by Kate Heyhoe
With today's busy lifestyles, more home cooks are indulging in what I've long-called "meal morphing." A distant relative of leftovers, meal morphing involves cooking a dish that can be reincarnated into distinctively different meals. Whether eaten throughout the week or frozen for the future, these morphed meals add more dining variety, rather than merely reheating the same tired tastes of a leftover dish.
In my book Cooking with Kids for Dummies, to be released in Spring 1999, I offer complete plans for meal morphing, with actual menus and strategies. But until then, here's a few of my favorite starter foods for meal morphing, and a few ideas for subsequent morphed meals. Search the electronic Gourmet Guide or standard cookbooks for the recipes. Or, be inventive and create your own recipes. The key is starting with a simple dish that is not highly seasoned, so you can change and add flavors to make subsequent dishes that have their own unique tastes.
Note: Freeze meal-size portions of cooked plain rice and pastas in zipper bags, then thaw in the microwave for morphed meals in minutes.
Roast Turkey: Turkey & Broccoli Mornay; Rolled Turkey-Cheddar-Apple Wraps; Turkey Tetrazzini. (Roast turkeys aren't just for Thanksgiving anymore! I roast a simple, unstuffed turkey every couple of months for good eating year-round.)Chinese Poached Chicken with dipping sauce: Chinese Chicken & Napa Salad; BBQ Chicken Pizza; Curried Chicken & Raisins. (Put the chicken in a pot with some fresh ginger, green onions and salt; bring to a boil then simmer, covered, 20 minutes. Turn off the heat. Let sit for 1 hour before serving. The meat will be moist and flavorful.)Steamed rice: Chinese Pork Fried Rice; Chicken Casserole with Rice and Peas; Mexican Green Chile-Cheese Rice.
Grilled or Broiled Eggplant Slices: Eggplant & Mozzarella Pizzettes; Eggplant Parmigiano; Baba Ghanoush.
Other starter dishes for meal morphing: Pork butt, pork tenderloin, beef brisket, grilled steak, poached salmon, pastas, cooked winter squash, cooked beans, cooked barley, polenta. Fry up a batch of ground beef or ground turkey with onions and garlic and morph it into everything from tacos to lasagna to a sauce for Asian cellophane noodles.
This page first published in 1998.
Copyright © 1998, 2007, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
Modified August 2007
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