What to make for dinner??….that’s usually the million dollar question! The 2 million dollar question begins with, “Oh crap, it’s 3 o’clock and I forgot to take something out of the freezer,” and ends with, “So what do I do with these leftovers??” I have 5 durmsticks leftover from dinner the other night and there are 6 people in this house. Oh yay…
I’m probably one of the worst offenders when it comes to throwing out leftovers. I save the leftover food, put in the fridge and usually forget about it, either that or someone says they will eat it for lunch the next day and that never happens. The other part of me has trouble figuring out what to do with leftovers. Finding clever ways to remake leftovers is mostly out of my control. I struggle with this. And I hate throwing away food…..it hurts….SERIOUSLY.
So in the last year I randomly discovered chicken pot pies. I think it started after Thanksgiving with a turkey pot pie. I took all the leftover ingredients, threw them in a pie shell, and it came out fabulously yummy. Pot pies are similar to quiches, you cannot really go wrong with them, you can put just about whatever you want in them and they come out yummy.
First tip, I try to keep these ingredients on hand most of the time because it makes it easy to throw leftovers into a pie or quiche when I’m in a pinch. Pie crusts are the first thing on my list. I like to make my own crusts sometimes if I have the time, or even if I don’t have any in the freezer I will whip some out, but it can be time consuming. With 4 children, time is not a luxury I can afford most of the time. Between cub scouts, girl scouts, soccer, riding lessons, math club, drama club, chorus performances, plays, awards ceremonies, well you get the picture…I just don’t have time sometimes for big meals. Simplicity is my lifestyle! In all honesty you really just dump all the ingredients in a pie shell and it will come out perfect but I will tell you how I do this.
1 (or 2) pie crusts- your choice
choice of meat leftovers
can or jar of gravy
bag of frozen mixed veggies
stuffing (a stick of butter, and chicken stock or broth to prep it)
This is how I roll my pie…Let’s begin!
Preheat the oven to 450. Then I roll out my pie crust and fold down the edges in whatever pretty way suits my mood. If I am rushed I will usually smush the edged with a fork, but the twisty thing looks nice for my blog today so it works right? 🙂 I won’t be using the top crust for this recipe so I can make the bottom crust the pretty one. Don’t forget to prick the crust with a fork all the way around the sides and bottom to keep bubbling to a minimum.
Place the crust in the oven for about 9-11 minutes, or until it’s just slightly golden. I hate pies with a mushy bottom crust. If you pre-bake them slightly this helps prevent that. While the crust is baking I prep my ingredients. I chop the chicken, precook the stuffing with butter and chicken stock—in the I use 1/2 to a whole stick of butter per half a bag of stuffing —I love buttery stuffing–mmmmm. Throw it in the nukelator —AKA microwave— for a minute or two and fluff with a fork until the mixture is kinda mushy. You almost want your stuffing a little mushy because it will get crunchy later, trust me.
You will also want to cook the veggies slightly. If the veggies are frozen and you don’t precook them they will come out a little crunchy. I usually put about half a bag of frozen veggies in a bowl, add a little bit of water—maybe a tablespoon or two, cover with saran wrap, and pop it in the nukelator for about a minute.
The pie shell should be done by now.
Turn the oven down to 400 after removing the pie crust.
Now I cover the bottom with my chopped up chicken and top it with about half a jar of chicken gravy. There is nothing like homemade gravy but this works in a pinch–something I keep in my stockpile on a regular basis. Then I sprinkle a bit of garlic powder over the gravy. YUM! We love garlic in this house. I always put garlic in my gravy.
Add the veggies and then the rest of the gravy and more garlic powder. Did I mention that we love garlic??
The next step is my favorite part, so I’m partial to say it is the YUMMIEST part….Cover the top with stuffing instead of a pie crust layer and pile it high!
Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the crust and stuffing look done and you can see the gravy a little bubbly through the stuffing (if you can).
Even my kids like it!
***Oh, and I made baked potatoes with it as you can see….a great side to put in the oven when you start this whole thing, they will bake during the whole process and be perfect when the pie is done too. You can even start them a little earlier if you like.
Looking at these pictures makes me hungry, I might just have to eat some of the leftover pot pie for lunch today. Yum!
What about you? Do you struggle with using leftovers up like I do? The people in this house get bored too easily and I have to keep a variety going. This has been just one way I have figured out how to make leftovers useful and also stretch a meal. Making just a few pieces of chicken into a meal for 6 people surely is a miracle! But I still struggle with it and constantly find myself chucking out unrecognizable items from the fridgeatater (yes, say it with me: fridge-a-tater, LOL- we might do things slightly different around here). Any tips for reusing leftovers for someone like me? What do you like to do with leftovers?