Tag Archives: leftovers

Leftover Challenge

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I posted this picture to Facebook & Instagram on Monday with the caption: “Just pulled all of these leftovers or soon to expire items out of the fridge and I’m determined to make two new meals. Will post to the blog later in the week with the results.”  So here they are.  As one of my savvy Instagram followers guessed, the hubs made a Chicken Stir Fry for dinner Monday.  On Tuesday morning, B made a Chicken & Rice Stoup.  That is not a typo; I meant stoup, and you’ll read why.

The hubs took the 2 raw chicken breasts, the partial sweet (white) onion, the pepper, zucchini, some carrots, stir-fry sauce and one box of take-out rice.  To that, he added garlic, fresh ginger, another half of a sweet onion (from our onion basket), cilantro left over from dinner guests over the weekend that I completely forgot was in the fridge (good thing he checked!) and he filled the rest of the stir-fry sauce bottle with this homemade teriyaki sauce we love and shook it all together (FYI – I do not add the cornstarch and the ¼ cup of water to the teriyaki sauce cuz the hubs does not like cornstarch.  Tastes the same, just doesn’t get thick.).

He sliced and diced everything, including the chicken breasts, and then I stole ⅓ of his ginger/garlic.  😀  He salted and peppered the chicken and cooked it in sesame oil in our wok.  Removed chicken and cooked veggies in the same wok – carrots, pepper and onions first and when they were almost done, he added in zucchini and mushrooms (that he begged me to go get from the store for him.  Which I did, cuz he’s really sexy and he was cooking for me!  He also texted me when I was in the store and asked for a can of water chestnuts.  Always nice to have a little crunch in your stir fry!).

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After meat and veggies were cooked, he added and heated more sesame oil and then pressed the container of rice into the wok to get warm and flavored.  He said was going to add a scrambled egg, but I didn’t see any in my bowl.  I also found the can of water chestnuts, unopened on the counter, when I cleaned up the kitchen after dinner.  He forgot to put them in.  My scatterbrainedness is rubbing off on him – poor guy!  Once rice was too his liking, he put meat and veggies back in wok, tossed, added in the sauce, tossed, served up and added chopped, fresh cilantro as a garnish to his and my bowls!  No cilantro for B, thank you very much.  It was, like all of the hubs stir fries, AWESOME!

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While the hubs had been furiously chopping all the veggies, raw chicken, garlic and ginger for his stir fry, I was chopping myself for a chicken and rice stoup.  From the ingredients in the top pic of this post, I took the baggie with the chicken thighs the hubs had smoked on the grill, celery, carrots, red onion and the other box of rice.  I realized that the waaaay too pungent odor of the red onion meant that it was past it’s prime and should not go into my dish and with shame and sadness, I tossed it.  I then grabbed the other half of the onion that the hubs took from our onion basket and didn’t use in the stir fry.

I removed and tossed the skin from the chicken thighs, diced the meat, placed it in the bottom of a tupperware container and covered it with a piece of plastic wrap.  Then I diced up sweet onion, carrots and celery and placed them in the same tupperware container on top of the plastic wrap.  Why the plastic wrap, you say?  Because the next day, when B made the stoup, it was easy to remove all the veggies from the container without taking meat with them nor having to pick out the bottom layer of veggies from among the meat.  I also put a little glass bowl in the container with the garlic and ginger I stole from the hubs, added the cover and popped in the fridge for the next day.  I know what you’re thinking: “You are brilliant!”  Thank you.  I have my moments.  They are few and far between but I do, occasionally, have them.

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While getting the tupperware container Tuesday morning, B found 2 opened boxes of chicken stock in the fridge and pulled them out.  He also got out the Wegmans Basting Oil and a pot.  He heated approx a tablespoon of basting oil in the pot.  How did he know the oil was hot enough?  After a minute, he wet the tips of his fingers at the kitchen faucet and then flicked some water droplets into the oil.  He knew it was ready by the height and loudness of the water droplets sizzling because his mama taught him that.  🙂  In went the onions, carrot and celery and he sautéed them for 7 – 8 minutes.  Then he added the garlic and ginger and stirred constantly while they cooked, but didn’t burn, for 2 more minutes.

He announced that all the basting oil had ben absorbed by the veggies and, before adding the chicken, he needed to add a smidge more oil. And by “smidge”, I mean that the bottle got away from him and the oil dumped in.  That’s alright, that’s alright, the finished product has a nice sheen of oil slick on top that adds to the flavor and “beauty” of the dish.  😉  While he added the diced chicken thighs and heated them through, I dumped ½ of a box of take-out rice into a bowl and broke it up with a spoon.

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He added the stock to the pan and brought to a boil before adding and heating the rice.  There was not as much stock in those 2 containers as I had thought, but I didn’t want to open up a new one.  So, I declared the Chicken & Rice Soup to now be Stoup.  It’s a word used by Rachel Ray to describe a soup that is hearty enough or thick enough to be a stew.  B’s creation did not have much liquid and so we improvised in the kitchen.  That is what I love about cooking – it is an Art, up for change and interpretation by the artist.  Baking is not my favorite thing to do because it is a Science.  You can’t constantly tweak baking recipes based on what you do or do not have on hand because certain ingredients and amounts are non-negotiable.  They perform chemical reactions to get the desired, and more specifically an edible, end result!  We tasted his stoup and decided the smokiness of the chicken was a bit overpowering.  We added some pepper and salt, which balanced the dish and allowed the flavors of the stock and veggies to come out.

IMG_20141107_094319  And here is B’s end result!  I put some in a mug this morning, added some water from the tap and heated it up in the microwave.  Look at the beautifully shiny circles of basting oil sitting on top!  When I was done eating my stoup, my lips were so soft from that oil, I won’t need to apply lip gloss today.  😀  I love the dark flakes from the smoked chicken thighs!

I hope you are inspired to create new dishes from your leftovers and soon to expire kitchen items!  I have other posts on here about using leftovers.  If you are interested in seeing more, just search “leftovers”.

 

Best Way to Reheat Pizza in the Microwave

 

The best way to reheat pizza is in the oven or in a non-stick pan on the stove.  However, it takes a lot less time in the microwave and lots of just go that route.  So, if you reheat your pizza in the microwave, make sure you put a glass of water in there with it!  The water will prevent the crust from getting all rubbery and impossible to eat.  Also, microwaves tend to heat the bottom of your pizza slices really well, but not so much on the top.  I want my cheese to be, if not melted again, at least soft and warm!  So flip your pizza slice over (cheese side down) for the last ⅓ of your reheating time (I reheat 1 minute/slice).  It’s not long enough to melt the cheese so the cheese is not going to stick to your plate.  But at least your cheese won’t be cold.  You can always reheat longer to get the state of pizza that you want.

If you give it a try, let me know in the comments how it turned out!

Simple Bites’ Roast Pork & Caramelized Balsamic Onions and Stir Fry with the Leftovers

I discovered a blog, Simple Bites, this week and found several recipes I want to try.  I made Simple Bites‘ Roast Pork & Caramelized Balsamic Onions for dinner on Wednesday with one of the roasts I cut from a Christmas gift.  The roast was deelish and I used the leftovers to make Pork Fried Rice.

I had to show the picture on the right of the roast before I put it in the oven.  The hubs came into the kitchen, saw it and said in a very reverent whisper,”WHAT are you MAKING?!?!”  I even spotted some drool at the corner of his mouth.  ;o)  Pork wrapped in bacon – what male omnivore wouldn’t be all over that?

I followed the timing directions however the roast was less than 90 degrees F inside, so I cooked it another 25 minutes to perfection.  I removed the roast to my cutting board and while it rested, I poured the juice and onions into a saucepan to reduce the sauce.  It was very tasty!

This morning, I made brown rice for Pork Fried Rice.  I poured some sesame oil in my wok over medium-high heat, added some minced garlic, ginger and onions from the roast and tossed them around to heat through.  Then I added a cup of mixed, frozen veggies and continue to toss until they were thoroughly heated.  I removed the veggies and tossed the diced pork until it was heated through, then removed.  Next I added the cooked, brown rice to the wok, pressed it into a thin layer around the wok and let it snap, crackle and pop to get the rice crunchy.  Cuz, seriously, if you’re going to make fried rice, ya gotta make it crunchy!  After a few minutes, I turned the rice over to get the other side crunchy and then added the veggies and meat back it.  The final, and best step, was to pour some of this teriyaki sauce in the wok and toss to coat.  YUM!  That teriyaki sauce is so easy to make and I keep some in the fridge most of the time.

I hope y’all give these recipes a try and I look forward to trying more recipes from Simple Bites!

Leftover Wednesday – Breakfast Hash Curveball, Bagel Pizzas and Pork Fried Rice

I got busy today with leftovers!  We had leftover steak in the fridge and I wanted to make My Breakfast Hash this morning.  Sadly, I discovered we were out of potatoes.  *sniff, sniff*  Hungrily, I decided to clean out the bread cabinet and found 3, plain, mini bagels in the back.  I had made a batch of spaghetti sauce last week and still had half a jar left.  Ding! Ding! Ding! Bagel pizzas for B!  I looked in the fridge’s cheese drawer but no mozzarella.  I went looking for mozzarella in the freezer and found something else I didn’t know I had – half a bag of Arby’s Curly Fries (not from the restaurant.  You can buy them in your grocer’s freezer now).  I decided to try substituting the curly fries for the fresh potatoes in my hash.  Then I found an unopened bag of mozzarella for the bagel pizzas.  We also had half of the hubs pork loin from Monday night’s dinner, so I assigned him pork fried rice.  Phew!  Here we go….

Opened bag of curly fries, bag of steak leftovers and an onion.  With the seasoned fries, I didn’t need salt, pepper nor paprika in this dish!
Since I have so many pictures in this post already, I won’t add play-by-play ones of my cooking; I’ll just tell you.  I heated vegetable oil in my pan and added a handful of curly fries.  Once they crisped up on both sides, I removed them to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and added half an onion, chopped, to the pan.  While the onions cooked a few minutes, I chopped the curly fries up and added them back into the pan to crisp up some more and let the onion continue to cook.  I chopped the steak added it to the pan and heated it through a couple of minutes.  Here is the finished product!

 

These are the ingredients I had for pork fried rice.  Slim pickin’s this week, I tell ya!  I’m trying to get better at buying less and not buying anything else until the next shopping day.  You get creative!  I only had 1 carrot left, half a bag of frozen peas, a tomato from my mom’s garden, a shallot, some garlic, some ginger, the other half of the hash’s onion and Wegmans Stir Fry Sauce.  No, I’ve never had a tomato in fried rice before, but it needed to be used up so we gave it a try. It worked.

 

The hubs grated the ginger, diced everything else and stir fried in our wok with sesame oil.  Carrot, shallot and onions first, because they take the longest.  Then peas, garlic and ginger.  Removed all that from the pan.  Tossed the pork around to reheat but not to overcook.  Removed from pan.  Threw a few portions of cooked brown rice into the wok and crisped that up, then added 2 eggs and continued to fry.  Once eggs were cooked, he turned off the flame, added veggies and pork back in and added some stir fry sauce to taste.  It was so good!  It made enough to feed both of us for dinner and lunch leftovers for both of us tomorrow.  Leftovers from the leftovers!  I love it!

 

B had bagel pizzas for dinner.  Not because he does not like pork fried rice; he really does.  But I wanted to use things up and he was thrilled to be eating pizza.  And, as the hubs said, “More leftovers for us!”  This is a shot of the ingredients for the pizza, but I don’t have a shot of the result.  I’m sure you can use your imagination, though.  While the pizzas were in the oven, I ran out to chase and catch a full rainbow!  While doing that, the pizzas were done and B chowed down on 4.  I came back and ate one while the hubs was cooking our dinner and the last one fell on the floor.  Totally forgot about a picture.

Leftover Wednesday – Salad!

The hubs was really in the mood for a salad and I caught the fever.  Except for a BBQ, what says “Summer” more than a fresh salad?!  So, I pulled all of these ingredients out of the fridge and off the window sill to make dinner tonight:
I threw all seen above, including some shredded cheddar not pictured, into the fabulous, wooden salad bowl my MIL gave me for Christmas several years ago.  It was so delicious! Unfortunately, the avocados I wanted to include expired yesterday and did not make it in the salad.  :o(  There were leftovers for the hubs to take to work with him tomorrow for lunch, as well as for me to eat for lunch.  :oD

Leftover Wednesday – Monterey Chicken & Dirty Rice

After I graduated from college, I went to work at a restaurant named Steak & Ale.  I loved that place – the food was awesome and my co-workers were great.  My favorite dish was Monterey Chicken.  So, when I scoured the fridge and cupboards looking for something to do with the very last 3 chicken breasts in the house, Monterey came to mind.  I wanted something more flavorful than just plain rice to go along with it so I scoured the internet for a dirty rice recipe.  They all called for fresh peppers, which I did not have.  Then I found this recipe from VeggieBelly.com.  It’s a homemade dry mix in a jar for gift giving and no fresh peppers needed!  So let’s get started on what I did.

Here is a pic of (almost) all the ingredients I found in the house to use.  I had no green onions for the Monterey Chicken so I sautéed a Walla Walla Sweet because I just love them.  After taking this picture and then chopping all that needed chopping, I found 2 ears of cooked corn leftover from the weekend.  So I sliced the kernels off of one cob to add to the chicken and heated the other one up for B to eat with his dinner.

I roasted the corn kernels in a dry pan,*
cooked the bacon,
and sautéed half an onion in the bacon drippings.
Salted and peppered both sides of the 3 chicken breasts and cooked in the bacon drippings for 2 minutes a side.  Drained them on paper towels and let the chix ingredients sit until dinner time.
Then I made the rice.  Brought 2 1/4 cups of water to boil and added 1 chicken bouillon cube.  I didn’t even remember Ihad chicken bouillon cubes!  I bought them years ago when I was going to make a Paula Deen recipe and then decided not to make anything with a bouillon cube b/c of the ingredients.  However, I did not have any chicken stock on hand yesterday, so I decided to give it a try.  It worked out great.  After the cube dissolved, I added paprika, garlic powder, 3 times as much fresh oregano and thyme than the dry amount the recipe called for and 1 cup brown rice.  Brought back to a boil, stirred, covered and cooked on low for 55 minutes.
When it was time to eat, I turned on the broiler, rubbed one side of the chicken breasts with some BBQ sauce and put under the broiler for a few minutes.
Took the breasts out of the oven, turned them over and covered 2nd side with BBQ sauce.  Then topped with roasted corn, onions, chopped tomatoes, bacon and shredded cheddar cheese.  Put back under broiler for a few more minutes to heat up.  The broiler really crunched up the cheese.  Next time, I won’t put the cheese on that early.  The heat of the chicken and toppings will be enough to melt the cheese if sprinkled on top immediately after coming out of the broiler.
All three of us completely enjoyed this dinner!  I hope you do, too, if you give it a try!
*Update on “roasting” the corn in a pan on the stove.  I now put it on a foil-lined cookie sheet and stick it under the broiler.

Leftover Wednesday: Dinner Leftovers…for BREAKFAST?!

Yes, peeps, that’s how I roll.  Most “breakfast” foods are starches and they don’t stick with me but an hour or two, even the ones full of fiber that Weight Watchers swears fills you up for a long time.  My tummy’s not built that way, evidently.  When I eat dinner leftovers for breakfast at 8am, I can go until 2pm before I get hungry again and I have plenty of energy.  And I’ll eat all leftovers for breakfast – casseroles, pizza, grilled meats, whatever is in the fridge.  So let me tell you about my favorite leftover, Breakfast Hash!

Paula Deen and I have so much in common and one is that we both keep cooked potatoes around as a staple.  We happened to have steak and baked potatoes the night before, so I made sure I cooked extra potatoes.  Dice a baked potato, add to a hot pan with your favorite oil and cook until crispy on all sides.  I used to use butter in my hash but learned from my Uncle Lanny that butter was the reason they didn’t crisp up.  You need oil for that!  I also salt, pepper and paprika the potatoes at this time (the paprika was another secret I got from Uncle Lanny).

After the potatoes are crispy all around, or just crispy on one side if you want some softness to your potatoes, add in some diced onion and cook until the onion is as done as you like it.

Next, if I have other leftover veggies I want in my hash, I’ll toss them in after the onions have cooked and before the meat.  They just need a minute or two to warm up; you don’t want them overcooked.  Then you throw in whatever leftover meat you had for dinner the night before, diced up.  The smaller you cut it, the quicker it will heat up.  The longer you cook it, the tougher the meat will get, so just a minute or two will heat up diced meat.  Don’t be hatin’ on the temperature I eat my red meat, y’all!  ;o)

 Ta-da!  Yet another appetizing meal ruined with a crappy picture of the finished product.  LOL  But I eat with my taste buds not my eyes because I have learned from experience that you can’t judge a book by it’s cover!  This lovely hash was served with a zigzag of ketchup on top and set the tone for a productive and energized day!

I hope you give breakfast hash a try.  It’s a great way to serve breakfast for guests, especially at holiday time.  You always have leftover ham, potatoes and green beans after Easter.  Make a big, one-pot breakfast hash for everyone to eat!  You only have to cook once.  As people awake and stumble into the kitchen at different times, they can scoop themselves out some hash and pop in the microwave to heat up if need be.

Leftover Wednesday – Ham & Brie Crostini

Tonight’s leftover meal was all B’s idea.  He and the hubs love Brie (I do not).  B found a chub of Brie leftover from the weekend in the fridge, pulled out the last of the ham luncheon meat that needed to be eaten today or thrown out and on the counter was the 6 inch remains of a baguette.  He wanted to make mini ham and cheese sandwiches for the hubs and heat them up.  I decided the sandwiches should be “open-faced”.
I sliced the baguette into twelfths, put strips of ham on each and divided up the remainder of the Brie among the bread.  Popped it in the oven under the broiler for a few minutes and voila! – Ham & Brie Crostini!  I had a ham and American cheese sandwich on wheat bread with mayo and mustard.
Dinner was so easy on me that I also made a chicken pot pie for tomorrow night.  Now all I have to do tomorrow is pop it in the oven and make a salad.  :o)

 

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