Rescuing Leftovers: Maude & Jake’s Diner

I hope you’ve had a chance to try Emergency Cheese Bread since last Friday. If not, you can use it at Maud & Jake’s.

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Some people are brilliant at turning leftovers into make overs. That can work if you have the right leftovers and some creativity left at the end of your day. If one or both of those is missing, it ain’t happenin’. I’ve made some memorably bad meals from leftovers that were never meant to go together. As well as from a total absence of imagination and humor.

Then came the day inspiration struck. We had a smattering of food left from the week’s meals. It was all pretty decent, nothing anyone hated, just the quantities were small. It would be silly to divide the portions among our clan. A spoonful of this and that didn’t make sense. I did have enough apples to make dessert, though. That was a plus.

So I decided to open a diner. Just for one night. I put on an apron, recruited my husband to join me and stuck a pencil behind my ear. The leftovers were on the counter where I could see them. The kids were assembled around the table, with empty plates and expectant looks.

I put on my best South Jersey accent:

-Alright, alright. What a great lookin’ crew we got here! Welcome to Maude & Jake’s Diner. Let me tell you what’s on the menu tonight:

I look over at the kitchen counter and rattle off:

–Looks like we got meat loaf, potatoes, green beans, stir fry, brown rice, slaw, pizza rice casserole, and a pork chop. And for everyone who finishes their dinner…apple crisp!

I turn to the first kid:

–what can I get for ya?

–meat loaf, and …and…and…rice.

–ok, that comes with slaw. JAKE!!

(I yell at my husband who was standing right there)

–ONE MEATLOAF, RICE, SLAW! Next?

–I want meatloaf, too.

–I’m sorry, we’re fresh outta meatloaf…we got (and I proceeded to rattle off what I saw left on the counter).

Somehow the kids accepted it. Maybe it was the accent. Maybe they just liked the idea of their house being a diner. We managed to divvy up all the food. The kids cleaned their plates. And the crisp was a hit.

My only complain was that they were lousy tippers. Here’s the apple crisp recipe. Let me know how it goes at your house.

Granola Apple Crisp

5 medium apples, cored and chopped

1/3 c flour

1/2 c brown sugar

1 t cinnamon

1/8 t salt

1/3 c melted butter

1 1/2 c granola (I’ll share my favorite granola recipe soon. You pick some up from the grocery in the meantime.)

Preheat oven to 375. Place chopped apples in a greased pan. Combine the rest of the ingredients sprinkle on top. Bake for 30 minutes. Serves 5. Increase the size by adding one more apple per person and increasing the topping amount.

Goes best with ice cream. Doesn’t everything?

 

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