Re-purposed Leftover Recipe

So, my Mom and I have this ongoing joke/competition about creatively re-purposing leftovers. She still takes the win with her “chicken curry 3 ways” in Seattle. We (hubs, my little guy and I) were moving from Seattle to SF and needed to finish ALL the food. Before my Mom arrived, I had made a simple frozen chicken curry in the crockpot. That was meal #1. Meal #2 included the stir-fried addition of frozen Trader Joe’s stir fry veggies and brown rice. Meal #3 was the coup de gras: Chicken Curry & Stir Fried Veggies with Brown Rice Pastries. That’s right, my Mom BAKED the leftovers into puffed pastry, which she baked in the oven to make a delightful lunch we’d have paid $20 to enjoy with a glass of wine! Now we use that as the benchmark for all creative leftover re-use. I think I did pretty well tonight with “Meh Kale/Quinoa Salad Veggie Fritters”.

Last night, hubs, toddler girl (TG) and I went to the Pleasant Hill summer concert series. I brought along a kale, white bean and quinoa salad I’d been dreaming about all day. Unfortunately, the salad was kind of meh, even with a lemon vinaigrette dressing that was amazing in my mind around mile 8 of my 9 mile morning run.

Fast forward to tonight’s (Monday night) dinner. Hubs had a long, rough day and I’d been home all day with both kiddos for the first time in a few weeks. No dinner ideas…except one from my FB girlfriend Toni. She posted about her homemade veggie burgers and I was intrigued. She said she makes them with whatever is leftover in the fridge, veggie-wise.

Awesome Spinach/Tomato Salad with Kale/Quinoa Fritters:
1) prepare one recipe of Kale/Quinoa Salad:
“Meh” Kale/Quinoa Salad:
1 cup uncooked quinoa (cooked with 2 cups water)1pkt Trader Joe’s kale, chopped in food processor
1 can Trader Joe’s Cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup lemon-vinaigrette dressing (Juice of 1 lemon, 1/4 c. dijon mustard, 1/2 c. olive oil – whisked)
Mix in a bowl.

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It was OK, but not amazing. I was disappointed to have been out of pine-nuts. They might have made it more awesome…or not. Who knows?

2) Grind some of that salad in the food processor (I regretted using the little “chopper” but it worked alright for this small portion).

3) Mix ground salad with 2 eggs (to bind).

4) Saute/fry on medium/high heat in about 2-3 tbsp olive oil.

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4) Serve over salad of spinach and leftover Farmer’s Market tomatoes tossed with olive oil and champagne vinegar.

5) Devour and watch hubs devour 2 helpings.

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Maybe we were just hungry but this meal tasted super good. It may not be the “healthiest” meal ever since it’s officially fried but the ingredients are packed with nutrition and it was really delicious. For purposes of full-disclosure, the whole thing wasn’t completely vegan in the end because my husband added sour cream due to some dryness in the fritters, but we’re not vegan and actually plenty of meat and dairy. The point is that I used the food we had, re-purposed it in a fun way and had a yummy Monday night meal. Not bad for stuff thrown together from the pantry and fridge, eh?

What do you do to make leftovers more interesting?

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