Category: Using up leftovers


I had some not so fresh anymore bread, some leftover squash puree, and three eggs on hand.  Food obsessed, waste not person that I am, I felt they were begging to be made into bread pudding!  The idea came to me since the squash puree was a little pumpkin pie ish, in other words, sweeter than I intended.  You could easily substitute canned pumpkin and sweeten it or canned pumpkin pie filling, which is already sweetened.  This would be a nice addition to any brunch!  The picture is from the Betty Crocker website.  The picture I took of mine with my new camera was an epic fail!  Since we were having it for breakfast, mine was served with butter and maple syrup.  Also, I opted to not put any nuts in mine.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

3 C. pumpkin pie filling (I actually used leftover puree of acorn squash, pumpkin, and spaghetti squash)

8 C. cubed not so fresh bread

2 C. almond milk

3 eggs

Spray baking dish and put bread cubes in it.

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Combine puree, milk and eggs

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Pour over bread cubes and toss gently.  At this point, I refrigerated mine overnight.  You can cook it right away, though.  Make sure all the bread is completely immersed in the liquid.

Bake at 350 F for one hour.

This was yummy topped with butter and maple syrup.

 

 

 

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I try to make a breakfast/brunch every Sunday.  A busy schedule led to frozen breakfast sandwiches on BOGO.  Today, I felt inspired to use the pie crusts that had sitting in the fridge for too long, and the diced ham I bought on BOGO for the corn chowder, which ended up having the leftover chicken or turkey or whatever in it instead.  I bought berries intending to make a berry salad.  There’s some endive from our salad the other night.  Lots of Banh Mi style veggies still.  Setting everything out and letting everyone visit the table like a salad bar/buffet was great!  It looked kind of nice, too.

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The quiche were asparagus ham or spinach ham.  Both used tofutti cream cheese substitute and vegan mozzarella shreds, for a healthier take.

2 pie shells (I like to buy Immaculate brand, but any will do).  These will be baked before filling at 375 for 10 minutes, or as directed on the packaging.  Pierce them with a fork to prevent lifting and cracking.  Turn oven down to 320 when you take the crusts out.  The quiche cook at a lower temperature.

Filling:

8 eggs

1 container tofutti cream cheese substitute

4 Tbsp. butter

1 package mozzarella shred vegan cheese

2 (8 oz) packages diced ham, drained and dried

1 can spinach, well drained (ideally overnight)

1 can cut asparagus, drained

  1.  Place drained asparagus in one bowl and the spinach in another.
  2. Melt butter in dutch oven over medium heat.  Add in ham and cook and caramelize a little  to richen the flavor.
  3. In the meantime, you can crack four eggs over each bowl of vegetables.

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  1. Stir in cream cheese and melt over low heat, stirring regularly.
  2. Spread half of the cream cheese ham mixture into each baked pie crust.
  3. Whisk eggs and veggies.  Add in mozzarella shreds and pour over ham mixture.

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  1. Bake at 320 for about 45 minutes.   They never seem completely set because of the cream cheese, but they are done when they don’t jiggle.

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As you can see, I’m still on the Asian food kick!  I had some leftover pulled pork from the Banh Mi meal, and decided it could use a Korean BBQ sauce and be recreated into an, as it turned out, quite delicious casserole!

Korean BBQ take 3

3-4 C. pulled pork (chicken and ground meats would work well for this too)

3-4 C. cooked rice (I used a wild and brown mix that was – oh yeah – leftover)

1 can Cannelloni beans (always in my pantry, but any beans such as garbanzo or black beans would work too!)

2 C. assorted vegetables (I used celery, carrots, and onions, that I softened in a little oil, butter, and garlic and had in the fridge ready to use.  They also freeze well.)

1/4 C. Korean BBQ sauce (homemade or store bought) – a mix of soy, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, rice wine vinegar, and chile.

1 C. shredded cheese (I used mac and cheese mix for one dish and Daiya shreds for the other, since I have a son who can’t have dairy.

Combine pork, rice, beans, vegetables, and Korean BBQ sauce.  Place in 13 x 9 baking dish sprayed with coconut oil.  Top with cheese or shreds.  Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes until cheese is golden, meanwhile roasting any vegetables you want to have on the side!

We used “Pickled” cucumbers, onions and carrots as a topping – also from the Banh Mi meal.  (Mostly cucumbers, since my kids and grandkids attached the onions and carrots first!)

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Roasted cauliflower and brussel sprouts on the side were prepared by my cousin, who came over with my 90 year old uncle for dinner.

 

I am crazy about Asian food.  Last night we had Korean Barbecue Chicken and a Rice Melange.  It was delish!

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3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts marinated in Korean BBQ sauce

Sauce:

1 C. soy sauce

3/4 c. brown sugar

2 Tbsp. minced garlic

1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar

1 tsp. each ginger and sesame oil

1 Tbsp. each water and corn starch (in a slurry to thicken)

Bring to a boil in a small saucepan.  Add slurry and turn down to low.  Slowly simmer till it thickens.  Pour over chicken in 13 x 9 baking dish sprayed with coconut oil.  (I have bought a bottled Korean BBQ Sauce (Kalbi Bulgogi) from a company called Ajumma Republic and it is really good).  You can marinade the chicken overnight or even freeze it in the sauce for future use.  Once defrosted, bake for 35-40 minutes.  Chop into bite-size pieces with kitchen shears, stir around in sauce, and bake for another 5 – 10 minutes.

Rice Melange:

1 box Near East rosemary garlic brown rice and quinoa (I have found that one packet of seasoning from these boxed rice mixes goes a long way, so no additional seasoning was added to the rice)

1 c. Lundberg Wild Blend Rice

1 c. brown rice

3 c. broth (I used unsalted chicken)

2 1/2 c. water

3 Tbsp. butter

Place in rice cooker.  The rice cooker knows its done when it runs out of liquid, so unplug and remove from heat as soon as the rice cooker clicks over to warm.  Add into the cooked veggies to serve.

Veggies for Rice Melange:

Heat oil of choice in large pot with a little butter.

Saute veggies of choice over low heat.  I used what I had on hand:

1 bag riced cauliflower

1 carrot, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 yellow squash, diced finely.

1 can Cannelloni beans, low sodium

1 tsp. seasoning blend of choice.  I used an Asian inspired one to stay on theme.

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After about 25-30 minutes over low heat, add in one can of beans.  I added Cannelloni because they are our favorite and I always have them on hand.  This way, anyone wanting to stay vegetarian (if you use veggie broth instead of chicken) can eat the rice melange.

 

My cousin cooked a great meal for Christmas that included turkey breast, green beans with carrots, and some gravy.  The leftovers begged to be made into a pot pie!  I added in some squash from Christmas Eve and refrigerated biscuits.

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1 c. leftover shredded turkey breast

1 1/2 c. leftover gravy

2-3 c. leftover vegetables

1 tube honey wheat biscuits

Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine leftover turkey, gravy and vegetables in 13 x 9 ceramic baking dish.  If you don’t have enough leftovers, supplement with convenience products like frozen veggies or low sodium canned gravy.

Cut biscuits into quarters and top turkey mixture.

Bake for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and flip biscuit pieces over to crisp up bottom side.

Bake an additional 10 minutes or until golden.

 

 

My cousin and her father were coming over for dinner tonight, and she wanted to contribute some frozen shrimp, butternut squash, and sugar snap peas, so I trolled all my favorite sources for recipes and came up with a recipe for Ginataang Sitaw Kalabasa, a Filipino stew that called for green beans instead of the sugar snap peas.  Since it contains no nightshades, it was perfect! I had some boneless skinless chicken thighs on hand, so I adapted the recipe.  It was a huge success!

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1 lb. frozen shrimp, thawed

5 boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into strips

1 large butternut squash, roasted

1 package sugar snap peas

1 medium onion, chopped

1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger

2 Tbsp. minced garlic

2 Tbsp. oil (I used a sunflower avocado blend)

1 can coconut milk (14 oz)

2 Tbsp. eel sauce (or fish sauce)

1 Tbsp. red chili paste (okay, this is not nightshade free, but I grabbed the wrong jar! I meant to get curry paste)

1 C. chicken broth

1/2 C. chopped carrots

1/2 C. sliced celery

Saute onions, celery and carrots in oil.  Add in ginger, garlic, and chili paste, and stir a few minutes until fragrant.

Add in chicken.  Brown.

Stir in coconut milk, eel sauce, and chicken broth.  Simmer to reduce.  Add in sugar snap peas and cover until they are crisp tender.  Stir in shrimp and cook a few minutes until pink.

Thicken with bread crumbs, if necessary.  Gently fold in butternut squash, and heat through.

Serve over rice.  I used quinoa, brown rice, pineapple, and coconut with thai curry broth in the rice cooker.

The flavors of this dish were amazing.  Loved it!

 

I’ve been fighting a cold, and with Thanksgiving coming up, don’t want to wear myself down with meals requiring a lot of prep.  This meal definitely fits the bill of a meal that practically makes itself!

I was watching the television show Sunday Morning yesterday, and there happened to be an interview with the daughter of the man who invented the crock pot!  He was named Irving Naxon and he invented it in 1936, perfecting it to a “Beanery” by 1940, for the purpose of cooking a Jewish bean stew called cholent.   In the days before Naxon’s invention, they would heat the oven and place a dutch oven in it, so that they could turn off the oven during the Sabbath and have a meal ready to go that had cooked in the residual heat of the oven.  Rival bought the rights to his invention in the early 70’s.  Thank you Irving Naxon for making our lives easier!

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8 Skinless bone in chicken thighs

1/2 bottle Italian dressing (I used Drew’s – lower sodium and less sugar than most)

1 can low sodium Cannelloni Beans, drained and rinsed

1 Package frozen Swiss chard (I used Cascadian Farms)

1/2 c. seasoned Panko bread crumbs

Rice cooked in the rice cooker.

I pour the dressing over the chicken as soon as I get it from the market.  Sometimes I refrigerate it.  Sometimes I freeze it and then thaw it in the refrigerator (which takes longer than you think, depending on how you pack it in the tupperware).  This batch was laid out in a single layer, so it took about a day and a half to defrost in the fridge.  This way the marinade really flavors it well.

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Put chicken in the crock pot on low for 7-8 hours, until it’s literally falling off the bones.  Remove the bones using tongs, being sure to pick out those pesky knuckles too.  Shredding up the meat as you go along.  It’s a good idea to have a count on how many pieces there are, so you don’t miss any of the bones.

At this point, put on the rice cooker with rice of choice.  I had some yellow rice on hand, so I used it, and it was delicious with this.

Back to the crock pot – add in beans, and chard.  cook on high for about 10 minutes.  Add in bread crumbs to thicken, and place a paper towel under the crock pot lit to help absorb some of the moisture from the frozen chard, and cook until rice is done.

When the rice was done, not everyone was ready to eat, so I pulled the chicken aside in my crock and put the rice in with it, and set it to warm.  That way everyone could decide on their own rice/chicken ratio and eat at their own leisure.

Obviously, the variations are as voluminous as there are bottled dressings on the shelf!  Also, black beans and garbanzos work well.  Kale in the place of chard?  Add ins of onion, mushrooms, carrots, squash, etc.  You get the idea!  Great use of leftovers.  Eat it over noodles or quinoa instead of rice.  The list of what can be made this way is endless.

I’m thinking of trying a ginger miso inspired version of this and stir fry veggies for an Asian flair!

 

One of my sons is sensitive to dairy, and let’s face it, we can all benefit from scaling way back on dairy consumption.   I looked over my blog history, and I’m as guilty as anyone as using cheese as a go to for flavor and creaminess.  Tonight’s dinner was an experiment in a noodle dish with no dairy.  It was a huge success!  The addition of pumpkin in the recipe makes this the perfect time of year to try this dish, since you may have some left after making your pie.  Plus, it’s on sale everywhere.

pumpkin mac4

1 lb. pasta (I used cavatappi)

10-12 fully cooked sausage links (I used chicken hot dogs because so many sausages have cheese in them)

1 tsp. salt

1 large sweet onion, chopped

2 Tbsp. oil (I used sunflower/avocado blend) although sunflower is not recommended on the anti-inflammatory diet.  I’m just using up what I had on hand before I found that out!

2 Tbsp. bacon jam

1 Tbsp. ginger preserves

1 Tbsp. garlic

1 container Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese

1/3 package Daiya mozzarella shreds

1 C. pumpkin

Chopped moringa to garnish.  (we grow moringa in the garden, but any green will do, even green onions.)

Heat oil in dutch oven and cook onions and sausage with salt added until onions are softened.  Low and slow works.  Put water on to cook your noodles.

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Add in bacon jam and ginger preserves.  Cook 5 minutes more.

pumpkin mac

Add in cream cheese and mozzarella shreds.  Stir until melted.  Add in pumpkin.

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Stir in cooked noodles.  Serve topped with the moringa or other green.

Optional add ins:  Mushrooms, Cabbage, Parsnips, Carrots, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Beans, etc.!  This would be a great way to use up leftovers.

You could also put this in a baking dish and top with Panko bread crumbs and bake it.

We loved this.  I can’t wait to try it with pesto instead of the bacon jam and ginger preserves.  Lots of variations will work.  I also think that the cheddar shreds will make a great sauce.

 

 

I had some ground turkey and pork on hand for meatballs I am making for tomorrow nights meatball subs (a Donnie special request for his birthday month).  Due to a sale, I had more than I would need for the meatballs, and went to the local market on the way home from work in search of inspiration as to how to use the remaining ground meats.  It wasn’t long before low-sodium gravy mix caught my eye, and I realized it’s been a long time since we had shepherd’s pie.  I know that ideally, homemade gravy and mashed potatoes, as well as fresh veggies is best, but due to the time crunch, I opted for convenience ingredients.  It was still delicious!

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1/2 lb. ground pork

3/4 lb. ground turkey

1 onion, chopped

2 Tbsp. minced garlic

2 packets low-sodium gravy mix (I used one brown gravy and one chicken gravy)

2 c. water

2 cans no salt added mixed vegetables, drained and rinsed

1 package Ore Ida Steam and Mash Potatoes

2/3 c. sour cream

2 Tbsp. butter

Salt and Pepper to taste

Shredded cheese to sprinkle on top (I used Mexican 4 cheese mix).

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and spray 13 x 9 baking dish with coconut oil.
  2. Spray large skillet with coconut oil and cook onions and ground meats over medium heat until onions are softened and meat is cooked through.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.
  3. Meanwhile, cook potatoes in microwave.
  4. Sprinkle with gravy mix into meat mixture in skillet and toss until evenly distributed.
  5. Add water, and simmer until thickened.
  6. Add vegetables.
  7. Mash potatoes with butter, sour cream, and salt and pepper.
  8. If meat mixture is still too loose, add a little bread crumbs to thicken.
  9. Pour into prepared baking dish and top with mashed potatoes.
  10. Bake for about 30 minutes.
  11. Sprinkle with a little cheese and bake for 5 to 10 minutes more at 400 to melt cheese.
  12. Enjoy!

You can easily substitute leftover meatloaf for the browned ground meat and onions.  Just chop it up and add in gravy.  As for the veggies, this is a great meal no matter what veggies you use.  Broccoli and Cauliflower work well.  So do summer squashes.  Some folks like to top this with mashed sweet potatoes, but I’ve got one who’s not a fan in the family, so I stay away from sweet potatoes.

 

Waste not, want not.  Leftover boneless chicken breast (cooked in a delicious white wine, lemon, garlic sauce) was in danger of going to waste.  I chopped it down to small bite size pieces and tossed it with some grape tomatoes, celery, and leftover farro and some Kimchi, great northern beans, a little mayonnaise and viola a yummy new type of chicken salad is born.

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4 C. leftover chicken, chopped into bite size pieces

2 celery stalks, cubed

1 pint grape tomatoes

2 Tbsp. Kimchi

5 Tbsp. mayonnaise

2 C. cooked farro

1 can great northern beans, drained and rinsed.

Combine and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Enjoy!

 

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