Category: Using up leftovers


Tonight’s dinner was such a hit, the boys said to write down what I did differently so I can recreate it!  One part I don’t want to recreate is having a stove that only has one working burner (a small one) and an oven (no broiler).  I didn’t really know that some of the minor changes I made would make it so much better, so I didn’t take pictures as I went along.  It was, however, pretty, so I took a picture of a serving of the finished product.

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1 lb. elbow macaroni

2 Tbsp. minced garlic

2 tsp. seasoned salt

1 8 oz. container vegan or lactose free cream cheese

1 large sweet onion, finely chopped

1 C. finely chopped turkey ham

4 Tbsp. butter

1 Tbsp. grapeseed oil

2 tsp. Italian seasoning

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. seasoned salt

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 c. leftover roasted (charred) broccoli, finely chopped

1 pouch vegan mozzarella style shreds

Cook elbow macaroni.  I use the Alton Brown method of putting the pasta in a large pan with enough cool water to cover it by about an inch.  Stir in minced garlic and seasoned salt.  Bring to a boil and stir occasionally.  Lower the heat to medium low and the pasta basically becomes rehydrated instead of boiled.  Because I’m dealing with only one burner, once the pasta was cooked, I placed it in a 13 x 9 lasagna dish sprayed with coconut oil.  Rather than draining off all the fabulous flavored pasta water, I spooned approximately 1/4 to 1/2 cup into the baking dish with the pasta.

Next, I cooked the onion and ham in butter and oil with all the seasonings over low heat for about 25 minutes.  I turned it up at the end, and added in the chopped charred broccoli.   Add in cream cheese and melt through.

Pour over noodles and mix in.  Top with shreds and bake at 350F for 30 minutes.

I’m not sure what made this better than usual.  Maybe the pasta was perfectly cooked and had just enough pasta water?  Maybe the charred flavor of the broccoli added a special touch.  Whatever it was, I’m going to try to recreate this to see if it can be done!

Oh, and this was the last meal I’m preparing on my old on its last legs stove.  Tomorrow my son is installing the stove I always wanted.  It’s a combination Birthday/Mother’s Day present.  I can’t wait!

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So, I am definitely on an empanada kick.  They are something everyone loves!  I had some leftover mashed potatoes and was looking for inspiration as to how to use up the leftovers.  Pirogi recipes kept popping up, but they require more steps than I was up to doing, what with the boiling and then pan frying.  I decided to make an empanada pierogi fusion!  Leftover mashed potatoes, onions and crumbled sausage, vegan cheese, and viola!

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2 packages frozen empanada dough (I used Goya)

4 C. leftover mashed potatoes

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 lb. sausage (I used apple sausage)

2 Tbsp. oil (I used grapeseed)

1 package vegan cheddar style shredds (I used Daiya)

1 egg, beaten for egg wash

Set frozen empanada dough out to thaw.  The Goya type below is my favorite.  The discs are separated by plastic sheets and are not too fragile.  They don’t fit my empanada press, though, so I have to seal them by hand.

tapas-para-empandas

Prepare large sheet pan by coating with cooking spray.

Saute onion in oil over low heat until softened, and add in sausage.  Drain well and crumble.

Add in mashed potatoes and cheddar style shredds.

You may want to make the filling ahead since you need to let cool before filling dough.

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One at a time, fill and press empanadas/pierogis.  Preheat oven to 350F.

Place on sheet pan, and brush with egg.

Bake at 350F for 20 minutes or until golden.

I am so loving Goya empanada dough.  So crisp with great lamination.  You can make filling of almost anything.  We like ground meat, vegan crumbles, tofu crumbles, or sausage mixed with onion best.  Sometimes I make it with Korean BBQ, Pizza sauce, Tex Mex style, whatever.  They are always a winner.  We’ve been on a teriyaki ranch kick lately.  They are soooo good together.

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I sauteed onion and browned ground turkey with Chinese five spice and added teriyaki and ranch.  Here are the specifics.  First start with my favorite dough by Goya:

tapas-para-empandas

1 large sweet onion, chopped

2 tsp. seasoning of choice – I used Chinese five spice

2 lb. ground turkey

2 packages empanada dough

Oil to soften onion

3 Tbsp. teriyaki sauce (I used garlic teriyaki)

3 Tbsp. ranch dressing

1-2 tsp. corn starch to thicken

1 packet Daiya Pepper Jack Shredds

1 egg, beaten

The empanada dough has to sit out at room temperature for about an hour before you can use it.

Prepare a large baking sheet ahead by covering it in foil and spraying with cooking spray.

Cook onion, sprinkled with seasoning, in a little oil until softened.  Add in turkey, chopping it up in little pieces as it cooks.

Add in teriyaki, ranch and corn starch.  Simmer until thickened.  Let cool.

Once filling is cool, add in shredds.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Hold dough in the palm of your hand and spoon filling in middle.  Seal edges by pressing between your fingertips.

Lay out on prepared baking sheet.

Brush with beaten egg and bake about 20 minutes until golden brown.

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This is a super easy for a weeknight meal.  Ingredients on hand, ready to go.  Variations are endless.

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2 packages frozen crumbles

1 onion, chopped

Oil to soften onion

1 tsp. seasoned salt

1 tsp.  garlic powder

(variations available based on seasoning choices!)

2 cans french style green beans, drained

1 can garbanzo beans, drained

1 pouch Imagine non-dairy cream of mushroom soup

1 pouch vegan cheddar shredds

1 package tater tots (I used Ore Ida mini tots)

Chop onion – I used a sweet red onion

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Put tater tots in oven to cook according to directions.

Cook onion in large skillet in oil with seasonings until translucent.

Drain beans and add in to onion.

Stir in soup and heat through.

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Keep warm until tater tots are ready.  I cooked them on parchment and made them extra crispy.

Pour skillet ingredients into prepared baking dish.

Top with cooked tater tots.  I could have used sweet potato tots to eliminate nightshades.,

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Sprinkle with vegan cheddar shredds.

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Pop into the oven at 400-425F for 15 minutes or until shredds melt.

Variations – veggie tater tots or sweet potato tots, other varieties of soup, other vegetables besides green beans, real ground meat instead of crumbles.  Mexican style?  Indian style?  Italian style?  Yum, Yum, Yum.

 

 

I had leftover risotto from the Waiting for Dorian meal.  The local market had some chicken tenders on sale. Inspiration kicked-in!

Risotto casserole:

4 C. Leftover risotto

1 C.  Leftover chard and cannellini beans chopped up in the food processor. Any leftover cooked vegetables will do.

1 egg

1 C. Vegan mozzarella shredded

1/2 C.  Crumbs from seasoned chips or crackers. I used some organic multigrain crackers.

3 Tbsp. butter

Combine leftover risotto, chard, egg, shredds and crumbs.  Place in 13 x 9 baking dish sprayed with coconut oil.  I refrigerated it overnight. This is not a necessary step. I just did it so dinner will be easy tonight. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Top with little pieces of butter turn heat up to 450 and cook for another 15 minutes to make golden brown across the top.

For the chicken skewers:

Weave chicken tenders on to skewers. Marinade overnight in marinade of choice. I combined 1/2 C. pineapple jalapeno jam and 1/4 C. balsamic glaze. It was amazing! Bake in the oven side by side with the risotto casserole. After 30 minutes at 350 take the chicken out and cover with foil tossing around first to make sure it all has plenty of the juices on it. Finish cooking the risotto casserole with the butter on it.

This was a huge hit!

 

In an attempt to make a breakfast with items on hand, I came across a recipe from Crazy for Crust.  I adapted it for dietary restrictions.

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10 eggs

1/4 C gluten free flour

16 oz.  Lactose Free cottage cheese

1/2 C melted butter

1 tsp. Baking powder

1 lb. Sausage, cooked and crumbled.

1 tsp. Seasoned salt

1 tsp. Garlic powder

1 package vegan cheddar like shredds

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Combine cottage cheese, eggs, butter, flour, and baking soda.  Mix in sausage and shredds.

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Pour into greased/sprayed 13 x 9 baking dish.  Bake at 400 F for 35 minutes.

Leftover roasted potatoes are the star of this quiche. The bacon and onions don’t hurt either!

 

2 Immaculate pie crusts

1/2 pound bacon

3/4 cup chopped onion

2 to 4 cups leftover roasted potatoes cut into small cubes

10 eggs

One package mozzarella shirts vegan cheese

One half cup tofutti sour cream

Cook onion and bacon until bacon is crispy. Place in pie crust in pie pans sprayed with coconut oil. Combine remaining ingredients and pour into pie shells. Bake at 320F for 45 minutes.

 

 

When I make boneless, skinless chicken in the crock pot, I always make too much.  I’ve been experimenting with fun ways to use up the leftovers, such as the burritos, egg rolls, empanadas, and now this super easy pot pie.

Chicken Pot Pie

4 C. shredded chicken

2 packages frozen mixed vegetables

1 package Simply Potatoes Steakhouse Seasoned Potatoes

1 c. baking mix (such as Bisquick or anything intended to make pancakes, biscuits, etc.)

3/4 c. cashew milk

Rinse the frozen veggies in a colander until defrosted.  Toss with potatoes.  Stir in chicken.  Mine had enough sauce, since crock pot meats are so wet, so I didn’t have to add anything.  If yours is dry or in need of liquid, you can use a homemade gravy by making a roux of butter and flour, and adding chicken broth to it and thickening it.  You can also use one of those handy pouches of sauce they sell nowadays or a canned soup.  These are just a little higher in sodium than we are comfortable eating on a regular basis, but can certainly make life easier in a pinch.

Pour chicken and veggie mixture into a 13 x 9 baking dish (such as my Bobby Flay lasagna pan – to which I must bid adieu – a fine crack appeared and I’m not taking any chances!)  Mix baking mix and cashew milk.  If you want to spruce this up, you can add shredded cheese and an egg.  Spread evenly over the chicken and veggies.  Don’t worry about holes, because as you can see, the chicken bubbled up through in some places.

Bake at 375 until a toothpick through the thickest part of the crust comes out clean, and then turn off the oven and leave it in there 5 more minutes to help eliminate doughy parts.

 

 

I bought wrappers in a hurry yesterday, intending to make potstickers when I got home, without realizing I had grabbed egg roll wrappers instead of won ton wrappers.  I googled to see if I could make potstickers out of the egg roll wrappers.  Conflicting information as to how well it would work to use egg roll wrappers to make potstickers made me decide to make egg rolls instead.  I had already made the filling mixture for potstickers, so the filling is more meat and less veggies than I would have used if I’d planned egg rolls from the start.

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1 package Nasoya egg roll wrappers

2 lb. ground turkey

1 large sweet onion, chopped finely

1 package chop salad

2 Tbsp. fresh ginger

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 Tbsp. oil

1 tsp. salt

1tsp. five spice mix

Cook onion in oil until softened.

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Sprinkle with salt and five spice.  Add in chop salad.  Cook over low heat until softened.

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Place veggies in colander lined with paper towels to drain off excess moisture.

At this point, I added the veggies to the meat and stirred in the ginger and soy sauce for the potsticker filling and refrigerated it.  Then I realized I was going to make egg rolls instead, so I cooked the meat mixture and broke it up and cooked the turkey through.  I drained the meat and refrigerated it to cool enough to make the egg rolls.

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I used my mini ice cream scoop and put two scoops on each wrap.  I followed the instructions on the package of how to fold it.  Point down, place filling on center.  Place bottom point up over the filling, then fold in the sides, and roll.  I placed them on a baking sheet brushed with oil.

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Spray top of the egg rolls with cooking spray or brush with oil.   Bake at 400F for 15 minutes or until golden.

These were great!  Not as much work as potstickers either.  Daniel said they were like potsticker egg rolls.  Makes sense.

These would be a good way to use up leftovers.  The wraps are flaky and crispy.  I have another package and can’t wait to try another variation!

 

I bought some Hidden Valley Lime Cilantro Ranch dressing that was not a hit.  It languished in my fridge not appealing to anyone.  Imagine my surprise that a dish made for tonight’s dinner transported that off-the-mark dressing into an amazing marinade!  I came home from the market with some bone-in chicken thighs, wondering what marinade to create.  I took the Hidden Valley dressing and, since there was not quite enough of it to coat all the thighs, mixed it with a little balsamic vinaigrette I had on hand, and the result was one of the most delicious chicken dishes we’ve had in a while!

Lime Cilantro Ranch Chicken Thighs

8 Chicken Thighs

1/2 c. cilantro lime ranch dressing

1/2 c. balsamic vinaigrette dressing

Combine dressings and pour over thighs.  Refrigerate 30 minutes to overnight or freeze for future use.

Bake in 425F oven for 45 minutes.

I cooked baked potatoes next to the chicken, and put in the broccoli and squash for the last 20 minutes.  Yum Yum Yum.

There was a bit of juice left from cooking the chicken.  I saved it and am using it to make tomorrow’s chili by cooking the meat and veggies in it for the cilantro lime flavorings.  It smells amazing and hopefully will be perfect!

 

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