Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Waste Not, Want Not: ScrapPasta Salad and More

What to do with this week's leftovers:

Peppers, mushrooms and green onions (left over from making Chicken Primavera) are my favorite kind of leftovers because you can do so many things with them!  Saute and use for:
1.  French Dip Sandwiches
2.  Omelets
3.  Quesadillas or Fajitas
4.  Smothered steak or chicken
5.  Pizza topping (you don't even have to saute them for this)

Sausage (left over from making Sausage Swiss muffins):
1.  Just double the muffin recipe!
2.  Omelets
3.  Pizza topping
4.  Add to any potato dish

Here's a recipe that will help you use up more of your ingredients:

ScrapPasta Salad
2 cups leftover cooked pasta (any size and shape)
3/4 cup mild-flavored raw vegetable, shredded or finely diced (use carrots and/or broccoli from Easy Cheesy Broccoli Soup)
1/4 cup stronger-flavored raw vegetable, shredded or finely diced (use peppers and/or green onions from Chicken Primavera)
1/2 cup shredded cheese (any variety that you have left over)
1/2 cup salad dressing (not just Miracle Whip, but actual salad dressing, any flavor)

If using spaghetti or something similar in shape, cut it into shorter pieces.  (I just stick a kitchen scissors into the bowl and randomly chop it).  Mix all remaining ingredients together and refrigerate one hour before serving.

Options and Tips
  • I don't know about you, but I always overestimate the amount of pasta that I need compared to the amount of sauce I have available.  Therefore, I always have leftover cooked noodles.  If left alone, drained noodles will turn rubbery and hard very quickly.  To prevent that from happening, cover your leftover noodles with water immediately.  Keep them in water until you are ready to use them, then drain and follow the instructions for the salad.  I've left mine in water up to 3 hours and they were still not water-logged.
  • If using broccoli stems, be sure to peel them first.  Then shred instead of dice, because raw broccoli stems are pretty tough!
  • I made this last week (before I had red peppers or onions in the house), so here is the combination I used:  spaghetti noodles for the pasta, shredded carrots for the mild flavored vegetable, cheddar for the cheese, and ranch for the salad dressing.  Oh, yes, and my kids' favorite part?  Chopped dill pickle for the stronger-flavored vegetable.  I know, it sounds weird.  But if you like pickles, you'll like this version.  My family LOVED this combination and one of my kids even said "You HAVE to put this recipe on your blog, Mom!"
  • This make a very small batch, but remember, we're making it with leftovers, so there might not be very many ingredients available to use :)
  • Get creative with your ingredients!  There are all kind of unique salad dressings available that would add lots of flavor to this salad.

What are you doing with your leftover ingredients this week?

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