Category Archives: Reinventing Leftovers

Turning your extra food into a delicious meal. Worthy of NOT calling leftovers

Sweet & Tangy Roasted Veggies & Pork Chops

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Do it. Now. You won’t be sorry.

Sweet and tangy pork chops and veggies!

Sweet and tangy pork chops and veggies!


2 thick cut pork chops – I did boneless but you can do bone-in. My chops were over an inch thick. If yours are thinner, lessen your cook time!!

sprinkle salt on both sides and sear in hot cast iron skillet with preheated vegetable oil. Once lightly browned on both sides,  turn off heat.

Mix together the following:

1/3 C Catalina dressing

3/4 C cranberry relish (I had my own leftover homemade relish from Thanksgiving so used it here)

and drizzle over the chops.

Add thinly sliced sweet onion (one small onion) and thinly sliced sweet potato (one medium potato) over the chops and sauce.

sear off the chops and add sauce, veggies, bacon lardons and place in oven.

sear off the chops and add sauce, veggies, bacon lardons and place in oven.

Place 4 slices of raw bacon (sliced into small chunks) over the onions and potatoes. I did NOT do this in this original recipe but often add raw bacon to my veggies when roasting them and after I was finished with this meal, the hubs and I decided it was too sweet and needed some more salt and richness. So bacon should be added. Just trust me. Just like when you turned the oven on. Add the bacon. Do it.

Place skillet directly in oven for 20 minutes on the bottom shelf at 375 degrees F.

Once the timer went off I added previously roasted brussels sprouts just because I had them.

I added brussels sprouts after twenty minutes just to add some color and rich flavor.

I added brussels sprouts after twenty minutes just to add some color and rich flavor.

Move the skillet to the top shelf and up the temp to 425F for 20 more minutes.

Internal temperature of chops should be 150F and can be removed from the oven to rest in the skillet for about 15 minutes. Slice thinly and serve with the veggies and sauce atop the chops.

This meal was impressive and will wow your guests.

finished! Toss veggies and sauce with pork chops and allow to rest in skillet for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

finished! Toss veggies and sauce with pork chops and allow to rest in skillet for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.




Ham & bean soup

ham and bean soup with rivels

ham and bean soup with rivels

This recipe is great for that leftover chunk of ham you are tired of picking at. Boiling the broth for hours makes the meat fall apart.


1 good size chunk 3-4 pounds of baked ham (it’s okay to use leftover glazed ham from a dinner. The sweet glaze flavor just helps develop the broth)

2 unpeeled potatoes cut into cubes (I used a baked one from Easter dinner and then added a raw one. The baked one falls apart and adds a starchiness to the broth that helps thicken it. The raw one cooks in the broth and is perfect alongside the beans and ham.)

8 Cups broth and water (I had 3 cups chicken broth leftover from another recipe so I used that and used water to make up the difference.) – obviously, if you have ham broth or beef broth, that would work too. Or all water would work too. You just have to add bullion or tons of herbs. Taste and adjust as you go.

2 cans white beans drained and rinsed. I used Cannellini and navy beans. You could also use dry beans and follow the directions to cook them. (Any beans would work. Well, not baked beans. That would be weird.)

You can add a carrot and a celery stalk diced, too. I forgot both. ;-)

one hard boiled egg diced

flour, salt, water for rivels

thyme, salt, pepper, ground mustard powder, rosemary, bay leaves, garlic powder, parsley, white wine, sherry vinegar, etc. whatever herbs and spices you like. Again, sprinkle, stir, taste, repeat.


Throw the broth/water, beans, and ham into a pot. Turn it on low and put a lid on it. Cut up the potatoes, carrots and celery (if desired) and add next. Add herbs and spices and a little salt. (if you are using dried beans, and not canned beans, you should put about a teaspoon of salt in now.) Cook for about an hour on low. Stirring every once in awhile to keep it from sticking. Potatoes and beans are very starchy and will stick… Go take a nap and let it simmer for another hour or so. I usually cook my ham and bean soup for about 3 hours on low. Then at the end bring to a boil and add the rivels.

REMOVE BAY LEAVES if you used them at this point.

Pull the ham out by tongs and place in a big bowl so you can pick through it. Using two forks pull the ham apart from all the icky parts and put the ham back in the pot. Throw the rest out for a neighborhood animal to eat.

Now, if you want the soup thicker, you can use an immersion blender to break up some of the beans and potatoes. It will thicken the soup naturally. Or, you can take a scoop of beans out and place on a plate and smash the crap out of them with a fork and put them back in the soup. Either way. ;-)

Bring the soup to a boil.

Meanwhile put about 1/2 Cup of flour into a bowl, an 1/8 tsp of salt, and about a 1/4 cup of water and mix with a fork. It should be thick and sticky. If it’s too runny, add more flour. Too thick add more water. Using clean fingers or a fork grab little blobs of the flour mixture and carefully drop into the boiling broth. Don’t worry about having consistent sizes. I had one that was about 3 inches long tonight in my soup and another one that looked like a little bird with a beak and a wing. Rivels are fun. ;-)

Now add the chopped hard boiled egg.  Stir for awhile. Cook maybe 3-4 minutes at a steady boil. This cooks the flour in the rivels and breaks up the egg so the yolk is sprinkled throughout the soup.

Serve warm with crackers.

Spaghetti Grilled Cheese

Okay, so you know that part in my tagline that says I rarely follow a recipe? Yeah… Nor do I always take photos of my food. This was a pretty good sandwich though so I felt like I should tell you about it.

I don’t like spaghetti very much. I make it because my family likes it but it’s never been one of my favorites. I like pasta bakes, casseroles, and stuffed shells and lasagna type dishes but plain old, swirl-your-fork & slurp-your-noodles spaghetti I can do without. So when these leftovers were staring at me in the fridge but I really wanted a salty, buttery, toasty grilled cheese, I decided to combine them. Hopefully the next time I make spaghetti… (which, while I was eating this sandwich I was thinking I would make spaghetti solely for this recipe. Not to eat as leftovers. Is that wrong?) …Josie will love this as much as I did. I always consider it a success if she eats what I eat and I eat something that isn’t a chicken nugget.

Spaghetti Grilled Cheese

Take two pieces of good white or Italian bread of your choice and butter one side of each piece. (Come to think of it, if you have leftover garlic bread, use it in this recipe!!)

Sprinkle the buttered side with garlic powder and a pinch of salt – or use garlic salt if you have it. I just never have that and always combine garlic powder and salt to get that same flavor

Place one slice, butter side down in a non-stick pan over medium heat

pile some leftover spaghetti onto the bread. (I heated mine slightly in the microwave first to ensure it was hot the whole way through)

top the spaghetti with shredded Mozzarella and a sprinkle of oregano and/or basil

top with the other piece of bread and wait for cheese to get slightly melted before flipping.

Flip a few times and smoosh it down with your spatula to make a nice crunchy, cheesy, pasta-licious sandwich. Again, I apologize for not having a picture. I ate it too fast. My bad.



Pork Quesadillas

So one evening we had pulled pork, with rice and broccoli.

pork, rice, broccoli

pork, rice, broccoli

The next night we had all of that chopped up and put between two tortillas. I’ll be honest I can’t remember exactly how I made this. I can’t even recall what kind of cheese I put in it either. I’d imagine something mild like Mozzarella. Just something to help hold it all together but not take away from the yummy tangy  flavors infusing the pork. My goal here is to get you to think farther than a boring container of leftovers in your fridge. Think of how you can transform it and present it again at the table and have your family ooh and aah over it. Instead of, “I don’t want what we had last night,”  …have fun thinking of something new! Sometimes you discover the leftovers are better than the first meal. My favorite (re-)creations are pizzas and quesadillas. Good luck! “Fix yourself a dang case-uh-dilla.” (name the movie!)

Leftover Pulled Pork Quesadillas

Leftover Pulled Pork Quesadillas