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Most people love leftovers. After a big meal or a holiday celebration, people enjoy leftovers the next day. At Thanksgiving in the United States, it’s customary for the host to prepare much more food than can be eaten, specifically in order to send leftovers home with the guests. Often you hear people say, “it tastes better the second day.” Leftovers from a restaurant meal may either be left behind to be discarded by the restaurant or taken away by the diner in a doggy (doggie) bag, under the pretense it will be used by the diner’s pet rather than for later consumption by the diner. In some countries, especially Europe, it is frowned upon to ask for a leftover package or doggy bag.

If you have ever rented a vacation home for a week or so, you know the feeling of packing your car with waters, beers, wine, liquor, chips, dips, desserts, breakfast essentials and a cooler of food, including meats, fish, fresh vegetables and fruits. To help celebrate a big birthday, dear friends rented a beautiful house near the beach in Montauk, Long Island. I was fortunate to be invited for 3 days and spend wonderful time with close friends. So relaxing, such beautiful weather to enjoy in September at the end of Long Island and a great way to celebrate our friend's birthday. As always, food and drink is a big part of spending time with people, especially during a festive time. Simpatica!

On the last night at the beautiful Montauk rental, we decided to use all the good food that remained in the refrigerator, not to have to pack up and bring it home. After searching through a fairly packed refrigerator, we realized we had plenty to work with and being creative with the leftovers would not only be fun, but would result with a delicious meal.


Shrimp & sausage over spaghetti

Saute garlic and shallots in a skillet with olive oil.

Add the already cooked sausages (3 sliced) and extra large shrimp (1 ½ lbs). Throw in some farmstand grape tomatoes.

Add salt and red pepper flakes to taste.

Add butter, white wine and some heavy cream (light on the cream).

Chop fresh parsley and add to the skillet.

Boil a saucepan of water for the spaghetti (1 lb).

Cook until al dente; drain. Throw the spaghetti back in the saucepan and mix in most of the sauce.

Plate in a decorative dish and add the remaining shrimp, sausage and sauce to the top.

Dress with fresh arugula on top for color and flavor.

Shrimp with sausage over spaghetti

topped with arugula

Grilled Chicken with Vegetables and Pineapple

Grilled marinated chicken breasts with pineapple and green and yellow squash.

We served this with a watermelon, feta and arugula salad and garlic bread.

Such a healthy September meal served with a nice chardonnay and cabernet complimenting the meal. Delizioso!

Making the best of leftovers is not only practical, it allows culinary creativity, working together with others in the kitchen and some laughs while you do it! It’s one of my favorite things to do when it comes to cooking – figuring out how to make a meal without going to the market. New dishes made from leftovers are quite common in world cuisine and many were created in the days before refrigeration and reliable airtight containers existed. It is believed that casseroles, paella, fried rice, shepherd pies and pizza were invented as a means of reusing leftovers. Try it sometime, it is very rewarding.

Mangiare, bere e divertirsi!!


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