Odds and End Meals

When cooking for one, you end up with a lot of leftovers especially if, like me, you make big pots of some dishes. When my freezer fills up to a certain point, I stop cooking and start putting together the odds and ends and come up with meals.

I try not to have too many desserts in my freezer, cause I snack when I’m bored, so I give away as much as I can of the more successful results. But this means I get stuck with some things that aren’t suitable for gifting. Like a tray of peach crumble bars that were mostly crumble and very little peach. A while back, I bought a clamshell of mostly bruised and tasteless peaches that I had to throw away. So I ended up with a lot less fruit than I needed … which I didn’t realize until I was in the middle of baking with nothing else to add in to make up the shortage. A bit of apricot jam (ran out of ice cream) is making the bars a bit more palatable, at least.

Right now, I’m adding soup as often as I can to my meals. Biscuits or bread are a good filler.

Of course, I DO make new dishes. I snagged a double package of sausage filled tortellini on sale and cooked one up in a blush sauce. On its own, the pasta dish isn’t very filling, and I didn’t have any greens for salad in the house, so I served it with a savoury plate of polenta.

The rest of the polenta was patted out into a buttered 8″ by 8″ glass dish and refrigerated, prior to being fried up as a base for a jarred spaghetti-pesto sauce.

Chicken drumsticks are often found on sale. A bit of Italian seasoning sprinkled on top and unattended baking time and you’ve got the start of a great meal.

A bit of barbecue sauce and a different starch, and you’ve got a new meal.

Things get a bit tight just before payday or in the case of supply teachers, with no paycheques for 3 months, so a tuna macaroni salad with pasta and canned tuna bought on sale is filling and tasty too. I’d usually throw some diced celery into my salad but in this case, diced raw carrots made for a nice, crunchy bite and a bit of colour too.

Whenever I have coleslaw in the house, I’m tempted to make okonomiyaki, a Japanese pancake. Another inexpensive and filling dish.


8 thoughts on “Odds and End Meals

    1. Me too … I made the last batch with chicken stock but my mom made hers with plain water and we used to pour some cold milk on top of the hot polenta in a bowl for breakfast. It was SO good.

    1. You can use water if you prefer.

      Cheesey Polenta – serves 4

      1 liter/4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
      1 cup polenta
      1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
      2 tbsp butter

      In a medium-sized saucepan heat chicken stock to boiling.

      Gradually add polenta, whisking as it is added. Be careful not to add it too quickly or polenta will be lumpy. Reduce heat to low and switch to a wooden spoon. Continue to stir periodically while the polenta thickens (about 25 mins). Make sure you scrape the bottom so it doesn’t stick and scorch. You want the polenta to start pulling away from the side as a sign it’s done.

      Take the polenta off the heat and stir in butter and parmesan cheese.

      Serve immediately.

      1. Serve polenta like pasta or rice … as a base for a saucy topping like spaghetti or meat sauce or a stew. Try a creamy mushroom sauce if you want something meatless.


        For a breakfast dish, like porridge, make it with water and a bit of salt and top with various stone fruits or berries or a granola or muesli mix.

        It cools and solidifies quickly so after you plate it you pour your toppings on and dig in. I’ve sprinkled brown sugar over the top and some cold milk and scooped it up too. 🙂

  1. I love using up leftovers but making them into something new an you’ve done a great job. You’re also quite the inspiration on living with one income and even less during the summer, your meals look delicious! Have you tried making gnocchi, it too is quite filling even if you top it with a simple tomato sauce. In Spain, they make an incredibly delicious omelet layered with thin slices of cooked potato, also very tasty.

    1. Thank you for your kind comments. I have tried making gnocchi but only once. They turned out ok if not particularly pretty. I can buy fresh gnocchi quite cheaply so I just buy a couple of packages when they’re on sale and throw them in the freezer. They’re great and I’ve used them in soups instead of potatoes or pasta. 🙂


      My Spanish potato tortilla was good but a little thin as I didn’t want to make too many potatoes.

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