive oil in a large stainless pot. Dice the steak and add it to the pot with a can of whole tomatoes, 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, and salt and pepper. Simmer on low heat for 3-4 hours. Serve on baguette. Enjoy.

Leftover Meat Mondays: Pasta with Sausage and Baby Broccoli

Mr. MVP and I talked about being part of the “Meatless Monday” movement. We didn’t have to be convinced that going meatless at least one day a week can be good–for the environment, for your health, for your wallet. So we enjoyed a few consecutive meatless Mondays. But then we had extra chicken from a Sunday barbecue and wanted to make tacos with the leftovers on Monday. And then we had some remaining steak from another Sunday dinner and decided to make bolognese sauce the next day with the leftovers. We grill a lot on the weekends and don’t like to let leftovers go to waste, so now we’re going to try for Meatless Tuesdays or Wednesdays and we’re going to make sure we compose leftover meals that don’t feel like leftover meals–making them good enough to be prepared and enjoyed any day, even if you aren’t trying to use what you don’t want to waste.

Italian sausage on the grill, part of a mixed grill and pizza dinner


Today’s Leftovers Meal: 
Pasta with baby broccoli and sausage

Pasta with Baby Broccoli and Sausage
While pasta of your choice is cooking, cut the leftover sausage into bite-size pieces. In a saucepan, saute several cloves of garlic in olive oil until garlic is soft but not browned. Add 1/2 cup vegetable stock and baby broccoli and cover until broccoli is tender but still firm. Remove broccoli and add sausage bites to the saucepan with a splash of some more vegetable stock and cook on medium until heated. Toss pasta with sausage, broccoli, and parmesan cheese. Enjoy.

Leftovers Recipe: Italian Mashed Potato Pancakes

Most people love the day after Thanksgiving for turkey sandwiches. I like the potato pancakes. Our family makes what we call Italian mashed potato pancakes, from a recipe we got from my grandmother. The pan-fried pancakes are made from leftover mashed potatoes, Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs, chopped fresh Italian parsley, an egg, grated parmesan cheese. When I was growing up, we had them whenever there were leftover mashed potatoes (never let good food go to waste!) and mom put ketchup on the plate for me and my brother so we could dip warm pancakes in the cool ketchup, much like the way we used maple syrup on breakfast pancakes—it’s still comfort food for me.

I called Mom for the recipe recently and she gave me the ingredients listed above. Measurements? I improvised. Truth is, it depends on the amount of mashed potatoes you’re starting with. What I did is approximated below; you can scale according to your own amount of leftovers.

Thanksgiving dinner

Mashed potatoes

Today’s Leftovers Meal:
Italian Potato Pancakes

Italian Potato Pancakes
4 cups of mashed potatoes
2 cups of Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 egg
Olive oil for pan frying

Blend ingredients in a bowl. Heat olive oil in frying pan while you form pancakes. Pan fry on medium heat. Add additional oil if needed. Serve and enjoy (ketchup optional).

Leftovers Recipe: Bolognese Sauce

My biggest problem with leftovers is that I’m not always in the mood for the same dish the next day. Another issue: some food should not be reheated, like burgers. But because I try not to waste good food, I look for ways to re-invent.


Burgers made from chopped beef and chopped pork

Today’s leftovers meal:
Bolognese sauce

Bolognese Sauce
Leftover burgers
2 tbsp. olive oil
1-2 cans of whole tomatoes
1 clove of garlic
1 shallot
1 carrot
1 cup of mushrooms
1/4 cup red wine
Salt & pepper to taste

In a large pot, saute chopped garlic and shallot in olive oil

Add 1 cup of sliced mushrooms

Add a splash of red wine and simmer

Add whole tomatoes and chopped carrot

Add crumbled burgers

Simmer for at least 1 hour

Scoop onto your favorite pasta, season, and eat

Leftover Bonus: The leftover buns from the burgers were used as croutons in a salad. So simple: roughly cut pieces of bread tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and paprika then toast.