Ok, so this post doesn't have anything to do with Justin Timberlake's song or involve scantily clad, gyrating dancers, but it does have to do with bringing the sexy back... to leftovers. Many times, after a long day, the dreaded question arises: What's for dinner? At this point, I usually open up my fridge and stare mindlessly inside, hoping for divine inspiration or Julia Child to appear inside the veggie drawer with detailed instructions on how to make pate out of sandwich meat. Most of the time, neither one of those things happen. Instead, I usually have to head down to the supermarket and shop for new ingredients for dinner. After many nights of late-night grocery shopping however, I created a list of go-to dishes that I can create on a moments notice, made from our typical leftovers. Here are a few of my favourites:
Taco Nite meets Pasta Nite:
Cumin infused Spaghetti with preserved lemon & ricotta
Tacos are ubiquitous in our house, we eat them at least once week and I'm always coming up with creative ways to re-use the spicy, aromatic, cumin laced beef that I usually have leftover. Enter, Eat in My Kitchen's Moroccan inspired pasta dish, full of amazing little additions like fresh ricotta, preserved lemons and heirloom cherry tomatoes. It really is a beautiful crossover of spices from Mexico to Morocco. Simply add your leftover taco beef to this recipe and you have something that is totally gourmet and definitely isn't reminiscent of leftovers
Note: One item that might be a little more difficult to procure is the preserved lemons, but if you live anywhere near a bigger city, they can be found quite easily in Arabic, Specialty and Indian grocers.
Amazing recipe here: Eat in My Kitchen
Meat & Potato nite meets Asian nite:
Pork Pho with Fennel, Ginger & Rice Noodles
This is another staple in our house. Every week like tacos, I make porkchops and usually I buy the family pack at the grocery store and which means there are always a few cooked chops left over. So, one night after a long day and quick survey of the fridge and another late night google search, I landed in Epicurious' domain and latched on to this amazing, and quick pork pho--- It's especially quick because I substitute the step where you pan fry pork shoulder steaks for my already cooked pork-chops. Pho (pronounced 'phuh') is one of my favourite dishes, think of it as an asian version of chicken noodle soup... except a million times better! Serve this up with a variety of garnishes like, cilantro, lime wedges, roasted peanuts and you have a dish you can present to your family or serve for a dinner date with friends.
Recipe here: Epicurious
Roast Chicken nite meets... you guessed it Taco nite! We've come full circle:
shredded Chicken tacos With Tomatillo Salsa
Oh the beauty of it! We've come full circle and now are back on my favourite day of the week... taco nite. There is nothing... and I mean nothing better than a taco. Veggie, tofu, chicken, beef, bean, heck even those weird ice-cream tacos... they are all delicious! This is such an easy leftover fix. Roast chicken is one of the dishes I make each week and I use the leftovers a million different ways: bone broth, chicken and rice, and of course tacos. I love Epicurious' take on taco culture by creating a guide instead of a recipe. Really all you need is shredded chicken, tons of delicious toppings, some tortillas and a whole lot of cervezas!
Check out Epicurious' taco guide here: Taco Guide
Parting words of wisdom:
I think in a culture where oftentimes we're taught to just toss out the old and buy more, it's important to evaluate the true cost of food, both on our wallets, and on our environment. Food is a precious thing and so many do without, so maybe next time you're giving that leftover pork-chop the stink-eye get a little creative... it might just be tastier than the original!
Over at Autumn Wood Stylist HQ we're currently bundled up against Montreal's worst, watching re-run episodes of I-Zombie (it's our favourite) and sipping a peppermint hot chocolate, dreaming of the beach.
We're hear for a friendly chat, a knowledgeable putting together of heads, or a silly rant about sweatpants fashion (we're for it btw) and we'd love to help with your next cookbook, photo-shoot, dinner-party or catalogue!