When life gives you leftovers . . .

Driven in equal parts post-holidays purge, early spring cleaning and the desire to cook more frugally this year, I’ve been cleaning out the fridge and cooking up a storm lately. No artichoke, beet, or cube of smoked salmon is safe from my sauces, slowly simmered then stacked in the freezer. My taco/bean dip with leftover ground beef and a can of pinto beans was a miss; it needed some heat and was over-seasoned with powdered chile molido. A salad made from roasted beets, toasted pine nuts, and goat cheese, on the other hand, was a nice meal.

I even made leftovers from leftovers – this was the evening friends came over for a post-holiday holiday celebration of homemade ravioli. Figuring we could make do with whatever I had on hand, I made one filling from the end of a frozen bag of artichoke hearts, the last half of a yellow onion, and the end of the cream cheese, with a sprinkle of saffron for good measure. Another filling from a lonely Italian sausage, no-longer-white mushrooms, bit of garlic, and the end of the ricotta. It felt like my own personal Chopped challenge. We didn’t need as much as I made of course. The next day I combined the two with a can of diced tomatoes and called it pasta sauce. Half for dinner and half in the freezer, a future quick meal in the bank.

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