Q: We have company staying with us for a while and he doesn’t eat leftovers! EVER! So how do I hide the fact that we are having leftovers? It is very expensive to cook from scratch every meal and never reheat something. I thought he didn’t like dinner leftovers but would reheat them for lunch but NO. I know that a cooked chicken can become chicken soup but what do you do with left over Ziti or left over potato salad! At first I was freezing them thinking that my husband and I would bring them lunch or eat them once he was gone, but now I’ve got a freezer full of leftovers and he is will us for another 2 months! Any help would be helpful. I did make less food so there were no leftovers but then he complained that there were no seconds helping. I want to show hospitality but it’s getting to me now.
A: Wow! Guests should never voice dislike of a host's offerings, except in cases of food allergies. Let's think of a strategy to keep your food budget intact, while making your guest feel comfortable. Perhaps our readers will chip in their advice in the comments, too.
Foods like potato salad and pasta salad are near-impossible to re-invent. Off the top of my head, I suggest cooking basic vegetables for dinner side dishes and then re-inventing the leftovers into composed side dishes for another meal. While you can't turn potato salad into twice-baked mashed potatoes later, starting with baked potatoes the night before lets you have hashed browned potatoes the next morning. Steamed carrots with ginger at dinner become a marinated cold salad of carrot rounds, red onion, and cucumber slices the next day. Sauteed spinach from last night's steak dinner becomes spinach quiche for lunch; steamed broccoli becomes a broccoli rice salad. You may also find some ideas in our Iron Chef Mom cook-off menus.
My strategy: begin with plain meats and vegetables, then make casseroles, salads, or egg dishes with the remaining meats and vegetables. I hope he'll be so wowed by your creative menus, he won't notice the repeated ingredients!