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Three Meals that Are Great for Leftovers

Three Meals that Are Great for Leftovers


   
Each of these three Plated recipes makes enough for two servings, plus enough for two servings of a leftover twist.
    

Creamy Polenta with Mushroom Ragoût

Using a mix of fresh and dried mushrooms in sauces and soups is ideal; fresh provide meaty texture and heartiness, while dried bring concentrated flavor, released when they’re reconstituted. You could use this ragoût over pasta, but we particularly like the way this dish can became an all-in-one leftover: Mix ragoût into polenta, let it harden, then fry it in olive oil. Enjoy it any time of day.

creamy polenta with mushroom ragout

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup dried porcini mushrooms
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1½ pounds mixed fresh mushrooms (we like cremini, oyster, and shiitake)
  • 2 shallots
  • ¼ bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups polenta
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

   
Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil over high heat. As soon as it comes to a boil, add the dried mushrooms, remove from heat, and soak for approximately 10 minutes.
     
  2. Meanwhile, strip the thyme leaves from the stems. Cut the fresh mushrooms into ¼-inch slices. Thinly slice the shallots. Roughly chop the parsley leaves.
     
  3. Drain the dried mushrooms, reserving the soaking liquid. Roughly chop and pat dry.
     
  4. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the dried and fresh mushrooms in a single layer and immediately season with salt and pepper. Cook without moving until beginning to crisp, 3-4 minutes. Add the butter, thyme, and shallots. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are tender and browning and the shallots are softened, approximately 5 minutes.
     
  5. Add the wine, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Increase the heat to medium-high and simmer until the wine is reduced by half, approximately 3 minutes. Add the reserved mushroom-soaking liquid to the pan and continue to simmer until reduced by half, 3-4 minutes longer. Reduce the heat to low and keep warm until ready to serve.
     
  6. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock, milk, and a large pinch of salt to a boil over high heat. As soon as the liquid is boiling, while whisking, slowly add the polenta. Immediately reduce the heat to as low as possible and whisk slowly and continuously until the polenta is tender and all the liquid has been absorbed (cooking time may vary; check package instructions). Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the cheese. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
     
  7. Taste the ragoût and add salt and pepper as needed. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the parsley.
     
  8. To serve, divide half the polenta evenly between two bowls and top with half the ragoût.

    
Note: Stir the remaining polenta and ragoût together to save as leftovers. Spread into an even layer in a medium baking dish and store, covered, in the fridge for up to 4 days.
     

Leftovers: Polenta Cakes with Fried Eggs

polenta cakes with fried eggs

Ingredients

  • Leftover polenta with mushroom ragoût, chilled
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

   
Directions

  1. Cut the chilled polenta into 3-inch squares. In a large nonstick pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the polenta cakes in a single layer and cook until browned and warmed through, approximately 3 minutes per side. Remove and set aside.
       
  2. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the same pan over medium heat. Crack the eggs into the pan and season with salt and pepper. Fry without moving until the whites are set, 2-3 minutes. Slide the fried eggs over the polenta cakes and eat hot.

   
Cheffy Nugget: Polenta has two possible textures: creamy and delicious or totally solid. Make sure you have everything else ready before beginning to cook the polenta; you’ll want to eat it as soon as it comes off the stove.

   

Garlicky Shrimp Stir-Fry with Shiitakes and Bok Choy

Rice is pretty much the perfect leftover—in fact, we love purposely making too much, just so we can repurpose it the next day. The steamed rice in this stir-fry is perfect for mopping up sauce, but once the rice dries out, it’s no longer a moisture sponge. In the leftover fried rice dish, it crisps up, becoming the star feature.

garlicky shrimp stir-fry

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups jasmine or basmati rice
  • 2½ cups water
  • 4 baby bok choy
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 pound shiitake mushrooms
  • 1-inch knob fresh ginger
  • ½ cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp. mirin
  • 2 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • ½ tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1½ pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

   
Directions

  1. In a medium pot, combine the rice, water, and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as the water comes to a boil, stir once, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 12 minutes, covered, then remove from the heat. Keep covered and allow to steam for at least 10 minutes.
     
  2. While the rice cooks, cut the bok choy crosswise into ½-inch slices, keeping the leaves and stalks separate. Mince the garlic. Stem the shiitakes and thinly slice the caps. Peel and mince the ginger. In a small bowl, whisk together the stock, cornstarch, and mirin.
     
  3. In a large pan, heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the bok choy stalks and shiitakes, spreading into a single layer. Season with salt and pepper. Cook without moving until starting to brown on the bottom, 2-3 minutes. Stir and cook until softening, 2-3 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper, garlic, ginger, and bok choy leaves and stir to combine. Cook until fragrant, approximately 1 minute. Season the shrimp on both sides with salt and pepper. Add to the vegetables and cook until just pink, 1-2 minutes per side.
     
  4. Push all the ingredients to the outer edges of the pan. Pour the stock mixture into the center, and simmer until thickened, approximately 2 minutes. Stir everything together to combine and coat, then remove the pan from the heat. Taste the stir-fry and add salt and pepper as needed.
     
  5. Uncover the rice and fluff with a fork. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

    Note: Before serving, set aside half the rice and half the stir-fry to use as leftovers. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

     
  6. To serve, top the rice with the stir-fry.

 

Leftovers: Shrimp Fried Rice with Egg

Ingredients

  • Leftover shrimp and vegetable stir-fry
  • 3 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • Leftover cooked rice
  • ½ tablespoon soy sauce
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  
Directions

  1. Chop the leftover shrimp into bite-size pieces.
     
  2. In a large nonstick pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil over medium heat. Beat the eggs in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. When the oil is shimmering, add the eggs and scramble, 2-3 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
     
  3. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons sesame oil to the pan and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add all the leftovers—chopped shrimp, vegetables, and rice—and cook, stirring, until warmed through and the rice begins to crisp, approximately 5 minutes. Drizzle with the soy sauce and return the eggs to the pan. Stir to combine, approximately 1 minute.

Spaghetti Squash Ragù

Spaghetti squash gets its name from the thin, pasta-like strands that are pulled out of it after roasting. Don’t be fooled by its size; it makes an unexpectedly enormous amount of food—ideal for leftovers! This and the leftovers recipe are two of our favorite preparations, but there’s ample opportunity for you to invent your own.

spaghetti squash ragu

Ingredients

  • 2 small or 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • ½ Tbsp. tomato paste
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1 cup beef or chicken stock
  • ¼ cup grated pecorino or
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

   
Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
     
  2. Halve the spaghetti squash lengthwise. Using a large spoon, scoop out and discard the seeds. Drizzle the cut sides with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Arrange cut-side down on the lined baking sheet and roast until browning along the edges and very tender, approximately 35 minutes.
     
  3. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the beef, season with salt and pepper, and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until the meat loses its color, 8-10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to a medium bowl and discard any liquid from the pan.
     
  4. Meanwhile, halve the carrots lengthwise and slice them crosswise. Dice the onion. Strip the thyme leaves off the stems. Mince the garlic. Drain the tomatoes.
     
  5. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the same pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the carrots, onion, thyme, garlic, crushed red pepper, and oregano. Sauté until the onion is soft and translucent, approximately 5 minutes. Return the meat to the pan. Add the tomato paste and stir to combine. Cook until brick red, approximately 2 minutes. Add the red wine and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until reduced by half, approximately 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and stock. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the ragù is thickened and the flavors are melded, approximately 15 minutes.
     
  6. While the ragù simmers, when the spaghetti squash is cool enough to handle, use a large fork to pull and release the spaghetti-like strands into a large bowl. 

    Note: Set aside half the shredded spaghetti squash to use as leftovers. Cover and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
     
  7. Add the spaghetti squash to the ragù and stir to combine. Cook until warmed through and beginning to soak up the sauce, 2-3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheese. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
     

Leftovers: Spaghetti Squash with Pine Nuts and Parmesan

spaghetti squash with parmesean

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup pine nuts 
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 6 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano
  • ¼ cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • Leftover shredded spaghetti squash
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  
Directions

  1. In a medium pan, spread out the pine nuts in a single layer and cook over medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until fragrant and toasted, approximately 5 minutes. Transfer the pine nuts to a small bowl.
     
  2. Meanwhile, mince the garlic and roughly chop the parsley leaves.
      
  3. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the garlic, crushed red pepper, and oregano. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, approximately 1 minute. Stir in the spaghetti squash and stock. Simmer until the pan is almost dry and the squash is warmed through, 3-5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the Parmesan. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Serve garnished with the toasted pine nuts and parsley.

 

plated book cover

Reprinted from Plated. Copyright © 2016 by Dine in Fresh, Inc., d/b/a Plated. Photographs copyright © 2016 by Robert Bredvad. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.


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Elana Karp joined Plated, a subscription meal delivery service, in 2012. Suzanne Lehrer Dumaine joined Plated in 2013. Together, they have written more than 1,500 recipes for Plated.

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