Double Pork Chili (Second Meal)

By now, most of you probably know my concept of Second Meals: planning a different, second meal using leftovers from a separate meal earlier in the week. Usually, when I make a spice-rubbed pork loin, I make my default Second Meal with the leftovers: Pork Pozole Soup. But today was unseasonably cold, and I wanted something a little heartier. Soup just wasn’t going to cut it tonight! I remembered I had some previously-cooked ground sausage in the fridge from earlier in the week, and suddenly I knew what I would make instead! So here’s what I did (list of ingredients at end of post). Keep in mind I was just using up leftover portions of much of this produce from earlier meals, so you can adjust your quantities to taste.

Start with a tablespoon or two of butter and a tablespoon of EVOO in a large stock pot. Once the butter is melted, add about half a red onion, chopped. After a minute or two of sauteeing, add 2 diced cloves of garlic. I then roughly chopped a few mini-bella mushrooms and added them. Next, half of a jalapeno, finely diced. I also had a bag of those tiny cocktail bell peppers, so I added 1 orange and 1 red, finely chopped. Stir and saute for a minute or two. I added 1/2 a beefsteak tomato, roughly chopped. Then I peeled, quartered, and finely chopped about 1 1/2 carrots. (Use 2 whole ones if they’re smaller – mine were quite large!) Then I sprinkled saltcumin and paprika once around the pot. Stir again! Next I squeezed the juice from half a lime in with the veggies and, of course, stirred. Next I used up the rest of my pesto tomato paste (regular is fine too) – it was probably about 1 1/2 tablespoons. Stir in until it is almost a veggie paste. You don’t want big clumps of the tomato paste. Let that cook for a good 2-3 minutes, then deglaze the pan with about 1/4 cup of red wine (I used merlot, because that’s what I drink these days!). Stir and cook for a few more minutes until fully incorporated.

Delicious veggies and sausage... You will become CHILI soon!

Delicious veggies and sausage… You will become CHILI soon!

Now that the veggies are finished, we can add our meat! First I added that previously cooked ground sausage leftover from an earlier dinner. It didn’t take too long for that to incorporate once I stirred it up a bit. Then I pulled out my spice-rubbed pork loin from last night and chopped it up. (Recipe to come!) **Because this pork is highly seasoned, I don’t need a lot of seasonings in the chili itself.** I added about a cup to the chili mixture. Let that sit for a few, then added a can of petite diced tomatoes. Stir and simmer for about 3 minutes, or until it starts to boil again. Then add your beef stock – again I had this in the fridge from another recipe. I probably used less than a cup. I suggest adding it gradually, because you can always add more, but as the chili cooks, it will reduce to less liquid. Lastly you can add about 1/4 cup of frozen corn and stir.

Bring it up to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for approximately 4 hours, or however long you want. Again remember the longer it cooks the more it will reduce! If you let it go too long and it’s thick or almost burned, you can add a little more beef stock and let it simmer for awhile longer (20-30 minutes should do it).

Serve with shredded cheddar cheese (or Mexican blend) and sour cream! Yummy!

wpid-20141004_165247.jpg

Double-pork Chili

Double-pork Chili

*If you want a little more spice, add one or a few of the following after the veggies but before the deglazing: red pepper flakes, cayenne, or chili powder. I left these out so it wouldn’t be overly spicy for the kids – but my choice would be 2 dashes of chili powder and 1 or 2 shakes of red pepper flakes!

You will need:
Butter & EVOO
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4-5 mini Portobello mushrooms
1/2 jalapeno, finely chopped
2 small cocktail bell peppers (1 orange, 1 red), finely chopped
1/2 Beefsteak tomato, roughly chopped
1 1/2 – 2 carrots, peeled, quartered, and finely chopped
Cumin, Paprika, Salt, Pepper
Optional: Chili powder, red pepper flakes, cayenne
Juice from half a lime
1 1/2 TBLspn tomato paste
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 chub previously cooked ground sausage
1/2-1 cup chopped leftover spice-rubbed pork loin
1 can petite diced tomatoes
Beef Stock (about 1/2 cup, maybe)
1/4 cup frozen corn
Cheddar Cheese, Sour cream, any other garnishes you wish
*Beans of your choice are optional – I didn’t have any to add, but it was delicious without!

Remember that I usually cook with OHI – whatever I have in my kitchen at the moment. Mix it up to use whatever you have – it’ll be delicious, and you’ll feel resourceful! 🙂

Advertisements

Spruce up ye ol’ Grilled Cheese

Who doesn’t love grilled cheese? It’s almost it’s own food group among kids of our generation. The best grilled cheeses have a buttery, crispy (but not too crunchy or hard!) toast, and warm, melty cheese.

As an adult I still loved grilled cheeses, but after awhile I felt I needed to make it more ‘grown up’. So I started adding ham. Grilled Ham and Cheese. Those are good too.

But today I was remembering a particular grilled cheese I made after I had A. We were living at my parents’, kind of renting their basement, and prior to this I had never really made much at our own home. My skills were limited at best – partly due to budget, partly due to having a TEENY (carpeted) kitchen, and partly due to lack of skill and practice. But at my parents’… well they had a huge kitchen full of ingredients at my disposal!

So one day for lunch, I made myself this amazing sandwich… Grilled ham, cheese, and pear. Yes, PEAR. I toasted the bread, buttered the outside of the bread, spread the inside lightly with cream cheese, sliced the pear thinly, and placed it on the cheesy bread. Then I added a slice or two of cheese and a few slices of ham, and grilled it up in a frying pan until the cheese was melty, the ham was warm, and the bread was golden. DELICIOUS!

Last night the hubs asked me to make him a ham and cheese… just on regular bread, using leftover ham steak slices, with slices of provolone… put in the microwave until the cheese was melted. Not bad, but it reminded me of the one I had made so long ago at my parents’.

So today for lunch, I made a grilled ham, cheese, and APPLE. (Sadly I had no pears.) Because a crunchy piece of sweet fruit just adds a little something special to the world of grilled cheeses!

wpid-wp-1398711562409.jpg

wpid-wp-1398711587975.jpg

One side was a teensy bit overcooked (but still good!)

Here’s a step-by-step guide to making this delicious sandwich:
1. Toast 2 pieces of whole wheat bread just until firm, but not burnt.
2. Meanwhile, slice an apple thinly – Cut vertically just past the core, and cut that half into thin, about 1/4-inch slices. (The slices should still look like a circle.)
3. Butter said pieces of bread immediately after removing from toaster – just on one side. Place butter-side-down on a paper plate.
4. Heat a small skillet over medium heat.
5. Place a piece of provolone cheese on each piece of bread.
6. Place a slice of leftover ham steak (or a few slices of deli ham) on one piece of bread.
7. Place the slices of apple on the other piece of bread.
8. Put the two slices together and place in the skillet. VERY CAREFULLY and WITHOUT WALKING AWAY!, place the paper plate over the skillet to trap the heat and melt the cheese. Let cook for 1-2 minutes on this side. ****WARNING!!! If you have a gas oven I do not recommend this as it is a FIRE HAZARD! I have an electric oven and watch very closely the minute or two the plate is atop the skillet. Also, if you have a skillet with a lid, there’s no need for the plate in the first place.****
9. Remove plate and flip sandwich to the other side, leaving the skillet uncovered. Cook for another minute or two.
10. Remove from pan, slice, and serve!

It’s especially good with water, or herbal tea! (I like Sweet Apple Chamomile, Lemon Zinger, or Cherry Blossom green tea.)

Have you made a unique grilled cheese?? Share in the comments! I love new ideas. 🙂

Steak Wraps & Salads (Second Meal)

I am loving wraps lately to use up leftovers.  You can add whatever you like to them, and they’re usually fairly healthy – especially if you get whole wheat tortillas.

So after I made grilled Chuck steak the other night, I made wraps for lunch with the leftovers.

image

I sliced the steak, reheated it gently by sauteeing in a pan, then layered it on a tortilla with cheddar, chimichurri, avocado, and tomato. If you have enough steak left, this would work as dinner the next night too.

Or, you can make a salad.  Prepare the steak the same way, then toss it lightly in the chimichurri. Place over your green of choice, adding whatever toppings you like. I put romaine lettuce first, then cheddar and tomato, the steak, and avocado. It’s great with this homemade dressing.
image

My lovely sister had the idea of making burrito bowls too – rice and beans topped with these same ingredients.

If you used lean beef, you can feel good about making a healthy choice for lunch. It doesn’t take much time at all, and as a mom, it sure feels more grown-up to eat one of these options than it does to eat a PBJ or grilled cheese (not that I have anything against those classics).

Now enjoy a very simple but elegant feeling second meal!

Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Casserole

Today I’m going to share with you one of my GO TO meals on the rare occasion I don’t have anything planned for dinner, I’m low on groceries, or short on time. Part of the reason for this? It’s basically made only with OHI. Sometimes I’ll work this into my meal plan too, because it’s so easy and the whole family loves it.

This is a great Second Meal, because you can use leftovers from another chicken dinner for this casserole. When the chicken is leftover from another meal, this one should take only about 45 minutes to prepare. It’s homey comfort food at its best!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
wpid-20140122_161700.jpg
1 can Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/2 cup  milk
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables – I use carrots & peas, and corn
2 cups cubed cooked chicken (or shredded chicken is good too)
About 2 cups Egg noodles, cooked and drained
1/4 cup  grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon  ground black pepper
1/2 cup shredded Triple Cheddar cheese (or more if you really like cheese!) for topping
*Sometimes I’ll add a little extra shredded cheese into the mix also
I’ve made this enough times that I usually eyeball the ingredients – except for the milk. Too much milk and it’s tasteless and watery.

Preheat your oven to 400º. Start by putting hot water in a medium pot and salting the water. Bring to a boil and cook your egg noodles according to package directions.
In the meantime…Start with the soup, milk, parmesan, and pepper and stir in a casserole dish (I think I use a 2 Quart one). Then I add the veggies (which I usually leave out a bit so they’re not frozen solid) and mix. Add the cooked, drained noodles next.
While the noodles are cooking I chop the chicken into cubes and add it last.
wpid-20140122_161622.jpg

wpid-20140122_162602.jpg

Remove from oven, stir if noodles on top look hard or browned, then sprinkle cheese to cover top. Bake for another 5 minutes to melt cheese. I usually let it sit for a few minutes, then dig in!! Hope your family enjoys this as much as we do 🙂

First meal ideas for chicken:
Spinach Artichoke Chicken (if you use this, you have the bonus of additional veggies, AND it will be creamier!)
Fresh Take Italian Parmesan chicken
Stuffed Chicken

Quick Tip: “Multiple Meal” opportunities

One of the things I’ve learned to do to save myself time and money is to re-purpose a grocery item for more than one meal. I almost always buy family packs of meat and break it into 2-3 dinners. Most times I’ll even take leftovers from those dinners and make an entirely different meal. I suppose if I had a motto in the kitchen, it would be, “Use what you have”. And along with that, “Save everything!” (until it goes bad of course) You never know what could come in handy!

So when I am meal planning and grocery shopping for the week, I always ask myself if I can re-purpose either the leftovers, or the other half of the protein that I don’t use. Actually, more often than not I do plan my meals with leftovers in mind. That’s what I call a “First Meal”: one in which you purposefully make more than enough, with a plan to use the leftovers for another meal – whether that be breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a side.

Continue reading

Aside

What’s to come! First and Second Meals

Stay tuned for recipes of what I like to call “First meal” and “Second Meal”. This is using one product in two different meals, or repurposing the leftovers of the FIRST meal to make a SECOND meal.

Here’s a sample of my meal plan from last week:
Thursday: Mahi Mahi with coconut rice and mango salsa
Friday: Cheat (work) day – frozen pizza and sides
Saturday: BBQ pork ribs
Sunday: Twice-cooked pork tacos

So here’s what you can expect to see!
1. Ground sausage – Used in potato skillet (2 uses) and pasta – Plus alternate uses for the sausage
2. Country Style Pork Ribs – first in crock pot, then as tacos – Plus additional ideas
3. Repurposing the salsa from the Mahi Mahi meal

Stay tuned!

Second Meal – Crock pot Italian Chicken to Creamy Chicken Soup

Making “second meals” has fast become one of my favorite challenges. It is fun to see if I can figure out a way to repurpose leftovers instead of just reheating them. Not that there’s anything wrong with simply reheating. I just feel like reheating is a cop out sometimes… ? Where does that come from? I don’t know. I suppose I just like to challenge myself 😉 You know why else? Because reheated meat never tastes as good the second time around. So I try to find a new way to use it instead.

So! Here is the first featured ‘second meal’. Remember the chicken I made in the crock pot a few nights ago? I saved the leftovers in Tupperware and it has been stored in the fridge since then. When I opened it, it actually smelled like canned chicken. BLECH!! (although this did give me an idea for an alternative second meal… stay tuned!) Today I broke out my big soup pot and some OHIs – chicken broth, a little white wine, some frozen veggies, and some seasonings – to freshen up that first meal.

Generally we eat at 5pm. Which means I start dinner at 4. But when I’m making homemade soup I like to give it a little more time to marinate. (I say this like I make homemade soup a lot. I don’t. I just know that in GENERAL, if you want a good blend of flavors and tender meat, longer is usually better. Right?!) So I started this soup around 3:30.

I started by basically dumping the Tupperware upside down into my soup pot, then pouring the chicken broth around it. I used a ladle to spread it and mix it together. (I could’ve used a wooden spoon, sure, but I knew I’d serve it with the ladle, and I’m all for dirtying as little as possible to decrease my dishes. yeah!) Next I added some dry seasonings: thyme, parsley, a little salt, a little bay leaf and some garlic powder. I stirred it around and then added a little parmesan cheese (just Kraft for now). I also added some chopped onion leftover from last night’s dinner (post coming soon!). Next time maybe I’ll prep better and be sure to have fresh parsley on hand to add a fresher taste.

This was still looking too thick for a soup, especially if I planned to add egg noodles later. So I looked around to see what OHI I had… Chardonnay! This was even a freebie, as my mom and our family friend Traci had left it the other night after babysitting the kids (Wait, stop! I know what you might be thinking: my babysitters were drinking?! Don’t worry. The kids were asleep and I have full confidence they were not binge drinking. I never thought I’d say this, but I actually drink around my kids. One beer or glass of wine does not impair my ability to properly care for my kids. Parents, whos with me?!). I probably ended up adding a cup? A cup and a half? I knew it would mostly reduce down, but it would do the job. Adding more depth of flavor and decreasing that super creaminess. I needed some acidity and I didn’t have much other option on hand. It’s now been simmering for 45 minutes or so. It tasted awesome when I tested it. All the chicken was slowly breaking up into smaller pieces.

I debated whether or not to add more pasta and make it chicken NOODLE soup. It already had a little leftover noodles from the first meal and I did have little chicken broth left in case the noodles absorbed too much liquid. At 4:45 I decided to just go ahead and do it. I added what was left of a box of macaroni (about 1 cup – remember how I said I always have little bits left?!) About 5 minutes before serving I added the veggies – frozen peas and carrots.

So, as a side note, I used to really dislike soup. Maybe I never had one I really liked? Maybe I felt like I was getting gypped out of a ‘real meal’. (Kids’ thought processes are WEIRD sometimes. At least I think mine were.) I guess I just felt like the only time I ate soup growing up was when I was sick. (Chicken and stars!! Who’s with me?) Not that my mom didn’t make it. I just didn’t LIKE it. Ha. So I guess the truth is, I wss stubborn and never ate the stuff. Tastes change as you get older, and I’ve learned to appreciate the beauty of a good soup. Why?

Soup is generally a combination of leftover ingredients – a way to use stuff up before it goes bad. Stock is made from a combination of meat and/or the bones of that animal. YES! This goes along with my OHI/’use what you have’ motto. “Waste not, want not” is pretty smart. They knew what they were talking about back then. Soup is great for the frugal-minded. Plus, there definitely is something about a hot soup that warms you up from the inside out on a cold day. Or makes you feel better when you’ve got a cold. And. While I’ve learned to appreciate the history of soup, I’ve also learned that you can combine things you’d never think compatible when serving in a soup. Have you ever had Carrot coconut ginger soup?? IT. IS. AWESOME. And not terribly unhealthy either, as you use coconut water or milk instead of heavy cream. Working at a restaurant I’ve even realized I like COLD soup! Gazpacho! Refreshing and healthy.

So. Now I’m going to go serve and enjoy my second meal… Chicken noodle soup!

image
image

image

image

Post-dinner note: this soup is like VELVET. It must have been the wine. All 3 kids ate their bowls empty. Oh yes I will definitely be doing this again!