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On Sunny Lane: Leftovers are the Best

There is nothing to surpass leftovers for ease in meal planning and preparation. When you live in a one- or two-person household, having leftover food is inevitable..

Some people don't believe in using and eating leftovers. That's their loss. Are they lazy, or what? Some things taste better the second time around. Take vegetable soup, for example. That extra time the vegetables spend blending their flavors when they are reheated makes them even tastier.

Of course, some leftovers are just fine reheated just the way they are, such as lasagne or soup. Others make ingredients for a new dish. After all, what do you do with a handful of noodles, a spoonful of vegetables and half a chicken breast? You make a cream sauce or a cheese sauce and turn it into a casserole, that's what you do.

I have a recipe in my recipe box that I have been wanting to try and I thought I had the leftover ingredients to make it. It was called broccoli rice casserole.

It called for 1 small onion, chopped; 1/2 cup celery (the recipe didn't say it should be chopped, but I thought it was a good idea); 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped broccoli; 1 tbsp. butter or margarine; 1 jar (8 ounces) process cheese spread; 1 can (10 3/4 ounce) cream of mushroom soup; 1 can (5 ounce) evaporated milk; 3 cups cooked rice. First of all, I didn't have three cups of rice, I had two, so that is what I used. After all, I didn't want to have too much casserole and Sweetheart and I would need to eat it for a week. And, I didn't have broccoli, but I had leftover cauliflower, so I used that. And I threw in the spoonful of cooked carrots that would have spoiled otherwise.

I thought I could eliminate an ingredient if I used cheese soup in place of the process cheese spread and mushroom soup. Turns out I had no cheese soup, so I had to use mushroom soup, after all. I even threw in the few mushrooms that were sitting in a little bowl in the refrigerator. Then I added the remainder of shredded sharp cheese and colby cheese that were in the bottom of the bags. And since I don't keep evaporated milk on hand, I used whole milk, straight from the jug. I am nothing, if not flexible.

It made a nice casserole that Sweetheart and I enjoyed. In fact, it made enough for two meals. The second day, all I needed to do was put it in the oven and reheat it. It saved a lot of work.

I think I'll make that casserole again some day--and use broccoli.


Dorothy is the author of two books—“Miles and Miracles” and “Getting It All Together “. You can purchase a book or make a comment by emailing her at

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