Leftover Makeover: Pierogi

I meant to share this earlier but didn't have time to blog as I wanted.  I'm all about making leftovers into a new to us dish.  I know many people who tell me they want to be more frugal but then follow that statement with "I do not eat leftovers!"  And they mean it!  I say stop calling them leftovers and learn to make new recipes with them.  I think my family has never minded leftovers because while they might be eating the same ingredients all over again, it was a new to them dish.  And besides, some of the best recipes start with a bit of cooked meat or vegetable!

I like Pierogi.  Pierogi are (and I'm not Polish so forgive me if my definition is over simplified) basically a potato filled ravioli.  I've been wanting to buy Pierogi for weeks but the cost at best sale price, is roughly $3 for about a dozen frozen pierogi.  Middle Georgia is not a hotbed of Polish speciality shops so frozen is as good as it gets.

So here I was a couple of weeks ago with 1 1/4 cups of mashed potatoes (left from another meal) and a partial package of egg roll wrappers.  I have made pot stickers from ground chicken using egg roll wrappers, so I thought, "Why can't I make my own pierogi using egg roll wrappers?"   I even went online to ask my friends who live in areas where Polish cookery is not uncommon.  Every one seemed to agree that it was do-able so I spent a half hour in the kitchen and this is what I did, my way by the way, as I had no recipe to follow.

First I took my plain mashed potatoes and beat in an egg, a bit of garlic, some grated cheese, and a little bit of flour to keep the potato mixture from becoming watery when cooking.  I reheated the potatoes only slightly before adding in the other ingredients, just enough to make them easy to stir.

Then I took my egg roll wrappers.  You'll see two pierogi being worked on in the photo below.  The wrappers were the larger ones and I cut them in half.   I put about 2 tsp of potato on each piece, then used egg wash around all the edges so that I could seal them well.

In the photo above you can see the biscuit cutter I used to try and make round pierogi.  No go...My cutter wasn't cutting it.  You can see in the photo below that I tried to use it twice.  Thereafter I decided that square pierogi were bound to taste as good.   I went all around all the edges all over again with the egg wash (There was so much egg leftover) to be sure the edges stayed sealed.

You can see I ended up with 16 altogether, enough for 2 servings with leftovers if I serve them as the main entree and enough for 4 servings if used as a side to Polska Kielbasa if we aren't little piggies over the things, so we'll just say 2 servings with leftovers and leave it at that.

I then put down a sheet of waxed paper under the Pierogi to keep the egg wash from sticking to the pan, and popped into the freezer until solid.  Then I bagged up in a freezer bag.

I paid just under $3 for the egg roll wrappers.  16 Pierogi and 1 dozen egg rolls later, I feel the wrappers were a good purchase for the pantry.  The cost of the mashed potatoes was negligible.  I made the mashed potatoes from scratch and I daresay the cost of them for the first meal was under $.50, so really perhaps $.25 for the pierogi...and I had enough potato mixture left over to make 2 potato pancakes to go with breakfast the next morning.  Another makeover from a Leftover Makeover.  I do love how stretchable a budget can get if we just THINK before we waste!

I froze mine as I said.  When I took them from the freezer they stuck slightly to the waxed paper and some of the edges sort of broke.  I heated water to boiling, dropped in a half dozen and then, as soon as they were thawed, lifted them out with a slotted spoon and dropped them into a frying pan in which I'd cooked half a sliced onion in butter and let the pierogi finish cooking there.  They held up far better than I thought they might and tasted delicious.  So happy I controlled the piggy tendency and we will have some for future meals!


Great idea! Hope you won't mind me copying this
Anonymous said…
Mmmmmmmmmmm ... these sound really good. I think it is a gift to be able to think outside of the box. Sometimes I manage it, but more often than not, it slips by me. That's why I enjoy blogs ... I see what others are accomplishing outside of my box! : 0)
Anonymous said…
I agree! What a great idea! Mt daughter uses the egg roll wrappers to make...well egg rolls! She always has extras so I will pass this on to her too! Thank you! I wonder if you cold do a cheese one using this little one inch cubes of cheese that seem to be left unused in the fridge and adding a bit of meat or ? leftovers? Ya got me thinking!!! Or would that be considered Pierogi? Sarah
Kathy said…
oh yum! They look delicious! Definitely going to try making these soon. Would I still need to boil them if I don't freeze them?

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