My family is not big into soups. I like soups, but not too frequently. My husband even less so. Therefore, all of those 'cheap meals' cookbooks have huge sections I don't use. However, I tried something last night that might be a new breakthrough for me.
My husband is a meat and potato man. So, we eat a lot of meat and potatoes in various concoctions and contortions and whatever. He also only likes leftovers once. Well, okay - new challenge. I know that soup is a cheap meal, and the idea of soup of leftovers is catchy among tightwads like me. But if the family does not like soup, what do you do --make hash!
Easy Leftover Hash
Veggies (fresh and leftover cooked)
Diced Potatoes (about 1 cm so they cook quickly)
Put potatoes in skillet with a little olive oil and cook for about 10 minutes until they are almost tender, and any veggies (I like to add additional onion, celery, carrot, green pepper, etc - whatever I have that I don't want to spoil in the fridge), let those cook a couple of more minutes then dice up what ever meat you had leftover (yes, you can do this with meatloaf and meatballs, and even taco meat, just run a bit of hot water over them to rinse old sauce/seasoning off.). Add the cooked meat and cooked leftover veggies toward the end. Stir until all is hot and potatoes are completely done.
At this point, you can do several things: 1) serve as a dry hash, 2) make a little gravy in the pan with it ( or add some cream of whatever soup you want) and serve it over old homemade bread (soaks up gravy), or 3) top it with cheese and serve.
There are a few things to keep in mind when doing this:
1) match your flavors well - leftover taco meat does better for a soutwestern style hash, so go with those flavors; same for meatballs and italian, meatloaf chunks (minus the tomato topping) do well in a swiss style hash, etc, etc.
2) experiment and write down what you did and how your family reacted
3) this same concept can be applied to making it a hamburger/chicken helper style meal, your meat and veggies additives are just already done for you.
Let me know if you come up with any 'rock star' dishes