Cook Smart Strategy 4: Leftovers = Appetizer Opportunities


Making appetizers from scratch can be time consuming and buying them can be costly. Take a shortcut to appetizers by turning some of the stew from your family meal into appetizers the next night.

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Family Short Rib Stew


  • 4 lb (2 kg) Bone-in Beef Short Ribs
  • ½ tsp EACH coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, cut into wedges lengthwise
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 cups dry red wine
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 1 tbsp water


  1. Pat beef dry with paper towels. Season beef all over with salt and pepper. Heat half of oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown beef in batches, adding more oil as needed, until browned all over, about 10 minutes. Transfer beef to plate.
  2. Add onion, carrots and celery to Dutch oven. Cook, stirring over medium-high heat, until onions are golden, about 5 minutes. Add flour and tomato paste, cook, stirring, until deep red, about 2 minutes. Stir in wine, add short ribs and any accumulated juices. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium, stirring up any browned bits from bottom of pan. Add thyme, rosemary, bay leaves and stock. Bring to boil. Cook, covered tightly in 325°F oven until beef is fork-tender, about 2 hours.
  3. Discard bay leaves and herb stems. Whisk cornstarch mixture into beef cooking sauce, stirring over medium heat until sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. If desired, remove beef from bone and set aside 2 cups of the Stew to make the Braised Short Rib Bites within the next 3 days.


With the leftovers make this delicious weeknight meal in a flash:

Braised Short Rib Bites: Lightly beat 2 eggs; set aside. On lightly floured surface, roll out 1 piece of thawed puff pastry (half a 450 g pkg) to a ¼ inch thickness 12 x 12 inches. Mince 2 cups Stew and sauce on cutting board; spread mixture over pastry, leaving a 1-inch border around edges. Top with 1 cup crumbled blue cheese. Roll up like a jelly roll, sealing long edge of pastry with some of the beaten egg. Place seam side down on parchment lined baking sheet. Chill for 1 hour. Slice pastry roll crosswise into 1-inch slices. Place slices on parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush each with remaining beaten egg; bake in 425°F oven until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Top with some sour cream mixed with horseradish to taste if desired.

Smart Cook: Turn stew from dinner into soup for lunch next day: Coarsely chop leftover stew and veggies; add enough beef broth to make a soup. Add in some cooked pasta or rice and heat through. Pour into a warmed thermos to pack for lunch.

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