Some people don't like leftovers. Maybe they like variety or maybe there is a stigma attached to leftovers. I don't know what it is, because I am not one of those people. That's very lucky for me, because I am the chef in a household of two. There are very few recipes out there meant to be made for two people. I could scale larger recipes down, but then I'd have to cook dinner every single night. That's an awful lot of work to feed two measly people.
Josh is not wild about leftovers, unless they're made with chocolate. But he's a very polite and gracious person, so I didn't even know that he didn't much care for leftovers until a week or two ago. He had managed to keep that from me in the couple of years that I've been putting dinners, some fresh and some reheated, in front of him. What's really sweet is that he admitted it was a struggle for him. He has a aversion to them, but he is working through it because he knows that a lot of people don't have any food, much less food made lovingly by a woman in a Tootsie Roll apron. It's comforting to see others struggling to be better people. I'd hate to feel like the only one.
Perhaps my efforts at Good Person-hood have been in vain, because I don't feel all that bad for making him eat leftovers. After all, I eat more of them. Every day for lunch, I'm eating something that I made for dinner earlier in the week. And then I'll eat it again that night. Leftovers just don't bother me that much. Then again, I have the chef's privilege of choosing what to make. When I decide what to make for dinner one night, I've already decided that I would be okay eating that same thing for the next couple of days.
Besides, leftovers are too practical to be ignored. It would be a criminal waste of food to not save dinner for other meals, and it would be a waste of money and time to cook smaller dinners meant to only last one meal. You can feel however you want about leftovers, but as far as I'm concerned, there is no getting around them. You must eat your way through them.
He knows all this. He knew it without me telling him, which is why it took two years for him to let slip that leftovers bug him just a little. His dad does not like them, and I doubt they were a problem at his mom's house, what with the five boys eating up everything. If he's been struggling to get through another night of sloppy joes, it's a surprise to me. He eats reheated dinners without a complaint and usually with a compliment.
I've been thinking, though. Maybe I can't get away from leftovers, but I could rearrange my cooking schedule such that it doesn't seem like the same thing every night. If I cooked Monday and Tuesday, then we could rotate the leftovers Wednesday and Thursday such that we're not eating the same thing two nights in a row. Compromise!
That was my thought last Tuesday night. I had made two dishes of stuffed pasta shells on Monday, and I wasn't going to be able to cook on Wednesday, because he had a show. So I would make another whole meal Tuesday. That way, he wouldn't have to eat the stuffed pasta shells three nights in a row. Tuesday, I made a tuna casserole, green beans with almonds, and baked acorn squash. The thing was, he didn't seem all that excited about the dinner, though I had clearly gone to more effort than usual. Sometimes a one-pot casserole is the whole meal, but we had two, TWO, vegetables. Sure, they were covered in butter and sugar, but they were fresh vegetables. Where was the appreciation? Men, let that be a lesson to you: show your lady a little bit of gratitude, and pretty soon she expects it all the time!
It wasn't until Thursday when I figured it out. The giveaway was that one of the dishes of pasta shells was completely eaten up, despite the fact that I hadn't touched them. He doesn't usually eat lunch at the house, but somehow, pasta shells were disappearing. Wouldn't you know it, the week I try to avoid feeding him leftovers is the week that I try a new recipe that he can't get enough of. He said that they were better than the ones served at the Italian restaurant where he works. Aw, shucks.
So, make these! And then eat them for days!
Stuffed Pasta Shells
The recipe says to use the whole 12 oz box of jumbo shells. However, I must be a generous stuffer, because I only used half of the shells (after cooking all of them). And then I used the other half of the shells in the tuna casserole, because I am a food reuse ninja. I also used a big can of crushed tomatoes, rather than diced or whole.
Sharp-eyed readers will note that I've linked to this recipe site several times recently. It's a very good resource. Some of the recipes are a little exotic, but there are many on there that use common ingredients. Plus, there's just a metric crap-ton of recipes on there.