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Old 03-07-2006, 12:51 AM   #1
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Good leftovers

Hey everyone

So here I am a college student and on the road to being a vegetarian. When I cook up normal meals, they last for so long because they make a lot of food, which isn't always a bad thing, but it is when they start to go bad. What I am wondering is if anyone here has recipes for food that can be easily frozen or preserved somehow. I wouldn't mind some advice on what types of foods can be frozen and preserved, or just general guidelines, either.

I recently picked up "Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites," and "The Essential Book of Pasta and Noodles," but like I mentiond before the pasta recipes are always for a pound of pasta and I don't know how (or even if it's possible) to re-heat or re-use cooked and refridgerated pasta. I want to make everything in the moosewood cookbook but I'm just not sure how to preserve the leftovers.

Thanks much!

brad

edit: I thought of a couple more things. Is halfing a recipe just as easy as doubling one? Also, is there a dish that requires basically everything? heh because I also end up with half a bell pepper here and a quarter of an onion and some basil and a little cilantro and this and that, but I don't know what to do with it! Naturally being in the low-income situation I am in, I would like to waste as little as possible.

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Old 03-07-2006, 05:06 AM   #2
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Of course halving (or quartering etc) the recipe is easy. Solves your leftovers problem.

Almost any meal can be frozen, some better than others. If you make a pasta sauce (such as a tomato or bolognaise sauce) then you can easily freeze any leftover sauce ready to be thawed and reheated for another meal. It is best if you do not freeze the pasta and sauce already combined, it works much better with reheated sauce and freshly cooked pasta.

Quote:
I don't know how (or even if it's possible) to re-heat or re-use cooked and refridgerated pasta
Throw it in the microwave and zap it till its hot, helps if you give it a stir a couple of times halfway through the heating process. If you don't have a microwave the pasta is easily heated up in a pot on the stove (particularly if it was stored with a sauce). If you are just heating up plain pasta I suggest putting a small amount of oil in the pot to prevent it from sticking as it heats up.

Quote:
Also, is there a dish that requires basically everything? heh because I also end up with half a bell pepper here and a quarter of an onion and some basil and a little cilantro and this and that, but I don't know what to do with it!
You don't always have to follow a recipe, or include all the ingredients the recipe calls for. If you have leftover raw ingredients feel free to experiment and improvise and create your own dishes.

One of the best things you can do when you first start out cooking it to read all different types of recipes. They give you a base to start from so you can say 'I have X and Y I know they go together because they are always in recipes together' until the time comes when you know from your own experience what will go together well.
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Old 03-07-2006, 05:21 AM   #3
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you do the pasta by yourself? I fyou use the ones from the supermarket, just cook less....
pasta sauce can be frozen, that is no Problem... why not make a great amount of sauce and freeze it in small portions, so you can take out what you need an reheat.
It is also possible to freeze cooked pasta, did this a few times, but the taste is not like fresh cooked..

you ask for what types of food can be frozen... almost everyone I think.. some cheese doesn't come out as good as before.. and some food may loose a bit of taste due to reheating....
you should probably try it... just with a small amount, so if doesn't work it's not that bad

and with the raw leftovers I agree with Haggis... if you know you don't need it within the next few days just use everything.... btw. raw bellpepper tastes very great.. just like at itself or with a dip... this can also be made with leftover raw carrots, some cabbages, celery etc...
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Old 03-07-2006, 05:51 AM   #4
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refrigerate/freeze pasta that's already cooked? NO... so highly NOT recommended... it may be still edible if you are not picky but freshly cooked pasta is so much better and after all, it doesn't take that much time or effort to boil some pasta, just conserve the sauce or condiment and cook the pasta as needed by portion before the dinner time.

Surely you can adjust the amount, halving or 1/3-1/4ing the given amount of ingredients are just as the same as doubling, they may cook faster depending on the recipe. Until you get used to it, monitor the process of cooking attentively and check on the doneness instead of relying on the given cooking time blindly.

I wouldn't worry about the half of an onion or some other vegetables or herbs left over, as you expand your repatoire, there will always be something to do with them the day after. And you can start expanding the repatoire by searching for recipes that utilize those leftovers. Also another idea is chopping or slicing up lots of the vegetables then freeze them, you can take them out as needed and cook a portion of whatever you feel like without worrying about having them go bad, also this method is very handy as usually prepping is the most time consuming part in cooking. (when you freeze vegetables, cook them directly instead of defrosting before cooking. When they get defrosted they tend to lose the texture and the "freshness".)

Don't worry about every single little details, don't be afraid of improvising or experimenting... many of us learned our cooking this way, and if something doesn't work out every now and then, don't let you get all demoralized... it happens to all of us and you have learned a lesson for the next time. Have fun, and if there are more questions, there will always be someone to help out in this forum...
Good luck and buon appetito!!
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Old 03-07-2006, 08:27 AM   #5
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Use the recipes as a guide, but feel free to use more or less than what it calls for. After all, if a recipe calls for half an onion, you have no idea how much that really is. Sure it might say half a large onion, but one persons large onion is anothers medium. Feel free to use a whole pepper even if it calls for a half. Play with the recipes as they are really just guidlines.
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Old 03-07-2006, 05:57 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the replies! :)

I think I'm starting to get to the point where I can just throw things together, but I'm not quite there yet. I didn't think of halfing recipes until recently so I have always made enough food for about a week. Since I only have to cook once or twice a week I don't get too much experience.

Microwaving pasta? hm...I tried it once and it was basically disgusting. Also I saw on "Everyday Italian," that Italians (maybe you can help me out here urmaniac13) never microwave pasta; if they have leftover spaghetti they put olive oil in a skillet and cook it up - spghetti di fritatta, or something italian like that

I was also wondering if there is a big difference between fresh herbs and dried herbs? same for fresh ground spices and not? Would I be fine using mostly dried herbs and pre-ground spices?

Thanks

brad
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Old 03-07-2006, 06:27 PM   #7
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Yeah there is a big difference between fresh and dried herbs, but that does not mean that dried herbs are bad. One difference with them is that generally fresh herbs are added at the end of cooking or even after cooking, but dried should usually be added at the begining of cooking. Also you usually need less dried than you do fresh.
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Old 03-08-2006, 06:21 AM   #8
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Quote:
if they have leftover spaghetti they put olive oil in a skillet and cook it up - spghetti di fritatta, or something italian like that
Great dish. Take any left over pasta, fry in oil till sorta crispy then dump in a few beaten eggs and any other trimmings you might want then cook till the egg has set (either on the stove with a lid over the frypan, or whack it under a grill or into a preheated oven).
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Old 03-08-2006, 10:49 AM   #9
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Hi, Phantom, Urmaniac has told me that may be you are interested in this...

In Milano, there are two nice recipes, practically similar, one with egg, the other without.
Add to the old yellow rice (enough for..two persons?) three beaten eggs and mix.
Put them in a large pan with about 70 gr. butter, and fry it. When in underside you have a good light brown color, revolve it, and fry covered for the same result. You can add inside everything you like. You can make it with no eggs: in this case, more butter, and a low flame: at the end you must obtain the same shape and consistance.
Oh, with eggs....You can make the same with pasta.


Pay attention: if you use spaghetti in the whole size, perhaps you can break them.
For us, is better you fry spaghetti AND beaten eggs together. This generally means that you avoid the crispy...

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