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Dovetailing meals on vacation

Dovetailing is the art of taking leftover ingredients from a previous meal and using them to create a fabulous meal the next day — ideal for when you and the kids have a busy schedule for the week. And it can save you time and money.

Egg Casserole

I’ve been dovetailing since my early years in the kitchen. Blame it on my mother, and call it being frugal. I don’t mind. I’ve even been called “Dovetail Dougie” by friends and colleagues.

Maybe you’re on a vacation and don’t want to spend too much time behind the stove, or perhaps you have to carpool kids to swim team and summer camp. Either way, these simple meals are sure to make your mouth water.

Dovetailing chicken dinner


The night before a busy day, whip up some quick grilled or roasted chicken fajitas… simple, right? The kids will love adding their favorite toppings to theirs, such as peppers, onion, avocado, salsa, cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses. Pair the fajitas with some tortilla chips and a Caesar salad for a nice restaurant-style Mexican fiesta dinner. Arriba!


I always look forward to the morning after fajitas because I know a tasty Southwest Egg Casserole awaits me.

Using the fiesta leftovers, whisk 12 eggs in a large bowl and add half a cup of milk. Add all remaining leftover ingredients — chicken, peppers, onions, cheese and avocado. Add in a small bag of frozen hash browns, and pour entire mixture into a glass or non-stick casserole pan approximately 12 by 9 inches. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 325F for 30 minutes. I like mine a bit spicy, so I add shirracci sauce and then cool things down by pairing it Quick Tipwith seasonal fresh fruit like watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew.

One bit of advice: Soak the casserole pan. Otherwise, you can use it as a piece of art and hang it on the wall.

More ways to get creative with leftovers:

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