I am one of the few people in this world who does not love leftovers. Unless it is a soup that improves with age, leftovers just don’t really appeal to me. I love the pomp and circumstance of cooking a meal, making sure all of the components match, and then enjoying the meal in its entirety that night. The idea of eating the exact same thing the next day just doesn’t appeal to me.
You always thought I was high maintenance, didn’t you? You were right.
That’s why I am a huge fan of repurposing leftovers. Turning steak into sandwiches, making rice into kimchi bacon fried rice,and breaking up fish and mixing it with potatoes to turn it into savory fishcakes. If the seasonings are different and the presentation is something new, I’m not just eating leftover food to get rid of it. I’m preparing a whole new dish that I would never have thought to cook before.
The magical binder for most leftover ingredients is eggs.
Though sometimes you want something simple, there is nothing wrong with a kitchen sink frittata. This is a chance to literally use up whatever you have in your house – steak, fried potatoes, bits of cheese…think of this recipe as a guideline, not a set of rigid rules that must be enforced. The only must have add ins are cheese (for texture) and potato (because, really, potato is just wonderful). Anything else is totally up to you – make it vegetarian or meat lovers or anything in between. Additionally, this is perfect for using up ingredients that are about to go bad in the fridge.
Kitchen Sink Frittata
Leftover cheese (a good melting cheese is best – I like sharp cheddar or creamy fontina)
Leftover meat of some sort (steak, chili, carnitas, etc.) (or ground chicken/beef/sausage)
1 onion (or scallion or leeks), chopped or sliced
1 potato (any kind you like), scrubbed and sliced or cubed thinly (or leftover fried or baked potato)
Leftover vegetables(i.e. tomatoes, asparagus, corn, string beans, broccoli…whatever is lying around your fridge, waiting to go bad)
Leftover herbs (cilantro, basil, and rosemary are all great options) or dried herbs
Oil in which to sautee
Eggs to bind (2 or 3 per person)
Salt and pepper to taste (And any other seasonings you enjoy)
*If you are using all leftover ingredients, skip to step 4*
1. Cook onions in oil until slightly golden, in an oven safe pan.
2. Add cubed potatoes and any other vegetables that may need to be cooked (in my case, squash).
3. Add all other vegetables, meats, and herbs to hot pan and heat until it’s all heated through (in my case, chicken sausage, canned tomatoes with chiles and cilantro). Also, preheat the oven to 350 F.
4. Scramble eggs in a bowl, and add the seasonings and cheese you plan to use .
5. Add the eggs to the pan and evenly distribute. If you need to stretch the egg mixture, you can add some water. Once the eggs have dispersed in the pan, don’t stir at all.
6. Cook over medium high heat until the bottom has begun to set and the sides start to pull away from the pan.
7. Put the pan in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the eggs are totally cooked through.
8. Taste for seasonings and serve!
You can serve this hot or cold, for breakfast or dinner, with salad or bread or just some hot sauce. The best thing is that it will never taste the same. Try a Middle Eastern themed one, with ground lamb, dried cumin, and olives. Go for a French inspired one with tarragon, leftover diced ham, and shredded Gruyère cheese. Or, go for my Mexican creation, with diced sweet potatoes, cilantro, and chicken sausage. The only rule is to not overcook the eggs – the result should be creamy, not rubbery, but with enough body to be cut into wedges and still hold its shape.
And the result should also be delicious. Leftovers will never keep you down in the dumps again.