This weekend was perfect for a cookout and if you are anything like me you tend to over-buy and over-prepare food to feed your hungry guests. This year instead of wasting that burger patty, tossing the extra buns, or letting those chicken wings go stale in your fridge why not use the leftover ingredients for an entirely new meal! Also remember that your freezer is your friend. If you think you may be having another cookout go ahead and freeze the uncooked meats and even the buns for next time. Here are a few ways to get a second life out of your leftovers.
*Already cooked hamburgers, baked beans, and corn on the cob are all traditional cookout food fare. Instead of just throwing out the extras you have the makings for a delicious pot of chili. Simply crumble up the beef and cut the corn off of the cob. Add the beef, tomato juice, diced tomatoes, a packet of chili seasoning, a diced onion, the corn, and the leftover baked beans to a large pot or dutch oven. Bring to a boil and let simmer!
*Leftover hamburger and hotdog buns: If you are already making the chili these would be perfect to use to make peanut butter sandwiches to go along with the chili. Another great way that I’ve found to use any leftover bread product is by making homemade croutons for salads or soups. Simply cube up the leftover bread. In a separate bowl mix together melted butter, oregano, salt, pepper, and parsley flakes. Quickly toss in the bread cubes as to not completely soak them. Spread onto a cookie sheet and bake until crispy.
* Chicken wings: Since chicken is such a widely used ingredient the list of dishes that you can come up with using leftover chicken is limitless but I thought I would share one of my favorite ways to use the leftover chicken with minimal effort. Before I even store the chicken in my refrigerator I pull all of the chicken off the bone and shred it. For dinner the next night I simply put them in a tortilla with cheese and peppers then microwave them for a quick chicken fajita. Top with any leftover lettuce or tomatoes that you had from the night before!
* Leftover cookies: While it certainly takes a lot of self restraint to not just finish off the remaining cookies there is an alternative. Use a clean pepper grinder and place any crispy cookies broken up into pieces inside. This makes for the perfect ice cream topping for the kids!