The Coolest Way to Repurpose Leftovers

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Frittatas have long reigned as the champion of leftovers. It's so easy to chop up the meat and veggies from last night's meal and bake into the egg mixture. But I've found an even more fun way to repurpose leftovers - spring rolls!

Last night, we found leftover roast beef and a bok choy stir fry sitting in the fridge. Though traditional Vietnamese spring rolls call for shrimp and pork, you can roll up anything you want. Martha Stewart did it with autumn harvest vegetables!

I know I've said this many times before, but it begs repeating: people love to play with their food! Last night, we rolled up spring rolls as we ate, praising one another for a good wrap job, and trying different flavor combinations. We even have a contraption (pictured below) that holds the rice paper and hot water, for easy dipping. 

So feel free to grab that leftover roast chicken, avocado, steamed carrots - whatever's sitting in your fridge. To make the rolls, you'll need rice paper, available at your local Asian grocery store. And if you live in a large or mid-sized city, it's likely to be in the International Foods aisle of the major chains. While there, grab these other essentials to give your leftovers that Asian flair: rice noodles, fish sauce, Thai basil, cilantro, this hot sauce (it's everywhere) and bean sprouts. 

Let's talk dipping sauces. Spring rolls often use peanut sauce, but for other types of rolls, the Vietnamese favor the traditional Nuoc Cham. It's zestier, tangier and not so thick with sugar. Simply mix: 50% fish sauce, 50% water, a dash of sugar, a squeeze of lemon and hot sauce into a ramekin and mix. Season to taste.

Now it's showtime! Dip your rice paper into hot water on both sides, just for a flash, and lay flat on your plate. Load on toppings, then tuck tightly, making sure to fold in the sides, burrito-style. You'll get better as you go. As you can see, my spring rolls aren't as picture-perfect as the restaurant version. But I can confirm that they taste better than the original meals the leftovers came from! Now dip. Enjoy!

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