Cooking With Leftovers

When you refuse to waste food, sometimes the food you make gets really weird...

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Balsamic Black Bean Bacon Glaze (over Salmon)

My take on MysteryBox 3: salmon, bacon, Greek yogurt, black beans, rice, mint, basil, and balsamic vinegar..


Balsamic Black Bean Bacon Glaze (over Salmon)

Submitted to MasterChef by cookingwithleftovers

A balsamic vinegar reduction mixed with mashed black beans and bacon and then stirred together with a bit of Greek yogurt- makes for quite the salmon topping. It looks weird, but it is tart and salty and creamy and chunky and sweet! Good with salmon and over herbed rice..

Completely surprised us by its versatility.


  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 5 pieces of bacon
  • 1 cup canned black beans, drained
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup rice (& 1 cup water)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh herbs, chopped (basil and mint)
  • 2 salmon filets

Make the sauce: reduce the balsamic with the sugar over medium heat until halved. Smash up the beans and cook and dice the bacon, and then stir into the vinegar. Heat together for a few minutes on low, and then stir in the yogurt.

If you want to (highly recommended), cook the salmon in the bacon grease until done. Add spoonfuls of the sauce to the top of the salmon.

Cook the rice in the water and then stir in the herbs. Serve all together.

You WILL go back for seconds of that sauce. I did..

This was an easy one..

Just bought! Now I need to do something with it…

Asker riannanana Asks:
Had a ton of scallions that were about to go to waste, so I decided to use them to try out the garlic scape pancake recipe you posted. They came out so deliciously, and my whole family is obsessed! Thanks for posting :)
cookingwithleftovers cookingwithleftovers Said:

Excellent to hear! I am also obsessed… :)

Great way to use up the squash blossoms! Don’t waste them..

Cauliflower Cream Sauce

I don’t know why I did this.. My cauliflower was leftover from roasting a whole head, so it was a bit on the al dente side, and already spiced… Add leftover heavy cream about to expire, and here we go..

So many things you could do with this. Just spice it well.


  • 2 cups cauliflower (about a half head)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2-1 cup cooking liquid (pasta water or cauliflower water)
  • spices

Roast or boil the cauliflower until done. Puree up with the cream, garlic, and liquid- adding a little at a time until it is the consistency you want. The more cooked the cauliflower is, the less you will need.. (I needed the whole cup) Then spice to your liking and season well.

Mix into a pound of cooked pasta and other things you can find…

Strawberry Jam Pops

I love getting jam from my friends. You feel so special getting something so homemade.. But alas, I don’t really eat jam, so it starts to pile up.

Enter summer.. And popsicles!


  • 1 can homemade jam (1 cup-strawberry)
  • 1/2 cup coconut water (or just water)
  • 1 giant spoonful Greek yogurt (leftover from whole roasted cauliflower)
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh basil, diced

Mix together and pour into 4 popsicle molds. Freeze and then eat in the sun! Maybe while inside your backyard kiddie pool.

Spicy Cauliflower Head

Don’t judge me. I forgot about a whole head of cauliflower. And lets just say, it is so much fun to roast it whole, with a yogurt crust that gets crunchy golden. Mix in a little spice mix given to me from France, and you have a party.


  • 1 large cauliflower head
  • 1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt (about 1 1/2 of the small guys)
  • 2 tablespoons spicy spice mixture (seasoned salt!)
  • 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika

Mix the yogurt and spices. Trim the cauliflower leaves and stem and coat the yogurt all over the cauliflower. Roast at 400 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour until done. I like mine really done so I roast it on the long end..

Use your leftover Greek yogurt to make Strawberry Jam Pops or puree the leftover cauliflower to make Cauliflower Cream Sauce for your pasta!

Inspired by this Pure Wow Recipe.

Corn Scrambled Eggs

So much leftover corn spiked with smoky paprika. Meet eggs.


  • 1 egg
  • 1 pat of butter
  • 1 cup leftover corn
  • fresh herbs
  • smoked paprika

Scramble up the egg in the butter. Add in the corn and herbs. My leftover corn was already spiked with smoked paprika, but if yours isn’t, add it in.. Eat with tzatziki.

Garlic Scape Pancakes

A box of leftover garlic scapes on a neighbor’s porch and I made these cuties, like you would scallion pancakes - sprinkle on diced scapes, roll and coil the dough, smoosh down with your hand, and then roll out into pancake like form. When you fry them up, they are full of layered flaky buttery layers.. So good!


  • 5 garlic scapes, diced finely (about 1 cup)
  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 1 cup warm water
  • oil and salt

Mix the flour and water together and knead for a few minutes. Cover and let rest for an hour. Cut the dough into 4 pieces. Roll out each piece into a square, drizzle with oil, salt, and garlic scapes. Roll up into a snake, cut in half, and coil up. Roll out again into a circle (or smoosh down with your hand) and then fry up in some medium hot oil, flipping once.

Cut them into wedges and dip in a soy sauce vinegar mixture.

Makes 8. So good.

Go ahead, smoosh them down with your hand..

Inspired by the Kitchn’s Scallion Pancake recipe..


One of America’s literary greats has a holiday tip for you.

Mealy Mint Popsicles

These are not too sweet, and the pear makes them kind of chunky, but I love them, and it is perfect way to use up the last dregs of your fruit juices..

  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1/4 cup pink lemonade
  • 1 small pear
  • 2 tablespoons mint, chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon basil, chopped

Put it all into a blender til mushy, and then pour into 4 popsicle molds and freeze til morning. It will keep you cool.


Pumpkin Curry
submitted by cookingwithleftovers

This is a meal for a cold winter night. It just happens to be the dead of summer, but the pumpkin in this Master Chef Mystery Box beckoned for this dish to be made. The power is in the spice mixture. It is spicy but creamy and rich..


  • 1 pound chicken, cubed
  • 1/2 cup pearl onions, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1 can chicken broth (2 cups)
  • 1/2 can pumpkin puree (1 cup)
  • 1 cup fresh garbanzo beans, shelled
  • 10 grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 5 baby corns, halved
  • Spice mixture- 1 teaspoon curry powder, 1 teaspoon garam masala, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1/3 teaspoon chili powder

The chicken was on the bone so I cut it off and then into large cubes. Coat it in the spice mixture. Sweat the onions and jalapeno in some oil for a few minutes, then add the chicken and sear on medium high heat for 5 minutes.

Add in the pumpkin, stock, tomatoes, beans, corn, turn down the heat to medium low and cook for 15 minutes until thickened up a bit. Season well with salt and pepper to taste.

Either eat in a bread bowl (me) or over a bit of rice (Meg). Either way, garnish it with avocado and it will blow you away..

Box 2 items: chicken, pearl onions, grape tomatoes, jalapenos, garbanzo beans, black olives, pumpkin, baby corn, and chicken stock.

We just ate the olives for dessert.

Lentil Polenta Cakes

Leftovers from the box of Ingredients I got in the MasterChef Mystery Box. I made Shrimp & Grits Cottage Pie - made too many lentils and polenta, and here it is..

  • 1 cup lentils, cooked
  • 1 cup polenta, cooked
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
  • cooking oil

Mix it all together, form into small balls, and cook up into hot oil, turning after a few minutes. Eat with tzatziki- of course..


A fish to build a dream on.

Read more: How to Use Leftover Fish on Food52.

Don’t waste it…

Tater Tot Burrito

Those are tater tots from the bar. Sometimes I wrap things up in a napkin and then find things the next day.. Something about hash browns in a breakfast burrito can cure any hangover.


  • 10 tater tots
  • 1 egg, scrambled
  • 1 handful of greens
  • 1 handful of cheese, shredded
  • 1 tortilla
  • drizzle of hot sauce

Wrap it all up in a tortilla and then lay on the couch for a while..