I hate to say it but, it’s the weekend and I have too many leftovers in the refrigerator. That’s a great thing for a weekday, when time is precious for us working folks, like us. Yes, my wife and I have been deemed “essential” by the powers that be, but it drives me nuts when the weekend arrives and I discover that leftovers have overtaken the fridge . This is my weekend crisis, along with worrying about the ever-expanding, impending virus.
A good weekend, for me, is when I get to play in the kitchen and make some food that can turn into leftovers for the upcoming week.
But, today, it’s necessary to scoop together a meal from all of the leftovers.
How could I possibly tie all of these leftovers together to make a single, cohesive meal? There’s shrimp in a garlic butter sauce with noodles, scalloped potatoes with ham and a chicken salad, intended for sandwiches. Three mish-mash leftovers with only one or two servings each, among them.
I say, tie them together with some fresh bread. Garlic bread should work. Half of the bread for a small bread loaf and the other half for garlic knots, or in this case, a braided garlic loaf. Add some fresh lettuce and we have a brand new meal! Leftovers can always be boosted by adding a splash of something fresh.
Garlic Bread / Garlic Braid
1 cup warm water
2 Tbs yeast
1 tsp olive oil
3 cups flour
2 Tbs garlic powder
Pinch of salt
1 quart prepared shrimp with pasta, with garlic butter sauce
1 pint prepared ham and scalloped potatoes
1 pint prepared chicken salad
Fresh lettuce, (any kind will do)
¼ cup olive oil
5 garlic cloves
Prepare the bread dough by warming a cup of water and adding yeast and olive oil. Set in a warm place to allow the yeast to activate for 20 minutes. Add water and yeast to a large mixing bowl and add the flour and salt.
Mix and knead for a minute. Sprinkle garlic powder over the dough ball, cover with a towel and allow the dough to rise for 15 minutes in a warm place.
Knead dough again to incorporated the garlic powder. Cover and keep warm for 30 minutes.
Heat an oven to 400°.
Knead the dough and divide in half. Set one half aside.
Take one half and divide into thirds. Roll each third into ropes, making one rope slightly larger than the other two.
Lay the ropes of dough on a clean surface, with the longest rope in the middle. Braid the dough in a French braid.
Lay the braided dough on a baking sheet and bake in the oven.
Take the remaining dough and form into an oblong loaf. Place on a baking sheet and place it in the oven.
Bake for 20 minutes.
While the bread bakes, add chopped garlic to the olive oil and heat in the microwave for about 1 minute. Carefully remove the olive oil and set aside.
Pull the braided loaf out of the oven and leave the other loaf in the oven for another 5 minutes.
Heat the shrimp and pasta in a covered pan, with a little splash of water.
Heat the scalloped potatoes and ham in a microwave oven for a few minutes.
Add the chopped lettuce to individual serving bowls. Top the lettuce with the chicken salad.
Cut the braided loaf into bite sized portions and put the pieces in a mixing bowl.
Pour the garlic and olive oil over the bread pieces and toss.
Place the braided garlic bread pieces in a serving bowl.
Slice the bread loaf into 1” slices.
In a large pan, heat about 1/3 of the scalloped potatoes and ham, with a little water.
Add the sliced bread to the pan and let the bread absorb some of the liquid. Turn the bread over and turn the heat off.
Assemble individual serving plates by adding portions of the shrimp and pasta, along the with the scalloped potatoes and ham on bread slices, and braided garlic bread. Serve with the a side of chicken salad and a sample of the daily news.