Tortilla Soup//Chicken Rice Bowl

I know I do a ton of LO on rice, but it is such an easy and fast way to remake something. The key to a good leftover makeover is to incorporate new ingredients so it seems like a totally new dish. The last thing you want is to dread having dinner or hear complaints from the crowd you are feeding!

I haven’t made tortilla soup in a slow cooker before. I have a great stovetop recipe, so I was pretty hesitant to try this one, but was pleasantly surprised. It came together easily and was very hands-off, which is essentially the best thing about the crockpot.

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Delicious!

I packed leftovers into lunches by straining out the chicken and veggies and serving over short grain white rice. Quinoa, beans, any other rice, or even cous cous would have worked wonderfully, too.

I topped it with some extras – green onions, black olives, and cilantro and added more cumin over the rice.

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I actually even strained this out and ate it in a tortilla for breakfast one morning. It would have been even better with a fried or scrambled egg or two, but even as is was really filling and a great way to mix up the leftover!

Storm of the Century! Salmon Cakes//Sliders

I am not sure how many of you follow nationwide weather trends, but we have pretty mild weather here in Seattle. Aside from a lot of rain/grey days, we don’t get a ton of scary weather phenomenon.

It is great for someone like me, who doesn’t like heat and can’t handle snow, but that means we are absolute BABIES when something does happen. I’ve never seen an entire city shut down over a tiny, thin coat of snow like Seattle does. (I lived in UT and CO, so I know real snow).

Recently we had a major weather warning-a big wind storm was going to potentially knock down a lot of power, trees, and cause general mayhem in our usually mild city. We made sure to get a lot of provisions, from canned food that I wouldn’t mind eating cold in an emergency (stew, chili, canned salmon, peanut butter), lots of firewood, flashlights/ lanterns, bottled water, batteries… we had a good stockpile for about three days. I live in the city proper, so the few times our lights have gone out the power is usually back in on hours.

The day of the storm comes… and goes. Nothing crazy happened at all, just a totally average rainy weekend. And now I have all this prepacked crap sitting around. I do think I’ll keep some of it for the next major disaster (ha ha), but one of those days I can’t seem to get a crockpot together or drag myself out to the store occurred and I just so happened to stumble upon my salmon cake recipe.

This thing is written on a post it note, so I have no idea where I even got it from. I think I had borrowed a cookbook from someone and jotted it down as a winner because the fish cake recipes that don’t heavily feature mayo are few and far between. It is essentially lemon juice (I used lemon pepper), 7 oz of salmon (canned works perfectly for this since salmon can be expensive and you mix it all up with so much filler the quality of the fish isn’t super obvious), an egg, and 1/2 a cup of breadcrumbs or crushed crackers. I did end up using some Veganese, mostly because my can of salmon was 14 oz, and I didn’t want to retain a smelly can of fish in my fridge.

I’d gotten some kale for sandwiches, and always have onions in my fridge, so those sauteed in some olive oil made a perfect bed of greens for the fish.

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I sprinkled some leftover short grain rice with furikami. YUM!

These packed really nicely into lunch with some slider buns, lettuce, sliced tomato, and more veganese for salmon burgers.

Weeknight Idea//Lunch Quick Fix

Long time no see. Before I delve into usual excuses I am going to just allow myself to run this blog however it naturally happens. I may not ever have thousands of followers, but I do have a pretty decent record of the triumphs and disasters in my kitchen over the last year. Not too shabby!

I do about four crockpot dinners a week and have the other three nights to actually cook. That has led to a lot of opportunities to try new things, and rarely, on a week where I am sick or overscheduled, it leads to some hastily thown together dinners from my fridge’s existing contents.

Ideally I shop Sunday or Monday for the entire week, from lunchbox stuffers to full dinner/dessert trimmings. Every now and then when that is botched, you end up with something like this for dinner.

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I sauteed onions and red pepper strips along with a chicken breast I had in the fridge. Toss all of that in between two flour tortillas with a little cheese and you have a pretty well rounded and quick week night dinner. I also mixed some diced tomatoes in to cooked short grain rice. Any rice would work, I just prefer short. Add S&P and cumin to taste. I topped that with some black olives and green onions.

All of this is super easy to reheat and pack in lunches. The crisp nature of a quesdilla doesn’t hold up well to being packed/refrigerated, so I wrapped a soft tortilla in aluminum foil and tossed the leftover veggies and some shredded chicken onto a serving of rice. Eating it as a burrito the next day kind of helps break up any food monotony. Adding something new, like avocado slices, lime juice, or cilantro is a good way to mix up a leftover, too.

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I cooked two chicken breasts at once, so I had plenty to use for other things. The leftover stuff ended up looking like this, and was made into a side for a dinner later in the week and the chicken became a pretty nice layered mason jar salad.

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Weekly Roundup 3/15

Monday- quesadillas with Spanish rice, which was a side left over from last week. I also made an apple raspberry pie in honor of 3.14.

Tuesday- Mediterranean Chicken I made this weeks ago and it is DELICIOUS. Definitely excited to have it again.

Wednesday- Stuffed Peppers I’m subbing turkey for the ground beef. I’ve made this a lot out of a slow cooker, so I’m really looking forward to seeing how the crock pot handles this dish!

Thursday- Navy Bean and Smoky Ham Stew I love a one-step crock pot. This one I haven’t made before and I have high hopes for.

Friday- Leftovers! I really need to start scheduling a dedicated LO night at LEAST once a week. My fridge is finally on the verge of being cleaned out.

Weekend- a miso fish that needs to be marinated two days, some sort of brunch fixings,

Make This Now! — Easy, Portable Beer Brats

This recipe wasn’t one I was particularly excited about. I initially picked it because I figured it would be easy to take on the go when we were attending a First Thursday artwalk. Most museums in Seattle are free on the first Thursday of each month, and we try to get to a new one or one with an exhibit we haven’t seen before during them.

Anyway, since I am not off work until 6 and most museums tend to close around 8, we need to be on the road ASAP. This cooks up in 7 hours on low (a mere 4 on high!) and is very kid friendly and GREAT as a leftover.

I’ve sliced it and served it on top of boxed macaroni and cheese, it would be great in eggs/quiche, and even served on a bed of rice and sauerkraut/veggies it would make a very nice meal. Maybe some roasted or boiled potatoes…

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I usually like them with sriracha, but dijon mustard would be okay, too, as the recipe calls for. When I serve it to DS I serve it with the brat only, no onions or sauerkraut.

Happy cooking!

Pork Loin, Asian Style

I love pork loin– whether in slices or tenderloin. It tends to be a cut you can get for cheap/on sale pretty regularly and is really hard to mess up. It does wonderfully in the slow cooker, a la honey soy pork tenderloin and many other amalgamations. I’ve only done two recipes twice– the honey soy tenderloin and beer brats. I think you get an idea of what keepers these recipes are already.

The first version was a remake of the honey soy pork. I served it with rice and stir fried veggies.

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It was delicious. The remaining sauce in the crock pot serves as a great pour-over, otherwise any blend of sesame oil, soy sauce, teriyaki, etc. would work well.

I was nervous about how the sliced pork loin would work in a recipe that called for pork tenderloin, but other than the smaller shreds it was perfect.

I took the leftover meat and decided I wanted ramen. I took refrigerated Korean noodles (any sort of asian noodle would work here, even soba or rice noodles), sauteed some baby bok choy, roasted carrots, green onions, and hardboiled eggs for topping. The actual recipe called for a soy sauce and miso base, so I put about a half tablespoon of each in a bowl and mixed it with hot chicken broth for the soup. Add kimchi (I got store-made this time) and some seaweed cut into strips and you have a very deep flavor profile bowl of ramen. It was utterly delicious and made great leftovers for weekend lunch.

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This is also a great way to reuse the crockpot/rotisserie chicken.

Sick Days and Remakes

I had to miss an entire day of work last week, which is always upsetting. I’m very much a routine girl– plan the entire week’s worth of meals, try to do as much ahead of time prep and shopping as possible, etc. This really threw me for a loop, as I just felt too poor to even offer dinner suggestions. The boys are so lost on their own, so it was really appreciated when SO picked up a rotisserie chicken and a couple sides from Whole Foods. I no longer had to worry about dinner, shopping, or anything but getting my food into my body.

I didn’t even photograph the awesome tabbouleh salad, couscous, or brussels sprouts next to my chicken, if that gives you some idea of how poorly I felt. Anyway, I felt a lot better after eating and was totally back to 100% the next day, and with a great option for lunches/dinner in leftover rotisserie chicken!

This is one of the easiest things to remake. The chicken can literally be used to bypass any recipe you already have, from salads to soups, casseroles, pasta… it is actually really similar in result to the crockpot chicken I’ve posted about before. The recipe linked is similar– just toss some quartered onions, carrot chunks, large chunks of celery, potato, really any hardy veggie in underneath the chicken for a quick and complete meal with easy leftovers.

The best thing to do here is peel the chicken off the skin and bone right away and store it as just meat and veggie. I’ve found putting the entire thing in the fridge is daunting because the gel from the bones and fat is gross and hard to pick through.

Here I used the leftover meat with pasta– jarred sauce and all. Quick and easy!

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I also had done a slow cooker chicken this week, so trying to clear up some back posts– that turned into kimchi rice bowls– which made perfect vehicles for sides and veggies I’d used earlier in the week, too.

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I had the furikame (seasoned, dried seaweed flakes with sesame and dried veggies) and seaweed (which I cut into strips) in my pantry, but the sweet potatoes were leftovers from fries I made for slow cooker beer brats. Toss some kimchi I picked up from the grocery store and the rotisserie/slow cooker chicken on top and you have a quick meal or an easy to pack lunch!