The Trouble with Left Overs

I hate left overs.  This is no secret from anyone who has spent any time living under a roof with me.  I don’t know why.  I can’t articulate the reason, but if I try, maybe it’s to do with eating the same meal twice in a row–something we did often when I was a kid.  I just can’t stomach the idea of them.  When I was younger, I would ask, “What’s for dinner?”  My mother, who was an infinitely busy working mom, would reply, “Left overs.”  My stomach would turn. All of a sudden I would lose my appetite. (As a teenager, I thought it was a great diet plan.  Incidentally, it’s not.).

I’m also not a proponent of wastefulness.  I don’t like the idea of letting anything go to waste.  I am fully aware that there are others who do not have the opportunity to worry with left overs.  I realize this is very much a “first world” problem.

When I earned my own household, I tried to learn to cook for the number of people I had for dinner.  This would automatically solve the left over problem. This proved challenging.  The women who helped me learn to cook (my mother and grandmother) were always cooking for large crowds.  Many of my early lessons occurred early Sunday mornings before church preparing a meal for eight to twenty people depending on the Sunday.  When I began cooking for myself in college, it was for dinner parties of eight or more, so when Jedidiah and I were married, I had to learn to cook for two. We constantly had left overs.  My new husband didn’t mind, but I did.  With a family of four, I still haven’t quite mastered this art.  We still have left overs.

Left overs generally aren’t a problem during the school year.  Jedidiah or the kids will take them to school or work. Thankfully, my children do not seem to suffer from the same “left over” queasiness that I do. So during the fall and spring, we go through tupperware containers fairly quickly.  But in the summer, they start to take over the refrigerator. This week it’s a huge aluminum foil container.

For the 4th of July, Jedidiah smoked some amazing meats.  He doesn’t get to do this very often although it’s a favorite hobby.  We had brisket, sausage, ribs, and turkey.  It was delicious.  We feasted, and even invited the neighbors, who were in the process of moving, to join us.  Despite, the numerous mouths we fed, we still had so much left over.  Ugh!  As much as I love BBQ, I can’t eat it that many times in a row. I have to think of creative ways to entice myself not to waste so much food.  That’s when my BBQ variations menu came into play.  While I hate left overs, I enjoy reinventing them.

I’ve used the left overs to make nachos, tacos, burritos, burrito bowls, mac ‘n cheese, enchiladas, etc.

Tonight, I’m making BBQ pizza.  It’s Jedidiah’s favorite way for me to reuse left overs.

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I’ve already placed my dough ingredients in the processor.  I start by adding one package of active dry yeast, 1 teaspoon of salt, and a tablespoon of sugar.  I then add 2/3 cup of warm water.  I pulse this in the processor for 10 seconds.  Then I pour 1/4 cup of olive oil and add 2 cups of flour to the mixture.   I pulse until the dough is smooth.  I used to knead my dough, but I found using the processor makes that unnecessary.  I get soft, tender dough in a smaller amount of time.  This is a plus during the school year.

I oil the bowl with some of the olive oil and place the dough in it.  I always cover it with a kitchen towel.  I wet it with warm water first.  I don’t know why it works, but I’ve never had dough or bread fail when I do it this way.  An hour later, this is what it looks like:

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I’ve chopped up my meat already.  I have turkey, brisket, and sausage.  I roll out the dough and place it on my Pampered Chef stoneware pizza dish where I have sprinkled some corn meal.  I have used pizza stones, pans, and direct racks for baking pizza.  The Pampered Chef stoneware gives the best results for crust.  Then I brush it with barbecue sauce.  I used Jedidiah’s homemade sauce this time.

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Then, I bake it at 450 degrees for about twelve minutes.

It’s a hit with the whole family, but especially this one–

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Left Over BBQ Pizza

For the dough:

1 package active dry yeast                       2/3 cup warm water

1 tsp salt                                                   1/4 cup olive oil

1 TBSP sugar                                            2 cups all-purpose flour

Toppings:

Various chopped BBQ meats—I used, smoked turkey and chopped brisket)

1 medium red onion, chopped

Favorite BBQ sauce (I used Mr. Smith’s homemade sauce)

Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated

Directions:

Place yeast, salt, sugar, and water in the bowl of a processor fitted with a dough attachment.  Pulse for 10 seconds.  Add olive oil and flour (1 cup at a time).  Pulse until smooth.  Remove dough and place in a slightly oiled ball.  Cover and allow to rise for 1-2 hours.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Dust stoneware or pizza pan with corn meal.   Roll out the dough as thin or thick as you like it. (You’ll have to adjust cooking times depending on thickness).  We like ours thin.  Brush the dough with barbecue sauce of your choice.  Top with meat and cheese.  Bake for 10-15 minutes until crust is golden brown.  Serves 4.

Tomorrow it’s definitely going to be brisket topped Mac ‘n Cheese.

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