I always say make food in bulk and then if you’ll have left overs. I love left overs, but only so many days in a row. You can’t eat the same food all the time, and to humor Ira who doesn’t like left overs at all, I try to recreate and remix them into something else. Last month, I talked about how I reused marinara and kielbasa into a couple meals. Making over left overs is a great way to save time and not waste food or money. So I decided to introduce a monthly post title “Left Over Remix” to chronicle quick ways to avoid the leftover blues.
Hummus and pita cut into triangles for the halloween party.
For this left over remix, I wanted to do something with the large amount of hummus and pita left over from the halloween party. I had about one whole bag of pita triangles going stale and two cups of hummus which we were totally sick of snacking on.
Here in Chicago, the weather has totally turned cold so I immediately thought of soup. A lentil soup would do nicely for taking care of the old hummus.
To deal with the pita, I started thinking of recipes good for stale bread. I just made the Zingerman’s Chicken dinner which uses stale bread for a stuffing so that was out. I then thought about bread pudding, but I wanted something savory. Remembering the Cheese Strata we made for our Oktoberfest Brunch, a casserole made of stale bread soaked in milk, I decided to fuse this recipe with a spinach pie concept to make a strata spanikopita.
For my soup I knew I wanted a richly spicy flavor which could be offset with a creamy citrus flavor hinting at the hummus. Toasted aniseed with caramelized onions and bacon give a nice solid base to the soup. A friend had given me a bag of pears, so I threw in a couple with the red lentils to stew giving a subtle sweetness. When the lentils were cooked and falling apart, I added the left over hummus, the juice from 2 lemons and some milk to finish off with some tang. I was very happy with the complex flavors brought out in the soup. Here is the recipe.
My strata was concocted by mixing the pita triangles with diced onion, a bag of frozen spinach, half lb of feta and a 1/2 c. Parmesan. To this I added a mixture of eggs, milk, lemon juice and spices to soak into the stale pita. The strata was topped with strips of old filo dough from the freezer. When serving, I squeezed a little fresh lemon juice on top to add a little extra tang.
Both the spinach pie strata and the lentil soup made for a delicious meal for a cold night. I didn’t really need much from the store except some lemons and we were able to transform some lousy left overs into a delicious new dinner.