The Family Meal: Leftover Blues


the-family-mealLeftovers.  Let’s face it, few of us adore leftover food because it never tastes as good as the night you first served it and frankly it doesn’t give us anything to look forward to.   Mom makes casserole. Family eats on casserole for 4 days straight. Family never wants casserole again.  But I’ve got something to cure those leftover blues and it’s called Morphing Meals.

I received a cookbook one Christmas titled, Robin Miller’s Quick Fix Meals and I suggest you get on Amazon and order a copy as it’s changed the way I prepare and organize my family meals. In this golden treasure, I was introduced to the brilliant idea of taking one ingredient and turning it into several different dishes.  Why didn’t I ever think of this? 

Not only does this save me serious time throughout the week because I do not have to come up with new things to cook but it also lets me use what I have in a new and delicious way.  I have found that this type of strategy is best to do on the weekends when I have help from my superhero hubby and the time to do a little prepping and cooking because I’m basically cooking in bulk for the entire week.

The great thing about morphing meals is that I can also freeze half of what I make and prepare the other meals at a later date.  But if you have just 1 hour to spare on a Saturday or Sunday, you will not have to cook again for the rest of the week and for busy moms this can be lifesaving!

The following is a favorite in the Wakeem home and I start by preparing a pork tenderloin which I typically serve with easy sides like boxed mashed potatoes and some creamy spinach.  Later in the week this one recipe will also make us a Wonton Soup, Pork Sloppy Joes and Pork Fried Rice! That’s 4 totally different meals from just one afternoon of cooking!

I’m going to give you the main recipe and then our favorite of the morphed meals below it.  If you want the other two meals you may contact me directly and I’m happy to provide all the recipes.

Balsamic Roasted Pork Tenderloin

Need: Two 2-pound pork tenderloins
Salt and freshly ground pepper
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons of honey
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Coast a roasting pan with cooking spray and place the pork in pan.  Season top and sides with salt and pepper. In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, honey, mustard and thyme.  Spoon the mixture all over pork then roast until an instant read thermometer reads at least 160 degrees (the pork may still be pink in the center and that’s OK as long as the temperature is right) about 45 minutes, basting every 15 minutes if possible. Let the pork stand for 10 minutes before slicing (I know you’re in a hurry to get dinner on the table but moms this is important, always let your meat rest–this lets the juices redistribute and keeps it from drying out) one third of it crosswise into 1 inch thick slices.  Serve the sliced pork for this meal and refrigerate the leftovers up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Pork Sloppy Joes (my superhero hubby begs for these)

Need: 3 cups of the leftover pork, shredded
One 14oz can of petite cut diced tomatoes
½ cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon liquid smoke seasoning
1teaspoon of dried basil
1 teaspoon of chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup frozen corn kernels
4 kaiser rolls or hamburger buns

In a large saucepan, combine the pork, tomatoes, ketchup, mustard, liquid smoke, basil, chili powder, cumin salt and pepper.  Set pan on medium heat bring to simmer and simmer about 5 minutes.  Add the corn and simmer another 5 minutes to heat through.  Spoon mixture onto rolls and serve. Sweet potato fries go great with this!

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