Leftover Taco Meat Scramble

To mix up the monotony of scrambled eggs (over-easy, oh how I miss thee), we seasoned the pan by first adding leftover seasoned ground turkey from Thursday night’s taco salad.

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Scramble eggs as usual, and top with your choice of taco-friendly ingredients. In my case, that was avocado, tomatoes and goat milk yogurt.

Broth-Braised Crock Pot Pork and Noodles

New year, new kitchen quandaries! Rather than freezing four separate containers of homemade crab stock, I used it to make a healthy Ramen/Pho-like pulled pork and soba noodles dish. We even had leftover pulled pork at the end of it.

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Pulled Pork: place all ingredients in a crock pot on low for 6 hours.

3 cups broth or stock
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sake
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pork tenderloin

Noodles: once pork is ready, cook noodles of choice separately in their own pot using additional broth. Add kale or other greens once noodles are near al dente.

Serve pork on top of noodles and add condiments of choice. David had his with a little Sriracha sauce.

Put an Egg On It: Quinoa & Avocado

Ever have one of those mornings where protein is the only thing that will satisfy your hunger? Here’s a healthy way to tame the beast:

Warm a thin layer of pre-cooked (cold leftovers works great) quinoa with a bit of melted butter in a skillet (cast iron will prevent burning). Crack eggs over the top, season with salt, cover and reduce heat to low.

Once they’re close to set, remove from heat to finish cooking through, and serve immediately with avocado.

Put an Egg on It: Beg, Borrow & Meal Breakfast

Leftover Mexican food provides a deceivingly complex base for sunny side up eggs!

Simply cook the leftovers (in this case, refried beans and half an enchilada) on low and then crack eggs over the top and cook covered until set. All the flavors of the original dish are enhanced by the runny eggs. Tastes fancy, but it’s fuss-free.

Crock Pot Pulled Pork & Quinoa

Part two of this week’s pre-made meal makeover was pulled pork in the crockpot, served twice (and counting!) with quinoa and veggies. It started with my recipe for taco-ready crock pot pulled pork, which basically consists of a pork tenderloin, a large can of diced tomatoes, frozen corn and taco seasoning in the crock pot.

I served mine two ways with quinoa as a base: accompanied by spinach and tomatoes on the first night…

On the second night, I melted a slice of pepper jack cheese over quinoa in the microwave, then topped it with leftover pork and sliced avocado…

And there is still plenty of leftover pork!

Beg, Borrow & Meal: Quinoa Southwestern Salad

Instant doesn’t have to mean unhealthy. Every week I order healthy and/or organic pre-packaged meals and snacks from Safeway.com to smooth out the hungry edges of a busy workday or post-commute dinner. This week, I made lemonade out of lemons (salads that arrived on the same day they expired), by beefing them up for heartier dinner portions.

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Using Safeway O Organics Southwestern Chicken Salad as a base, I added diced Safeway Select roasted red peppers, leftover O Organics quinoa from the previous night, Safeway Select pre-cut broccoli florets, and substituted the ranch dressing with goat milk yogurt. (David got both of our packets of tortilla chips.) I definitely recommend seasoning generously with salt.

(And if you’re listening Safeway.com, know that I’m a beyond loyal customer but I’m so tired of getting things delivered that have already expired or are about to expire in a day or two. My delivery drivers are always gracious about passing along the message to the store manager and I’ve called customer service countless times. The ability to return something doesn’t help if no replacement is delivered in its place.)

One-Pan Leftover Pasta Revival

While I could eat pasta in any form – cold, warm or otherwise – leftovers can be uninspiring as a dinner option for some. Here’s how chicken apple sausage can give previously cooked pasta a new lease on life by providing ample seasoning and one-pan convenience, along with a jar of roasted red peppers.

Sauté sliced chicken apple sausage in olive oil. Using a fork, lift roasted red peppers from the jar and place in pan with sausage. Slice peppers with spatula while cooking, if desired. When both sausages and peppers are warmed through, add leftover pasta and stir to coat.

Crock Pot Pork Tacos & Enchiladas

One crock pot, two dinners. On Sunday, I kept things simple by putting a pork tenderloin in the slow cooker with a carton of chicken broth (4 cups) and 4 tbsp of taco seasoning. After cooking it on low for 4-5 hours, I added some chopped green onions to the broth and kept it on the warm setting, while I prepared the taco ingredients.

The second night is when things got more exciting. I had leftover pulled pork and two small batches of liquid to work with, and didn’t feel like prepping all the dry ingredients that normally go into burritos. I rolled up the leftover meat in tortillas in a casserole dish; sprinkled the batch with plenty of cheddar cheese, and poured the liquid all across the top and along the sides. I baked it for 30 minutes, or until the liquid was boiling.

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The result? Ooey, gooey pulled pork enchiladas that were deliciously “slimy” – as David described them. (You could cut back on the liquid, but what fun would enchiladas be without the goop?)

Boiled Chicken, All Grown Up

In the early days of Dinner with David, I spent a fair number of nights boiling chicken to make enough shredded, juicy meat for several dinners. Nutritious and satisfying, it was about as exciting as, well, boiled chicken.

So, with a generous bunch of green onions in the fridge, and inspiration from Pinterest, I took some liberties with two nights of leftovers.

Soba Noodles Cooked in Chicken Broth, with Peas and Green Onions

Simply boil leftover broth along with two cups of water. Add 1 tbsp each of soy sauce and fish sauce, and green onions. Add soba noodles and cook until nearly tender; then add leftover chicken and frozen peas, and stir until peas are cooked through.

Shredded Chicken with Spanish Rice, Topped with Green Onions

This attempt was a little more dicy. Inspired by Pinterest, I decided to give the ol’ rice cooker a try at making Spanish rice. Add one can of diced tomatoes (I used tomato sauce), 1 1/2 cups water, 1 1/2 cups of rice and 2 tbsp of taco seasoning to the rice cooker. Be prepared to force your rice cooker’s handle to stay in the on position like I did (mine wanted to stop a couple of minutes in). But, unlike me, don’t let it cook so long it chars the bottom of the pot. 🙂 Serve with leftover chicken, broth and green onions.

Beg, Borrow and Meal: Turkey Meatball and Spinach Scramble

Breakfast was a whole lot heartier this morning, with the addition of leftover turkey and banana meatballs from Thursday night and a 50/50 spinach and lettuce blend. There’s nothing like leftovers and expiration dates to inspire some creativity in the kitchen!

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