(10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare)
By Lisa Messinger
Food and Cooking at Creators Syndicate
Labor Day leftovers can keep the workload manageable. Surprisingly, summer leftovers rival those from Thanksgiving feasts. Sure, turkey is tried and true as a holiday extender, but the creativity possible with warm weather favorites, like hot dogs, hamburgers, corn-on-the-cob, fruit salad and ice cream, will give you additional time off from cooking the following day.
Fun fare like this also proves food preparation can be easy, nutritious, inexpensive - and fast. The creative combinations are delicious proof that everyone has time for creating homemade specialties and, more importantly, the healthy family togetherness that goes along with it!
Tightly cover and refrigerate all of your goodies until you are ready to prepare the leftovers within 24 hours. All ingredients are to taste. Here are some innovative ideas for your time off from meal prep.
- HOT DOG HELP FOR BREAKFAST
Slice leftover cooked hot dogs and carefully saute in olive oil with sliced green and red bell peppers, red onions and a pressed clove of garlic before using as a filling for a cooked omelet.
- KICK START FOR CASSEROLE
Gently mix all of these cooked leftovers: sliced hot dogs, broken-up bits of hamburgers, chunks of barbecued boneless chicken, baked beans and shucked corn. Combine with your favorite casserole recipe before baking.
- PICK THIS POTATORemove flesh from leftover baked potatoes, mash and mix with leftover shucked grilled corn-on-the-cob, black pepper, garlic powder, chopped chives and butter. Heat until hot.
- TUTTI-FRUTTI SALAD
Place leftover summer fresh fruit salad on a baking sheet and sprinkle with brown sugar. Heat in oven at desired temperature until caramelized, making sure it doesn't burn. Let cool. Prepare a spinach salad foundation, top with the cooled caramelized fruit and drizzle with homemade or store-bought yogurt dressing.
- SMOOTH ICE CREAM IDEA
In a blender container, add multiple flavors of leftover frozen ice cream, decaffeinated freeze-dried coffee crystals, uncooked one-minute whole oats, almonds, sugar-free chocolate syrup and enough ice to provide desired thickness when blending is completed.
QUICK TIP OF THE WEEK: Daphne Oz, co-host of TV's "The Chew," knows that sometimes just a simple touch is all it takes to hit a home run with an everyday meal. That's why she adds truffle salt to her roast chicken, coconut and mango to her pancakes and makes her quesadillas taste like Philly cheesesteaks in The Happy Cook: 125 Recipes for Eating Every Day Like It's the Weekend. The key is that every one of the handfuls of ingredients in each easy recipe is irreplaceable and balances expertly with the others.
Lisa Messinger at Creators Syndicate is a first-place winner in food and nutrition writing from the Association of Food Journalists and the National Council Against Health Fraud and author of seven food books, including the best-selling The Tofu Book: The New American Cuisine with 150 Recipes (Avery/Penguin Putnam) and Turn Your Supermarket into a Health Food Store: The Brand-Name Guide to Shopping for a Better Diet (Pharos/Scripps Howard). She writes two nationally syndicated food and nutrition columns for Creators Syndicate and had been a longtime newspaper food and health section managing editor, as well as managing editor of Gayot/Gault Millau dining review company. Lisa traveled the globe writing about top chefs for Pulitzer Prize-winning Copley News Service and has written about health and nutrition for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Reader's Digest, Woman's World and Prevention Magazine Health Books. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.