Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Leftover HodgePodge

What do you do with leftover red rice and beans, collard greens, butter tofu, jalapenos, and sweet potatoes? 

Try to make enchiladas!

At least that was what I did.  I am trying to be better about using up leftovers and remnants of food in my fridge (especially veggies).  This week, I had a TON of leftovers.  The sweet potatoes weren't quite ripe when I needed them to make fries so the super hard-middles got put into a tupperware with some water and into the fridge.  The collard greens only came in a 2 1/2 pound bag (of which the remaining uncooked 1 pound is still currently languishing in my bottom drawer).  And the butter chicken was too acidic for my tummy the night we had it (growing, annoying problem since I love tomatoes). 

Hopefully this post inspires you to make over your leftovers, highlighting keynote ingredients, and making a completely different dish out of them.  It is possible!  And saves money!  (this was made with leftovers and we got 3 meals out of this!) 

What do cajun style red rice and beans and butter tofu have in common?  Lots.  Cajun and indian cooking have many similar ingredients to mexican cooking: jalapenos, cumin, cilantro, onion to name a few.  So I got the weird idea to blend the tofu chicken mixture and adding what was needed by taste.  This ended up being a can of tomatoes with habaneros, jalapenos (ok- so this ended up too spicy for me, could have done without them), chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, and cilantro.  I probably added things 3-4 times and tasted after every addition.  Key lesson learned from Top Chef: Taste your food.  Every time. 

Sauce accomplished.

On tastespotting I found a few black bean sweet potato enchilada recipes, so I boiled the sweet potatoes, mashed them, and added cumin, paprika, and black beans. 

Filling #1 accomplished. 

I also had leftover sauted leeks and collard greens (recipe here).  So again here, I added cumin and paprika.

Filling #2 accomplished. 

Last, but not least (and oddly my favorite), I added similar spices to my leftover red beans. 

Filling #3 accomplished. 

The night before (I spend a lot of time planning food, thus the night before making), I made homemade tortillas off Pioneer Woman (recipe here).  I stuffed the tortillas with a bit of cheese and the fillings (each seperate), topped with the sauce, and baked at 350 for 40 minutes (the fillings were cold and needed time to heat through). 

Voila!  It does not look pretty, but it tasted mighty nice with a cilantro sour cream. 

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