Festive “Confetti” Breakfast Hash – Using Up Holiday Leftovers

So, we’re a few days after Christmas festivities and boy, do I have a lot of leftovers. For the most part, it’s a little baggie of this and a small container of that, mostly leftover from the veggie, meat & cracker trays I made for my Mom’s dinner on Christmas Day. Today, I was hungry and knew that some toast and peanut butter wasn’t going to “do it” for me, so I started taking stock of what I had in the fridge and freezer. Here’s what I found:

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Taco/Fajita Crescent Roll Wreath

The wreath is cut!

Sometimes, you want a certain taste or dish, but you don’t want it done the “same old way”, right? I was feeling that way about fajitas and tacos. I love them, don’t get me wrong, but I was wanting them done up some other way. I considered a casserole version but then I poked around online and saw a recipe for a cheese, broccoli and chicken stuffed wreath made out of crescent roll dough and thought, “Ah ha! This is what I’m looking for!”

Also, just a note:  I have a tendency of using fajita seasoning instead of taco seasoning, even when we’re having tacos. It’s a personal preference. Use your own. 🙂

Here’s what I did:

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Homemade salsa

A bowl of homemade salsaI’m going to give a disclaimer on this one: this does not taste anything like the pre-packaged jars of salsa that you buy in the store. I think I know why, too; I omitted the scads of salt they use.

This is fresh-tasting with a bigger spice-kick than I expected (I generally reach for the mild salsa, so this is probably on the upper limit of mild for most people). You can taste the ingredients, not the salt. I think I prefer it, to be honest.

YMMV, however. Spruce this one up how you like it. Add more or less than what you see and don’t be afraid to experiment. Here’s what  I did:

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Hoisin beef stirfry

A white rectangular plate shows off a beef and vegetable stirfry meal with a pair of black chopsticks resting on the napkin beneath the plate.I think I posted something very similar to this a while back, but I’m revisiting it. I’ve changed up the ingredients a bit, including the amount of hoisin sauce and spices, as well as adding a can of water chestnuts (which were a fantastic addition!).

Stirfry lunch or dinner is a nearly no-guilt meal for me. So long as I watch the sodium, don’t add much in the way of oil, and am careful with what sauces I add (and how much), I think it’s a pretty healthy way to eat. And loading it up with veggies but just a little bit of meat allows you to spread out a small portion of meat (especially if that’s all you have) between more people/portions.

You see, I’m not much of a raw-veggie fan, but stirfry needs to be crunchy. Warmed through but still undercooked enough to have that crunch. A floppy, mushy stirfry is just nasty, so the key here is a high enough heat to warm quickly while preserving the crunch of the veggies, but not so high that it burns, along with cooking it very quickly. Cooking it on a lower heat just boils or simmers it in whatever you’re cooking it in. I am by no means a master at this. I just kind of eyeball it and judge by how the food feels against the spatula.

So I had some strips of an Eye of Round roast in the freezer that I hadn’t cooked up yet and decided that was going to be the meat of the dish. Here’s what I did…

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Thai-inspired dinner

A plate with grilled chicken with Thai peanut sauce, beef-flavoured noodles and grilled pineapple slices.Thai food is not something I normally indulge in. I can’t handle spicy-spicy foods. (Yeah, I’m a wuss.) But I was in the mood for something different tonight, so I poked around online for a dipping sauce recipe that would strike my fancy and dove into whipping something up.

First, I cannot claim the Thai Peanut Sauce as my own. I did cut back slightly on the amount of chili powder and added more brown sugar for my own tastes, but otherwise, check out the recipe at tasteofBBQ.

All I did with the chicken was cut it up into strips and then marinaded it in a bowl in the fridge filled with half a bottle of low fat Italian dressing for about an hour. Then I skewered them on metal skewers and grilled them on my indoor grill for a few minutes. Carefully, I removed the chicken from the grill with tongs (as those skewers would be hot)! and pulled the chicken off the skewers into a serving bowl, sprinkling it all with a little bit of coarse salt.

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Friday Sammy: Easy Grilled Panini-Style Chicken Sammy

A finished chicken and red pepper panini, cut in half.I was so tempted to order in tonight. I even had something picked out, a list written up and my hand on the phone. But then something clicked and I thought, “Save your money, girl! Surely you can whip something up quickly that’s tasty and better for you than that fast food crap!”

So I looked in the fridge and came across the following items: chicken, red bell pepper, white onion, barbecue sauce, mayo and cheddar cheese. Looking in my lunch bag that I brought home from work, I found a roll I never used for my dinner (a really large, soft roll). The wheels started turning.

Still looking for inspiration, I found myself staring at the tv as one of my favourite Food Network shows played (Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives). One  of the restaurants was making panini-style sandwiches with focaccia bread. It looked amazing. Hey, wait… I don’t have focaccia, but I have that football-shaped roll. SWEET! Here’s what I did… Continue reading

Making something coherent out of scraps

Stir fried chicken and veggies on pan-fried noodlesIt happens to us all at some point or another: looking into the fridge is suddenly akin to a train wreck or horror film — truly gruesome but impossible to ignore.

Science experiments and unidentifiable lumps are hidden in every corner and you have to dig through questionable containers and ziplock baggies before you find what you’re looking for.

It could be in the form of one single red pepper just starting to look a little worse for wear, but still edible, if  cooked.That half an onion which is beginning to dry out but would do well if heated up.Oh look, the green onions are starting wilt on the ends, but those can be chopped off and the rest salvaged.

Sounds pretty bleak, doesn’t it?

There’s hope yet!

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