Leftovers: The Mother of All Invention

Right now, I’m dog (and house) sitting for my parents while they’re out of town. Although I expect zero compensation, I get paid in plenty of puppy snuggles, food, amazing coffee and cozy evenings in front of the woodstove.

This, my friends, is not a bad gig.


I get to hang out with my family’s dog Chet – a real-life, in-the-flesh giant fur ball who will smother anyone with enthusiastic excitement upon seeing them. He shows genuine love and affection to almost anyone. If you’re holding beef jerky or summer sausage, he’ll gaze longingly at you until you cave and toss him a bite. He’s my baby. 🙂

Also, the food at my parents’ house never disappoints. My mom is simply the best cook I know and the leftovers are guaranteed to be just as good the next day. In addition to this, the refrigerator and pantry are always full.  I’ve always thought that it’s impossible to go hungry here.

Until last night.


Before I launch into what sounds like a sad tale of a hungry and desperate twenty-something while she is dog and house sitting for her parents, I must issue this disclaimer: I am not deprived and am treated exceptionally well by my parents. They love me when I’m most unlovable and have fed, clothed and educated me better than many other parents I know. My parents are da bomb.

Y’All, I Was Famished

I got to my parents house last night and was planning to saute some leftover steak, fresh mushrooms and onions in butter for dinner to have with a salad. My mom had texted me earlier in the day listing what leftovers were available and I decided on the steak option (because who wouldn’t?). Unfortunately, I was unable to locate the mushrooms and the idea of steak with just onions didn’t sound appetizing.

My dinner plans were disintegrating before my eyes and I thought I was either going to starve or have to eat canned tuna. Yikes.

Until I spotted the fresh cabbage and soy sauce in the refrigerator.

Have Leftovers, Will Improvise: Steak and Cabbage Stir Fry

I knew I had seen a recipe for stir fry somewhere that included or used only cabbage, so I just started throwing ingredients into the pan and the following recipe was born. The leftover steak picked up on the soy sauce and garlic flavors wonderfully and provided a nice foil for the crunch of the cabbage.

Variations: This is a fairly low-carb recipe, but if you’re not interested in a low-carb option, feel free to toss in any cooked rice you’d like. Also, I only used cabbage this time, but other veggies like carrots, celery, onions, water chestnuts or snap peas would be excellent additions to this dish. This recipe serves about two people, but can easily be doubled or tripled for more.

The Recipe:stiry fry

2 tbsp butter

3 tsp soy sauce

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 lb cabbage, sliced

2 cups leftover (or freshly cooked) steak, chopped into bite size pieces


In a skillet over medium heat, heat the butter until melted and bubbling around the edges. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Stir in the cabbage. Cover and cook for about 2 minutes or until it starts to wilt slightly. Add the soy sauce, stirring to coat the cabbage. Finally, add the steak, cover and let cook until steak is warmed. Remove from heat and enjoy!

Leftovers: It’s what’s for dinner

Next time you’re scratching your head and staring blankly into the refrigerator for dinner, don’t be afraid to pull out a few leftovers and let them be the inspiration for your own invention. You never know, it could become your new favorite recipe. 😉

Happy Eating!

KB Icon Cab

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *