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!


Anne in the kitchen said...

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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