A beautiful roast beef is often the star of holiday menus and special occasions, and the leftovers are almost as good. Although they're commonly used for sandwiches, roast beef leftovers make hearty and delicious main course dinner meals, as well. Shave leftover roast beef thinly for sandwiches. Shred or cube it for stews, soups and casseroles.
Transform leftover roast beef into delicious, easy meals with a few ingredients and savory spices. Combine roast beef with carrots, celery and potatoes for a hearty stew or shepherd's pie. Use roast beef in chili, soups or as a sandwich filling. When combined with chiles, beans and Mexican spices, leftover roast beef makes tasty enchiladas and burritos. Prepare a zesty dressing and dip mix to substitute for plain sour cream in south-of-the-border dishes.
Leftover roast beef is sometimes dry or flavorless. Simmer it with herbs, powdered salad dressing mixes, beef stock, tomato sauce or other savory ingredients to tenderize and flavor it. When buying a roast, plan ahead for two meals. Buy a large roast and the necessary ingredients for the second meal.
Store any leftover roast beef promptly in the refrigerator and use the leftovers within 3 to 4 days. Freezing cooked roast beef is not recommended because it will alter the flavor and texture. One exception is roast beef that is incorporated into a dish, such as minestrone soup or beef stew. Freeze these dishes safely in an airtight, plastic container for up to three months.
Roast beef comes in three grades -- prime, choice and select. Prime roast beef has more a higher fat content than other grades, resulting in a more tender, flavorful product. It costs the most and is hard to find in the grocery store. Restaurants and specialty meat markets generally use Prime grade. Select beef is the least expensive option, but also the leanest. Simmer select cuts of beef to tenderize them. Choice is an intermediate grade and the one most people purchase. It has some fat for flavor, but is healthier and less expensive than Prime. Store purchased roast beef in the refrigerator for three to four days or freeze it for up to six months in heavy-duty freezer bags.
Julie Christensen is a food writer, caterer, and mom-chef. She's the creator of MarmaladeMom.org, dedicated to family fun and delicious food, and released a book titled "More Than Pot Roast: Fast, Fresh Slow Cooker Recipes."