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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Using Left overs & Roasted Pork Chops

Using left overs so they don't taste like left overs can be a challenge however, with today's rising food prices it is more important than ever. For me it is not so much of a price thing but more of a "I can't stand wasting food" thing. That's not such a bad thing with words like recession and famine being tossed around in the media. The reality is both of these could easily be a possibility meaning everyone should be very conscious of wasting food at any level. Ok so I'm off my soap box. One reason aside of being frugal for using left overs it results in a low preparation meal that can be on the table with little effort. The trick is to make a left over dish that differs from the original meal. Some of my favourite ways to use up left over are soups, stews and casseroles but frittatas, omelettes and quiche also come into play. My rule of thumb is to always cook extra. Always keep in mind what you can use the left overs for as well as adding to your freezer quick starts.

Roast Beef Casserole

As promised here is the casserole made from our roast beef dinner. I had a little roast beef, gravy, corn and garlic mashed potatoes left over. I added fresh sauteed mushrooms, steamed spinach and home canned corn. This type of casserole appears on the table anytime I have left over mashed potatoes and meat. The basic idea is to use the starch (mashed potatoes), meat and gravy along with any left over vegetables and make a casserole. At the same time introducing one or more ingredients makes the meal different from the original. Here I combined left overs with new ingredients to make a filling casserole. Serve with a salad and home baked bread.

Basic Method: Cut meat into bite size pieces. Mix with any left over gravy. Place into a casserole dish forming one layer. Layer vegetables on top then finish with the starch layer. Bake at 350ºF until the casserole is warmed through.

Roasted Pork Chops

A half or whole pig custom cut is always a good deal. If you have read this blog you will know that is the way we buy the majority of our pork. Pork chops are always cut 1-inch thick. The reason for this is the way we cook pork chops and that tends to be one of four ways: breaded, roasted, grilled or in mushroom sauce. Thick pork chops are a must for these applications. I roasted thick pork chops in the countertop roaster then served with steamed broccoli and roasted potatoes topped with home canned chili sauce, recipe here.

Method: Place 4 - 1 inch thick pork chops in the roaster. Add 1 ½ c water. Chop 1 small onion and sprinkle over the pork chops. Tuck in bay leaf. Splash liberally (about 2 tbsp) with Worcestershire sauce. Sprinkle on about 2 tbsp Herbs de Provence. Cover and roast at 250ºF until pork chops are cooked through. Add whole, unpeeled potatoes. Continue cooking fro about 20 minutes. Stir in quartered fresh mushrooms. Continue cooking at 250ºF for 15 minutes. Increase the temperature to 350ºF for about 15 minutes. Remove pork chops and potatoes from roaster. Stir in a slurry consisting of corn starch, water, salt, pepper and 1/4 tsp browning (optional).

Pork Chop Casserole

This left over casserole was put together in layers much like the roast beef casserole except I used 1½ pork chop from the night before and the gravy. Originally I was going to add the left over potatoes but since I wanted to use pasta decided against that. I poured the solid contents of a 500 ml jar of home canned beans and the same in home canned niblet corn over the pork chop in gravy. Then I topped with cooked elbow macarroni. I mixed one tin of condensed mushroom soup mixed with one half tin of milk then poured that over the noodles and topped with ¼ shredded cheddar cheese and ½ shredded provolone cheese. I baked the casserole tented with tin foil at 350ºF until hot through then removed the tin foil and allow the cheese to brown. Served with a simple baby greens salad topped with lemon juice it was a nice way to use up left overs.


Garden Gnome

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