What I Cooked Last Night

Sometimes I make up these crazy meals that turn out to be wonderful. When that happens, i think it is worth sharing. Occasionally something turns out to be a total disaster, then it is the story, rather than the recipe that is worth sharing. My kitchen creativity is best used on leftovers. I can work tasty magic with leftovers. Be sure to read the first post, "About My Cooking Style" which will help in following recipes when given, or to recreate meals from my prose.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Crazy Leftover Night

Faced with a strange array of leftovers and no time to go to the store--amazing how often this happens to me-- creativity was the name of the game. From Monday I had about half of a London broil and maybe three cups of mashed potatoes. From Tuesday I had about two cups of pinto beans cooked with lots of garlic & onions and half a bag of baby spinach. After grabbing a few staples from the icebox I had the makings of a very interesting meal that turned out to be quite tasty.

First I diced up a green bell pepper and an onion and set them to cooking in a large saute pan with about a tablespoon of oil. While they were sweating it out I mixed about half a cup of shredded cheese into the cold potatoes and then made them into patties by cramming them into a peanut butter jar lid. After dredging them in flour they resembled great big biscuits. I began heating two tablespoons of oil in my cast iron skillet and then added the pintos to the onions and peppers. When the oil heated up I began frying the potato cakes until golden brown. Once the cakes were all finished I diced up the steak and added it to the pan with the veggies along with 1/3 cup of salsa. Salt and pepper took care of the seasoning as there were already some strong flavors in the mix. Once everything was heated through, supper was ready.

I tossed a big pile of raw spinach on each plate, then placed two potato cakes on each pile. Last I ladled a good portion of the vegetable and beef mixture over the top. A dollop of sour cream finished it perfectly. I put some three cheese Ranch dressing on the table, but it was superfluous. The components seemed perfectly balanced. I must say I was surprised at how good it was.

I may never have this exact combination of items on hand again, but this was simple and could be adapted to other foods. Chicken instead of beef, black beans instead of pintos, maybe even rice cakes or even grits cakes would be tasty. A veggie on the side would be okay instead of the spinach, but we usually have that in the house. The point is that even if it is never repeated, I fed my family a delicious and healthy meal that took little time, no precision and my two year old ate raw spinach for supper.

What's in your fridge?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New Year's Day Feast

In the Lowcountry, we are great followers of tradition. One long standing and good tasting tradition is the customary meal enjoyed on New Year's Day. Roasted pork, collard greens, Hoppin' John and cornbread make for a fine feast, a marvelously pork flavored way to begin the New Year. Hoppin' John reportedly brings you luck while the collard greens ensure that you will have money over the next twelve months. Pork is the meat of choice as it compliments. nicely, the bacon and ham hocks that are in the Hoppin' John and the collards.

Now I am not generally a collard green eater, I have never developed a taste for them. However, being a person who loves tradition, I eat them annually when they are presented to me. Otherwise, I cook up some spinach with garlic butter and call it "greens." This summer, however, I paid a visit to Mary Mac's Tea Room in Atlanta, a place I have long wanted to visit. They served us up some fresh corn bread and pot likker with collards, and it was delicious. I was stunned. Now for those of you not from the South, I should explain. Pot likker is the cooking water in the pot with the collards. Technically, I guess it could be considered stock. Not ones for wasting anything, Southerners have long sopped this flavorful juice up with corn bread, and many make a whole meal, serving them up together in a bowl. Having completely enjoyed my collards, corn bread and pot likker at Mary Mac's, I decided to make some myself this year.

I consulted some important sources as I prepared for our holiday feast. I found no help from Charleston Receipts, likewise from Two Hundred Years of Charleston Cooking. So, I did an internet search for the recipe from Mary Mac's. I found a reasonably authentic version from Hoppin' John Taylor, a noted Southern food cook, writer and historian. I gave it careful study and moved on. Nest I turned to the Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook. This tome has, in just one year, become a definitive source for Southern food. Though Yankee by birth, these two guys were raised in Charleston (I used to skate the Pool with one of them) and somehow learned to cook like locals. The recipes are traditional, yet comfortably modern, takes on everything Southern. Though I grew up hating pimento cheese, a sandwich spread which is a staple at picnics, church luncheons, family gatherings and tea rooms. At the Food & Wine Festival, the Bros. challenged me to make their version which uses freshly roasted red pepper instead of jarred pimentos, mixes things up with a bit of cream cheese adding a depth of flavor and richness that is absent in mayonaise only versions, even if the mayo is Dukes. After a simple personal tweak, the pimento cheese instantly became one of the most requested items when I cook for friends. The collard green recipe was lengthy and looked excellent, I gained valuable information. Lastly, I consulted The Pat Conroy Cookbook. I got some great stuff there as well, but found the first recipe that calls for tomatoes, which sounded weird to be honest. Armed with instructions, ingredient lists and knowledge to use for inspiration, I headed to the kitchen to make it happen.

The Lee Bros. herald the use of ham hocks, other recipes call for bacon or salt pork (fat back), I used bacon and chunks of ham. (Whenever we bake ham, I freeze the bone for soup, and toss all random chunks, bits and pieces into a bag and freeze those too. When I am cooking beans or something else calling for hammy goodness, I just chisel off a hunk or two add them to the pot. This is what I used for the collards.) Pat Conroy throws in some onions, I thought that was a dandy idea, so I diced up a nice sweet one. Mary Mac's cooks them in chicken stock. I was out of ready made stuff, not inclined to make it from scratch, so i tossed a spoon of chicken soup base in the pot. The Lee Bros. champion the idea of cooking the meats and seasonings for an hour or so, to make a rich stock, before adding the collards, I like that idea just fine. My grandmother always tossed in a little sugar, so I did too. I also added a little twist or two of my own, of course. I have to say that the collards were a huge success. My two year old daughter ate them, with some encouragement, to be sure, but without resistance or calling them "yucky" or worse. My husband, a life-long collard hater ate his, doused with plenty or Tabasco, he declared them "Not awful." I rather enjoyed them myself. My mother however, declared that they were the best collards she had every eaten in her entire life. Better than her grandmother's, better than her own. I am still beaming. My technique follows at the end.

On to the Hoppin' John. (The most important thing to know is that it calls for FIELD or COW peas, NOT black-eyed peas. Remember that. Object if anyone serves it to you otherwise.) That said, I make my Hoppin' John with brown rice, a departure from tradition yes, but as they cook up all brown from the pea juice, no one knows anyway, and that makes me feel better about all the bacon I put in. They are delicious, I actually think that the brown rice adds a richness of flavor to the dish. It is simple to make and delicious to eat. We enjoy Hoppin' John throughout the year, not just on January First. Last year I came up with an alternative version, that we eat on Cinco De Mayo, Hoppin' Juan. Just substitute some black beans for the field peas, throw in a diced jalepeno and some spicy seasonings a presto! A Tex-Mex treat, But I digress. The Hoppin' John recipe follows at the end.

For the last, oh, ten years or so, I have prepared our traditional pork roast in a Crock-Pot. We spend New Year's in my dad's rustic hunting cabin, and the oven is unreliable, when it has fuel. A Boston Butt, some veggies and herbs and a slow cook all night is delicious. This year, there was a new oven, so I changed things up a bit. I got some Country Style Ribs, whatever they are. Not ribs, really, there is no bone. They are pretty lean as well, but not tough, unless you overcook them. We call them "pork fingers" mostly, and think them quite tasty, whether oven baked or tossed on the grill. A heavy sprinkle of Jane's Krazy Mixed Up Salt is all they need. I bake them in a 350 degree oven until they reach an internal temperature of 130 F and let them rest 20 minutes. Delish.

I baked up some cornbread and some chocolate chip cookies and it was a very happy new year indeed.

Brown Rice Hoppin' John

8 oz field peas or cow peas that have been soaked over night
6 slices lean bacon, chopped, cooked, drained (More if desired)
1 onion, diced
1 whole celery stalk
1 1/2 cups brown rice
2 bay leaves
Dash or three of Tabasco
salt & pepper to taste

Rinse and drain peas, put into stock pot with bay leaves, diced onion, cooked bacon, celery stalk, 2 teaspoons of salt and water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer until peas are tender, 1-2 hours. Put the rice in a two quart baking dish. When peas are tender, add them to the rice, reserving the cooking liquid. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and discard the bay leaf and celery. Measure the reserved cooking liquid, add water to it until it makes 2 1/3 cups. Bring to a boil and add to the rice and peas. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover with foil and then the lid to the baking dish. Bake for 1 hour. Allow to stand for 15 minutes before removing the lid.

Collard Greens

1 bunch collards, washed, drained, stemmed and chopped
6 slices of lean bacon, chopped, cooked and drained
Ham hock or chunk of ham (deli or luncheon meat ham will not do)
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
Tabasco, salt and pepper to taste
Pan drippings if available

Put ham and cooked bacon in a large pot. Cook up the onion in the residual bacon grease in the pan after draining. Saute over medium heat until just brown. Add to the pot. Season with salt, pepper, Tabasco and the tablespoon sugar. Add 6-8 cups water and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer one hour. Add the collards by the handful and simmer for 45 minutes. Special trick: If you can, during the simmer of the greens, add some pan drippings from a pork roast or ham if you are cooking one of those. It really takes the flavor to an amazing place.

Serve with a bottle of Tabasco or pepper vinegar on the table. Be sure to make some cornbread to sop up the pot likker.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Chicka-Touille With Creamy Polenta

I went a little overboard at the Farmer's Market. I came home with 6 assorted color bell peppers, a cubanelle pepper, an eggplant, ten tomatoes, squash, zucchini, peaches, onions, okra, blackberries and 8 kirby cucumbers. It was a great haul, and there were some real bargains. The squash, for example, were only 59 cents a pound, and no sales tax at the Farmer's Market. So I had all of the ingredients for a ratatouille but I have never been a big fan. My husband dislikes eggplant and certainly would never call bell peppers his favorite vegetable, so I needed to make something really fabulous. I read up on ratatouille. I looked in The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, The Cook's Bible, Fresh From the Farmer's Market, The Whole Foods Cookbook, Simply in Season and Food To Live By. I found out that ratatouille is generally made by sauteing, separately, all of the vegetables and then mixing them together in the end. Every recipe called for different herbs, including basil, rosemary, thyme and tarragon. Some called for salting and draining the eggplant first, some to peel, some not to peel. Usually, the people at America's Test Kitchen/Cook's Illustrated, producers of the first two cookbooks I listed, have the definitive recipe for any given dish. This time though, their recipe called for dry roasting all of the componants. This sounded extra tasty, as I love roasted vegetables, but it didn't sound like ratatouille. In the end, as always, I sort of cobbled together something that had the best parts of the various recipes I looked at, with a few touches of my own thrown in. In the end, I had a very flavorful stew of braised chicken thighs, eggplant, squash, zucchini, onions, peppers and garlic, that actually surpassed my expectations.

First I peeled and slice the eggplant, placed it on paper towels, sprinkled it with salt and left it to rest. Next I trimmed the fat from one pound of boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Then I browned the chicken in a little EVOO (Incidentally, this shortcut for saying/writing "Extra Virgin Olive Oil" was coined by Rachel Ray, one of my faves from Food Network. It made it into the 2007 dictionary.) and put it in the Crock-Pot set to high, with 1 cup of chicken broth. While the chicken browned, I cut three bell peppers and an onion into strips. I then I sauteed them in a little EVOO, and chopped up five tomatoes. When the onions & peppers were nicely browing, I added the tomatoes to the skillet to cook down. Meanwhile, I diced up the squashes and the eggplant. I sprayed a half sheet pan with a little EVOO, and tossed the squash & eggplant in with a little salt and pepper. They went into a 375 degree oven for one hour. Six cloves of garlic then had one end sliced off, were dropped in a little bowl, covered with foil and went into the oven as well. Once almost all of the liquid had cooked off, the pepper, onion, tomato mixture joined the chicken in the Pot. After the hour had passed, the eggplant and squash joined everything else, as did the garlic, once squeezed from it's skin. I tossed in a few sprigs of thyme, some finely chopped basil and let it all sit for another hour or so.

While everything was hanging out in the Crock-Pot, I worked on the polenta. I used two 12 ounce tubes and 3 cups of chicken broth. I mashed up the polenta into the broth and let it simmer, stirring often, for 90 minutes. At the very end, I grated in about a quarter or a cup of parmigiano reggiano cheese to finish it off.

Spoon some polenta on the plate and ladle a hearty serving of the "Chicka-Touille" over the top. Serves four, generously.

This is worth every bit of trouble and time. It actually was a great meal time wise, as I did everything in early afternoon and just let it simmer up until supper. Though not a weeknight meal, it was not particularly difficult.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Friday Night Burritos

Wednesday night is Bean Night at our house. All day long, my Crock Pot simmers beans, they are hot, tasty and tender when we arrive home in the evening. I throw a pan of brown rice in the oven, make myself busy for an hour, throw together a salad and supper is ready at 6:00. It is a beautiful thing. We really love beans, usually we have pintos, blacks or kidneys. Bean Night, however, is a tradition in our young family for several reasons. First, financial. A bag of beans, a cup of rice, some chopped onion, a few cloves of garlic, assorted seasonings, well under five dollars and it feeds the whole family and then some. We usually have a salad of some sort or some kind of vegetable, possibly left over from the night before. It is an exceptionally healthful meal, which is another reason we choose it. Now I love meat, mind you, but I realize it is not as good for me as I want it to be. Bean night helps me cut down, without making any sacrifices.

On to Burrito Night. On Friday afternoon, the beans and rice from Wednesday come back out of the icebox and go into a large pan or deep skillet. If we have meat left over from Thursday, maybe the remains of a roasted chicken, or slices of London Broil perhaps. On a good week, we will have leftover pot roast, that's the best. That meat goes right into the pan with the beans and rice. If there is no meat, sometimes I will brown up a bit of ground beef or venison, but not always. I add chopped onions and peppers, fresh if I have them, but sometimes frozen, and pour in a can of Ro-Tel. That is the base for our burritos. I season them with various things such as more garlic, chili powder, Tabasco maybe thyme or a bay leaf, whatever suits my mood. I like to moisten it up as well, so I will add broth, salsa, tomato sauce or even a can of V-8 Juice. Sometimes I throw in a handful of frozen corn which adds a certain crunchy sweet zippiness. The whole mess simmers for a while until the flavors have blended.

At supper time I warm up tortillas, put hot sauce, salsa, cheese and sour cream on the table and we are ready to eat. It is a time saver, a money saver and with all the vegetables and brown rice, it is really good for you. We like Friday Burritos so much that if we don't have leftover beans, we just use canned ones. We love to start our weekend with a one pot supper that takes very little work. Give it a try!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Grilled Chicken and Pasta

Last night a dear young friend joined me for supper. Having recently graduated from high school, spent 4 weeks touring Italy, and now preparing to go off to college quite far away, my friend had lots to celebrate and we had lots to talk about. Having traveled to Italy twice myself, I am very fond of Italian cooking, and my cooking is often inspired by Italian techniques and recipes, even when I am not cooking specifically Italian foods.

Tonight's menu: Grilled Chicken alla Modena, Ragu of Grilled Summer vegetables with Tri-Color Rotini Pasta, Crusty Bread with Infused Olive Oil, and Sliced Homegrown Tomatoes. Fancy titles for very simple foods, but sometimes I just like to have fun.

The chicken is embarrassingly easy. Simply marinate boneless chicken breasts (or thighs) in balsamic vinegar for about twenty minutes. Grill. That's it. It doesn't even need salt. The chicken cooks up tender and loaded with flavor from the vinegar.

For the pasta sauce I sauted half a diced onion in olive oil with some diced green bell pepper. While that cooked I took some grilled vegetables left over from the night before and chopped them up. I had zucchini, yellow squash and red bell peppers. You can use whatever vegetables you prefer. Once the onions and peppers were nicely browned, I added the diced vegetables, three cloves of garlic that was minced fine, a 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes, a bay leaf, two tablespoons of chicken soup base and six large basil leaves from my garden. I gave it a quick stir and let it simmer while I worked on other things.

I put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta.

I picked a sprig of rosemary out of the yard, washed it, pulled the leaves from the stems and crushed them between my fingers. I put them in a bowl with one cup of olive oil. I then added two cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced thin. It is best if you do this the night before and let it steep all night, but you can microwave it for 20 seconds or so to speed up the process.

I added the pasta a some salt to the boiling water. While that bubbled I grated some Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese into the sauce and blended it well. When the pasta was tender, I lifted it from the water with a slotted spoon and placed it in a large bowl. The sauce went in on top and I tossed it all together. I added a few spoons of the water from the pasta pot to add a little liquid to the dish.

To serve, I sliced up the chicken and piled it on a platter with the sliced tomatoes, I put the bread on a board with a knife and a bowl of the flavored oil and served the pasta up in a large earthenware bowl with a big spoon.


Tonight, I am making soup from the leftovers. I have diced the chicken up small and added it to the pasta. When it is nearly supper time, I will put it in a pot with a carton of chicken broth, a small can of tomato sauce, a can of kidney beans, drained, a can of diced tomatoes, drained, some Italian seasoning and simmer. Instant chicken minestrone! It will be served up with grated cheese and a basil leaf on top. Garlic bread made from the leftover flavored oil and bread with be hot and toasty on the side. The sliced tomatoes will be added to a salad. A ten minute meal on a Saturday night. What could be better?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Fresh From The Farm

My daddy (I am Southern. Southern women call their fathers "daddy" for their entire lives. ) brought me a pile of produce from the family farm yesterday. Score! I took a quick inventory. There were some gorgeous tomatoes, a handful of okra, a ton of yellow squash, cucumbers, shelled crowder peas and a large bowl of fresh blueberries. I had the makings of a sensational summer supper; Skillet Okra & Tomatoes, Gazpacho Salad, Grilled Squash and Crowder Peas with Brown Rice.

First I washed everything and then set about getting it all ready to cook. The crowder peas went into a medium saucepan with a handful of diced onions, a bay leaf, salt & pepper and a piece of turkey bacon. I brought them to a boil, then let them simmer while I did everything else. Meanwhile, I made the brown rice, using a recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated. I have included it below. While the peas simmered and the rice baked, I prepared everything else.

First I threw some diced onion, a big handful, into a medium skillet with some olive oil. Then I sliced up the squash, lengthwise. I sprinkled it with kosher salt, freshly ground pepper and misted it with olive oil. I let it hang out while I tended to the rest. I diced up the okra and added it to the skillet. I added salt and pepper, a dash of Tabasco and let it brown a bit while I diced up two tomatoes. I laid the squash out on the grill then added the tomatoes to the okra, then seasoned the dish with about a teaspoon or so of Bouquet Garni, a French herb blend. You could use Italian Seasoning or any herbs that you like. After reducing the heat, the vegetables were good to simmer for about ten minutes.

Gazpacho Salad, (in my version anyway) consists of diced tomatoes, cucumber and onions, seasoned with dried parsley, a dash of Tabasco, salt, pepper and granulated garlic. I dressed it with a tablespoon each of balsamic vinegar and olive oil and left it to marinate in the icebox.

After giving the squash a flip, I set the table and when I was finished, so was the meal. I removed the bacon and bay leaf from the peas before serving. They were delicious over the rice, and the two together make a complete protein, the perfect compliment to an all vegetable meal.

Fast, easy, fresh and healthful, simply the perfect meal. I just love the summer. Who needs meat when you have such wonderful produce? I hope that your summer is just as tasty!

Idiot Proof Brown Rice

1 1/2 cups brown rice
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco
2 1/3 cups boiling water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place rice in an 2 quart baking dish that has a lid. Add all seasonings and give a good stir. Add boiling water straight from the kettle. Cover tightly with foil and put the lid on the top. Bake for one hour. Let sit for 5 minutes before removing lid and foil.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Last night, we gathered friends and their children over for supper. Although Monday night is not usually a good night for parties, being independence Eve, we thought we could fill the house. Indeed. Seventeen adults and ten children joined us for a casual night at home. The featured entree was one of my own invention, that I had never made before. In an act of bravery (stupidity?) I made a dish that had heretofore only existed in my imagination. I invented it on Wednesday morning as I read the weekly grocery store ads to determine what I could afford to serve at the party. Boston Butt (pork shoulder) was on sale for $1.00 a pound so that was the winner. I didn't want to serve barbecued pork though, it was just too ordinary. Besides, it really tastes better cooked in a smoky pit rather than in a Crock-Pot. It could only be mediocre at best, so why bother?

So I started thinking about what I could do with a couple of great big chunks of pork to make them rich and flavorful without barbecue sauce. Garlic, or course, was the solution.

I picked up two large Boston Butts and trimmed as much fat off as possible. Then I hauled out two of my larger Crock-Pots and dropped a piece of pork in each one. Then each Pot got the following: one whole, peeled, head of garlic, bay leaves, tablespoon of Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and Tabasco. After filling each one with water, I was done for the night and went to bed. At 3:00 am my husband and I were awakened by the tantalizing smelled of garlic and pork cooking together. We looked at each other with bleary eyes and said as one : "Mmmm. Pork." and went back to sleep.

At the dawn's early light, I removed the roasts, reserving some of the cooking liquid. I discarded the bay leaves and removed whatever fat I could find as I pulled and chopped the pork into smallish pieces. I wanted it to burst with flavor, without a sweet and sticky or hot and spicy sauce. I thought about what would go well with the seasonings already in place and had an idea. I mixed together some balsamic vinegar, some of the cooking liquid, Tabasco, Italian seasoning and granulated garlic and then added it to the pork, stirring all the while. I also mashed in the garlic that had cooked with the meat and added salt & pepper.

The meat was tender, flavorful and juicy. The vinegar did not make it taste like barbecue-- in NC and upper SC barbecue is made with an intense, spicy vinegar sauce -- it just gave it a burst of bright flavor with only the slightest, barely perceptible tang. The garlic was prominent, but was deep and rich after cooking slowly all night. The Tabasco and Italian seasoning added a tasty kick to the whole concoction.

The Garlicue was served on toasted buns with sliced red onions and provelone cheese, which proved to be the perfect accompaniments, as they played up the Italian leanings of the final product. . Some people added a thin spread of mayonnaise, others just a touch of spicy mustard. Most just had it plain. To go with it we had crudites with fresh basil dip, deviled eggs, spinach salad, grilled summer squashes and chips & salsa. Our guests brought some amazing desserts and the evening was a memorable one. I suppose that I could change the name to something such as "Italian Roasted Pork" or "Tuscan Barbecue" but they just don't have the uniqueness of "Garlicue". It just rolls off of the tongue.

Here is my best reconstruction of the recipe:


1 5-7 lb. Boston Butt (pork shoulder), trimmed of fat
1 head garlic, separated and peeled
2 bay leaves
2 tbs. Italian seasoning, divided
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tsp. Granulated garlic
Salt, pepper, Tabasco

Sear pork roast on all sides, then place in Crock-Pot. Add garlic, bay leaves, 1 tbs. Italian seasoning, one tablespoon each of salt, pepper and Tabasco. Add water to cover. Cook on low 8-10 hours or until meat is tender and falling off of the bone. Remove from cooker and set aside to cool.( Pull the bone out and give to the dog.)* Reserve one cup cooking liquid. Chop and shred the meat into bite sized pieces, removing any fat you come across. Find and discard both bay leaves. (Feed the fat to the dog.) Mash up garlic cloves into meat. Mix together remaining Italian seasoning, reserved cooking liquid and granulated garlic. Blend into meat. Add in Tabasco, salt and pepper to taste.

Serve on toasted buns with thinly sliced red onions and Provelone cheese.

Play with the seasonings. Want it tangier? Add more vinegar. More of a kick? Run some raw garlic through a press and mix it in. Hotter? Add Tabasco and pepper to your heart's content, and even some diced hot peppers if you like. Make it different by serving it with roasted red peppers and fresh mozzarella instead.

There were plenty of leftovers. So what are we having tonight? I am chopping up the grilled squash and red onions. I am throwing them in a mixing bowl with the pork, some diced tomatoes, roasted red peppers, some cheese and brown rice. After adding seasonings to taste and a beaten egg or two, I am stuffing the whole mess into bell peppers and baking at 350 for an hour. Another play on the leftovers is to chop up the onions (squash too, what the heck!) and add to diced cooked potatoes. Throw everything into a hot skillet with a little olive oil and make a lovely hash. I bet there could be a really tasty soup too, with kidney beans, diced tomatoes, pasta, sauted peppers & onions...

For sometime in the not to distant future, I am plotting out my recipe for Mexicue. I am already imagining the leftovers... Mmmm. Pork.

*If you don't have a dog, go to your local pet shelter and get one, for goodness sake. They are very handy in the kitchen. Ours learned the command "Lucy, clean up!" in about a day and I never have to pick up or wipe up spilled food anymore.

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