More leftover ideas and some comfort food for those cold snowy nights

I feel like I’m finally getting a hang of using up all my leftovers and not just as the same dish it was, but transformed so my family doesn’t get bored. There are a couple of dishes that are great for transforming meats, veggies, like quesadillas or chili or a baked pasta dish. Here are a couple of things I have made recently.

Eggplant Rolotini with Orzo
Olive oil
1 small onion diced
1 small/medium eggplant sliced thin to make rolls, and extra pieces chopped
1 28oz can of tomatoes (diced or crushed. Substitute 3-4 medium tomatoes in the summer)
Oregano
Thyme
Salt
Pepper
Garlic powder (can use fresh garlic, 1-2 cloves minced depending on how garlicky you like it)
1-1/2 cups Fresh ricotta
1 egg
12 ounces orzo
4 cups of stock (veggie or chicken) or water
Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add chopped pieces of eggplant and more olive oil if needed. Sprinkle salt, pepper, oregano and thyme onto eggplant and onion mixture. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add in tomatoes. While that is cooking, take ricotta cheese and egg and mix together with a little pepper, garlic powder and salt. Take mixture and spread across top of long, thin piece of eggplant and roll up. Take the sauce off of the heat and place roll up in the sauce. Repeat.  Drizzle eggplant roll ups with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Cover and place in 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes.
Make orzo according to package. Serve with eggplant and sauce.
I made this recently for a cooking club and we had to bring something that started with the same letter as your last name. Very fun!

Leftovers: Added the orzo and some of the diced cooked eggplant in with a white pork chili (see below)
Barley risotto, Roasted Butternut Squash and Balsamic Garlic Pork Tenderloin
(a recipe for when you have lots of time to cook. If you don’t, make some baked potatoes or even sweet potatoes instead of the risotto)

2-3 lb pork tenderloin (you could also use beef or boneless chicken or turkey breast)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup apple juice
1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/8 cup soy sauce
3-4 sprigs of thyme
1 medium sized onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced salt
lemon pepper
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
olive oil
2 cups pearl barley
8-10 cups broth (veggie, chicken or beef or even water or a mixture), heated
parmesan

Turn crockpot onto low. Pour in balsamic, apple juice, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, thyme, 1/2 of the onion and 2 of the garlic cloves. Mix the sauce and taste. If too acidic for your taste, add more apple juice. If you want it to have a little more of a savory bite add more Worcestershire sauce. Dry the pork and rub it with salt and lemon pepper and then place it in the sauce in the crockpot. It should cover it about 3/4 or so the way up the pork. Close and let cook 6-8 hours on low. When it reads 170-180 degrees on a meat thermometer, the pork is done. Take it out to rest. If you want gravy, add the cooking liquid to a large saucepan and bring to a boil to reduce by about 1/2. Then strain. I use a spoon that is a large strainer since its easier than pouring it out and then back in the pan. Taste. I usually add a little more apple juice, a Tbsp of brown sugar and some black pepper. Lastly add a cornstarch mixture (2 Tbsp cornstarch to 1/2 cup water) and whisk until thick.

Spread the squash out on a sheet pan and toss with olive oil, salt and lemon pepper. Roast in oven at 375 degrees for about 30-45 minutes.

In a medium sized sauce pan on medium high heat, put enough olive oil to cover the bottom. Add remainder of onion and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent. Add barley and cook while stirring for 2-3 minutes. Add about 1 cup of the broth and stir until absorbed. Keep adding a ladle or 2 of broth at a time until absorbed and the barley is the consistency that you like to eat it. This can take about 45 minutes. Finish with a handful of parmesan.

Leftovers: I used the pork and barley, along with the eggplant and some orzo from another meal to add to 1 can of cream of mushroom soup, 1 diced zucchini, 1/2 jalepeno (seeded and taken out before eating), cumin and chili powder to make chili. I put everything in the crockpot and cooked on low for 2-3 hours. I used the butternut squash in a quesadilla with cheddar. The kids loved it! Well, 2 out of 3 did at least 🙂

Another good idea for leftovers is to make an Asian noodle dish. For some reason, my 4 year old has decided she LOVES Asian food, so I’m trying to make it more. The other day for a quick week night meal, I took some shredded turkey out of the freezer (from the holidays) and made a turkey, broccoli and edamame noodle dish with whole wheat spaghetti noodles.

 

 Cook the noodles as directed on package. Put a little bit of vegetable oil in a large sauce pan or a wok if you have one, on medium high heat. Add 1/2 onion sliced thinly and 1 clove of garlic, minced. Cook until onions are translucent. Add turkey and cook until heated through. Throw in a handful of frozen broccoli and a handful of frozen edamame (shelled). Then add sauce. I made a sauce with leftover pineapple juice I had in the fridge, with terriyaki sauce, soy sauce, a little brown sugar and a drop of sesame oil. It was so good! Let cook for 5-10 minutes on medium. Add a little cornstarch if you want the sauce thicker. Add noddles to pan, mix and serve!