Thursday, May 28, 2009

Steak Stir-fry and Leftover Meat Ideas

First, and foremost, let me again remind you to please keep those votes coming for my brother! Thank you for your votes already, they're working! He updated you guys in the comments section to let you know he received a call from Murphy-Goode to submit proof of his credentials and eligibility to work in the US, along with some writing samples. He has a 30 minute phone interview tomorrow, too! Keep your fingers crossed!

Next is pretty exciting news, too! Mara at What's for Dinner? featured my Spaghetti Squash Boats as a "Guest for Dinner" on her blog! Thanks again, Mara! :) Don't forget, she's still having a give-away for her adorable food blogger charms until June 1st, or you can purchase them outright for only $7! What a steal! I have the little laptop one en route to me as we speak, I just couldn't resist!

My give-away is still going on, too! Guess the number of pistachios for a chance to win a 1 year subscription to Taste of Home magazine! You have until June 1st!

Finally, remember BSI: Corn ends this Sunday, so get your creative corn recipes into Sophia at Slurp and Burp! She's giving away adorable funky socks and a cute little case to the winner!

Tonight's dinner was a stir-fry using up a ton of veggies in the fridge and leftover steak from Johnny's parents' house on Monday.

Served over white rice was:

1 large carrot
1 small head of broccoli
1 cup string beans, cut in 1" pieces
1 small green pepper
<1/4 cup chopped onion
1 small zucchini, quartered and sliced
1 stalk of celery

I sauteed these in a stovetop wok with a drizzle of olive oil over high heat for about 4 minutes. Next, I poured in a mixture of about 3 Tbsp each of water, Hoisin sauce, and reduced sodium soy sauce. I let this reduce for about a minute, and then in the final minute threw in slices of 2 leftover steaks and about 1/4 cup of roasted peanuts.

Stir-fries are a great way to use up not only vegetables, but leftover meat. It gives you the freedom to cut the meat in smaller pieces and add it at the end of cooking, so it doesn't get dried out and overdone. Had I used this steak in another method, it would have easily become very tough and dry, but it remained moist and tender heated only a minute with the veggies at the end.

Other great ways to use up leftover meat include:

Stuffed Peppers! Use any pre-cooked meat and mix with veggies or rice. Stir in cheese or spices to make the meal have a different taste each time. Spoon the mixture into a half of a green pepper, and top with sauce or gravy and bake in a 350° oven, covered, until the peppers are tender, usually about 30-45 minutes.

I've made two versions of stuffed acorn squash, found here and here. The squash microwaves quickly and you can use literally anything to fill the cavity where you've scooped out the seeds. Couscous, quinoa, small noodles, rice, and any veggies or meat you have on hand. The possibilities are endless!

Pot pies are an excellent way to use up both red meat and poultry. Mix the meat with a gravy and your choice of fresh or frozen veggies. You can buy the frozen pie crusts in the pack of 2 and simply flip the 2nd crust upside down as the "top," and crimp the edges together. Either bake then, or freeze for later! My mom always makes turkey pot pies with all the Thanksgiving leftovers, killing two birds with one stone!

Soups! I've made way too many to link to, so you can either search (up at the top), or come up with your own ideas! I usually start with my "big ass pot" and fill it with a mixture of veggies on hand. Carrots, celery, onions, potatoes are staples. Then, vegetable stock and sometimes rice, barley, pasta, to bulk it up. I usually use a store-bought rotisserie chicken, but you could use any meat on hand. Just add it to the pot last and let it come up to temperature. This is another post-Thanksgiving and Christmas turkey user-upper.

Sweetie Pie's cabbage nests are fantastic for new flavors and ideas. I've made them with sausage and I've made them with chicken. Simply roast the cabbage and any veggies in the oven. Then, assemble, putting the meat of your choice, sauce, gravy, etc. on top and bake. You could add cheese during the second bake, or even top it with a fried egg, which Sweetie has done before, but I've yet to try!

Savory bread pudding is a relatively new introduction to my repertoire of using up leftover meat, but it's a great one! Use up your old bread, use up veggies, and use up meat. Smother it with eggs and cheese - could anything be better, or easier? It also scores bonus points for being a one dish meal and the ability to throw it in the oven and forget about babysitting it!

Throw it on a salad! I've put everything from leftover steak cut in strips, chunked up ham, chicken breast, tuna, shrimp, and Morningstar burgers on a salad. It's so easy to fluctuate the toppings and dressing choice to compliment the extra protein you've thrown on top!

If all else fails - add eggs! You can mix meat with your egg sandwich in the morning, throw it in an omelette, or make a skillet frittata for dinner! Eggs are a great way to use up leftovers from breakfast to dinner and everything in between!

What is your favorite way to use up leftover meat, or any other leftovers for that matter!? I'm always looking for new ideas because I get bored of meals very fast. I hate repeats and I can't eat the same thing twice in a row or I get tired of it and have to avoid it for a few weeks (or months).


Mara @ What's For Dinner? said...

OK, I have got to stop reading your blog when I'm even remotely hungry :) Your charm is, indeed, EN ROUTE!

Brooke said...

All your pictures are beautiful! I too, throw anything and everything leftover on salads. All the different tastes just spice it all up!

I am glad to hear your a$$ is bodacious! Shake whatcha momma gave ya!

dlpiano said...

Hello Christina,
I am glad you mentioned the pot pies-you can also use roast beef as well. What is so terrific about the pot pies is they freeze well and are perfect for a busy night. I recently pulled one out of the freezer and gave it to a friend who was overworked and neeeded a home cooked meal for her family.

Another family favorite when you were growing up with left over meat was the tacos--and SOOO many sides!

Since you are the queen of creativity you can probably whip up a recipe to include left over meat in one of favorite dishes--quiche!

Keep on cooking and writing,
Love your Mommy

Nowheymama said...

Fried rice :)

Sweetie Pie said...

What a great post!

I almost always end up making pot pie with leftover Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey when I'm at my parents' house for the holidays. That's one leftover inspired dish that I really look forward too. My dad is usually a big fan too. He loves anything involving a gravy, and who could blame him? :-)

I definitely love my leftovers on top of a cabbage nest too. Thanks for the shout out!

dlpiano said...

Ok, tonight we had a weird meat left over dinner.
The original dinner was hamburgers, onions & eggplant grilled. I took a bag of fresh peeled tomatoes out of the freezer to thaw. I chopped up the hamburger and sauted with the onion and eggplant. Threw in the bag of tomatoes, fresh basil and oregano, a little salt and pepper.
Let simmer. Possibly this could be called some kind of goulash? We put it over tube pasta broken into smaller pieces because we did not have elbow macaroni, then sprinkled with parm. Actually quite good and now all our left-overs are in one bowl in the fridge!
How about a picture of Corky instead?
Love, Mommy

dlpiano said...

forgot the white beans you Father added!

Anonymous said...

Great post Christina! Fingers crossed for your brother - I voted! :D

I am great with using leftovers - soups are my go to!