Shoestring Meals - Leftover "table scraps" recipe inspiration

03-11-2010, 04:28 PM
This isn't so much about saving money (since going to the restaurant in the first place is a splurge) as about frugality in general - efforts to be less wasteful (which can save money).

Yesterday hubby and I went to our favorite restaurant (a thai restaurant).

I took my leftovers home, even though I'd eaten all of the "good stuff" out of the stir fry, and what was left was a huge pile of lemongrass, ginger, cilantro, and onion. Things I consider "seasonings" more than foods, not really something you'd want to make a "meal" out of, but I took it home anyway - and used it as the base for a crockpot meal for today.

Last night, I put the leftovers in the crockpot, added four frozen chicken thighs, and some pork bones (no real meat left on them) leftover from a previous crockpot meal (pork and sauerkraut). I added two Pho Ga (chicken soup bouillon) cubes and 2 Knorr cilantro cubes (the Pho cubes I bought in an asian grocery store, and the cilantro bouillon cubes I found at Big Lots), added in two sad carrots (still good, but wouldn't have been much longer in the fridge), and cooked it all on low for about 12 hours.

The flavor is fabulous. Initially I was expecting hubby and I would just eat the chicken meat, but the broth turned out so well, that instead, we removed the bones, and shred the chicken meat and returned it to the pot for soup. As chicken it would have made about 3 servings. (hubby would have 2 thighs, I would have 1 and there'd be one left over for one of us to eat at another meal).

As soup, though it will make a lot more meals (we may have to freeze some).

It was so good though, that it's going to be hard to duplicate the seasonings myself. Luckily, the restaurant owner and only cook (it's a small restaurant) is becoming a really good friend, and she's offered to help me learn how to make thai and hmong food.

03-11-2010, 06:05 PM
I love creating from leftovers. Thanks for sharing.

03-11-2010, 09:41 PM
Good job! I think you should call it Thai stone soup :-) Start with nuthin' but a rock and feed the whole town. My grandma was the bestest cook in the whole wide world and she had a way with leftovers that made it a new meal every time. Your story reminds me of that. Thanks for the memories!


03-11-2010, 10:51 PM
I definitely learned "stone soup," something awesome from nothing, waste-nothing cooking from my own grandma.

It's funny that southeast asian foods would remind me so much of my polish-german grandma.

Jennifer 3FC
03-13-2010, 01:39 AM
Cilantro cubes? Wow, I've got to find some of those.

Nice idea about the Thai leftovers. We ate Thai last night and I left behind all the sauce, trying to think of what I could do with it. Then I left without asking for a takeout container. I'll remember next time!

03-13-2010, 01:52 AM
The cilantro cubes are awesome, and so are the chipotle cubes (also from Knorr). They come in a little 3" square boxes, and each contain 20 cubes. They look like regular bouillon cubes, but are a bit softer (with a little pressure they will crumble, which is really nice for adding them to sour cream and other semi-solid foods (where dissolving might otherwise be a problem).

The chipotle cubes are surprisingly hot though (I knew they'd be hot, but I was surprised that they were stronger than I expected).

03-14-2010, 12:34 AM
Where do you buy the cubes?


03-14-2010, 12:43 AM
The Pho Ga cubes I found at my local asian grogcery.

The cilantro cubes I found at Big Lots, and haven't seen them yet in another grocery store.

The chipotle cubes I found at a store sort of like Big Lots, but privately owned, but I've also seen them in regular grocery stores, with the other bouillon.

You can also buy Knorr products online in a lot of different online shops.

03-14-2010, 04:08 AM
Awesome job! My kitchen wastes nothing, too. Everything edible gets used, everything inedible gets washed and reused, and scraps become vegetable stock.