Category: Using up leftovers


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!

 

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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.

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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.

pumpkin mac3

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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4 c. leftover chicken

1/3 c. mayo

3/4 c. grapes, chopped

1/4 c. ranch

1 Tbsp. Sriracha

Place leftover chicken in food processor with mayo, ranch and sriracha.  Pulse until creamy.  Add in grapes.  Serve in lettuce boats.

 

I bought some cauliflower rice the other day and had no idea how I was going to prepare it.  Luckily, I found a recipe that called for ingredients I almost always have on hand.

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2 bags cauliflower rice (I used Eat Smart – fresh)

1 bag frozen seasoning vegetables (onions, peppers, celery, and parsley)

2 cans tomatoes with green chiles

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. minced garlic

1 tsp. smoked paprika

1 tsp. taco seasoning

1 c. shredded cheese (I used cheddar, monterey jack, and habinero lime fontina)

3 eggs

Saute frozen seasoning vegetables in oil until softened.  Add seasonings and garlic.  Cook for about a minute, and then add in tomatoes and cauliflower.

Simmer 10 minutes until cauliflower is tender.

Meanwhile, spray a 13 x 9 baking dish and preheat oven to 350F.

Beat eggs and set aside.

Allow cooked cauliflower to cool 5-10 minutes and then stir in eggs and half the cheese.

Spread into prepared baking dish and top with remaining cheese.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

This would work well with spaghetti squash, zucchini, broccoli slaw, etc.  You could also change up the seasonings and make it Italian or Indian – lots of great variations!  You could also add in any leftover cooked veggies, or even cooked rice or quinoa.  Cheese substitutes would work well, too, as long as they are the kind that melts well.  My friend Danielle swears by Trader Joe’s veggie cheese that is supposed to be like mozzarella.  Add in tofu to make it a complete meal.  I can’t wait to try this on a meatless night!

 

 

Baked Chicken Quesadilla

I was on my way home from the funeral of a dear friend and decided to do some therapy grocery shopping.  Tortillas were buy one get one free, and I had some leftover chicken, rice, vegetable, bean soup in the fridge.  My son, Donnie, has been asking for Quesadillas.  It was meant to be.

1 package soft flour tortillas

2-3 c. leftover chicken soup (liquid drained out)

1 package shredded Mexican cheese

Salsa, Guacamole, Sour Cream, Olives, etc. for garnish.

Cover two baking sheets with foil and spray with coconut oil.

Lay out as many tortillas as fit on the baking sheets (I had three each).

Place leftover soup, minus the liquid,  into a food process and pulse until the consistency of tuna salad.

Layer chicken on each of the tortillas.

Top with cheese.

Place another tortilla on top like a lid.

Spray tops with coconut oil.

Bake at 400 F for 10 minutes or until golden, rotating halfway through.

These were a huge hit, and easy and quick to make.  No wasted leftovers either!!

 

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2 Immaculate pie crusts

12 eggs

1/4 c. sour cream

4 oz. diced pancetta

1/2 onion, finely diced

2 apples diced

6 oz. brie, diced

1 c. shredded cheese (I used fontina)

Pre-bake pie crusts until slightly golden at 400F.  Lower temperature to 325F.

Whisk together eggs and sour cream.

Cook pancetta until crispy, adding in onions to carmelize toward the end.

Place brie and apple in one pie crust.

Place pancetta and onion in the other.

Top both with shredded cheese.

Pour egg mixture equally into both.

Bake for 50 minutes or until knife comes out clean.

What I love about quiche is I can use up whatever is in the fridge.  Any veggie, any cheese , any meat, equals Yumm.

Serve with fruit or a salad – you can’t go wrong.

 

 

 

I cooked a bunch of chicken the other night that I had marinated in Frontera Key Lime Shrimp Taco Sauce (Frontera is Rick Bayless’ brand – the best!) along with yellow rice and black beans.  Less folks for dinner, so a boatload of leftovers – enter meal two – Burritos!

Burrito and Salad

4 c. leftover chicken breasts – baked in Frontera Key Lime Shrimp Taco sauce for 45 minutes at 350 F

frontera key lime shrimp sauce

3 c. cooked leftover yellow rice

1 c. leftover black beans

2 c. Mexican shredded cheese

20 flour tortillas

Oil for brushing

2 prepared large baking sheets – covered in foil and sprayed with coconut oil.

Preheat oven to 350F

1.  Put leftover cubed chicken in food processor and process until finely shredded.  Add a little salsa, if too dry.

2.  Mix chicken, rice, beans, and cheese using your hands like you’re making a meatloaf.

Leftover chicken and rice for burritos

3.  Place 1/2 to 3/4 c. mixture onto each tortilla, and fold envelope style.

4.  Place on prepared baking sheets.

5.  Brush with oil.

6.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes until golden.

So good, the kids said to make the same meal over again specifically to have leftovers to recreate the burritos!!

I served the burritos with salad.

I kept the lettuce and watercress separate from the tomatoes and cucumbers and let everyone assemble their own salads, to save salad stuff for tonight’s dinner consisting of chicken marinated and cooked in papaya poppy seed dressing, cooked at 350F for 40-45 minutes.  Another yummy, healthy dinner.

Papaya Poppy Chicken

 

 

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