“Leftover” Pasta Salad


Contributing Writer
Vicki McGraw
Elegant Edibles Catering

Oh my… I just looked in my fridge to see what I had on hand to make for supper. Big mistake! I guess it’s been a while since I bought groceries, because instead of lots of lovely looking ingredients, I was faced with shelves full of leftovers! Dibs and dabs of this and that, dozens (it seemed) of plastic bowls and zip lock bags holding little more than three bites of anything. I was raised to not waste food, so apparently I have a hard time simply throwing away the left overs!

Many of us grew up with parents whose own parents had gone through the depression, a time when frugality was a way of life. During that time, everything was so hard to come by that every bit of food was precious. I clearly remember my Nana having a freezer stuffed full of little bits of everything from a handful of veggies to an ounce or two of ground beef and maybe a small ball of pie dough. Every bit was usable, if not now then later. When I went to Florida a few years ago to help my elderly aunt move from her mobile home into a senior apartment complex, I found her freezer to be exactly like my Nanas. My Mom will talk of her freezer as being the same, and I guess I am not much different. Want not, waste not was their motto, and apparently I have unknowingly followed in their footsteps!

Luckily for me, I like to think outside the box and come up with some creative uses for many of the leftovers that fill my refrigerator shelves. If I have a few leftovers and a can of cream soup I can make just about anything! Think about it. A starch (rice or potatoes), a protein (meat or fish), a veggie (frozen veggies don’t even need to be thawed before being mixed in) and something to “glue it all together” (the above mentioned cream soup) and there you go…dinner on the double and the cheap!

So, dear reader, this week I offer you this challenge. The next time you open your fridge or freezer and find a whole lot of really random dibs and dabs, pull them all out and put your thinking cap on! Remember, if it was good by itself it just might be awesome combined with something else, a casserole means only one pan to wash, and you will have extra room in your fridge. If you don’t like the result, chances are you won’t have the exact same ingredients again anyway, but if you do really like it, be sure to write down how you made it so you can do it again. That’s a win in my book!

“Leftover” Pasta Salad

  • 1 lb tri colored bowtie (or other shape) cooked pasta
  • 1 C corn (from dinner last night)
  • 1 C black beans (from Taco Tuesday)
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced thin (the last two stalks in the bag)
  • ½ red onion, diced (it was already diced, so why not throw it in?)
  • ½ C shredded carrot (from the little bag in with the lettuce blend)
  • 1 C diced red and green peppers (who knows why they were in the freezer!)
  • 2 C shredded rotisserie chicken (the rest of last night’s dinner)
  • ½ c sour cream
  • 1 c salsa
  • ½ t chipotle seasoning (if desired)

Mix sour cream, salsa and chipotle seasoning in a large bowl.

Add remaining ingredients and gently toss to coat with dressing.

Serve chilled, and offer seconds so you don’t have any leftovers!!

To read more of Vicki McGraw’s commentaries on good cooking, fine recipes and perfect party treats, visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on Join Me in the Kitchen’s own page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.