Fast Food Leftover Madness

Ever wonder what to do with those fast food leftovers in your fridge? Maybe you ordered more than you really wanted, or the kids didn’t polish off all their fries. If it’s substantial enough to warrant tossing in the fridge, it’s plenty to fix for a meal or side for the next day.

Note that wherever “french fries” are mentioned, this could be regular french fries, seasoned curly fries, waffle fries, or even steak fries. They all work wonderfully in your leftover madness.

FRIED CHICKEN SALAD
Cold fried chicken, de-boned and diced make a wonderful chicken salad for sandwiches or wraps with your favorite ingredients. Mayo, brown mustard, chopped onion and peppers are one variation. Another is mayo, yellow curry and purple seedless grapes served up in a pita half!

FRIED CHICKEN TACOS
Strip that chicken off the bone, toss it with garlic and chili powder in a skillet with a spritz of olive oil, then fill your tacos with chicken, cheese and whatever else you may desire.

HASH-BROWN FRENCH FRIES
Take those cold french fries out of the fridge and dice them. Give a skillet a spritz of olive oil and heat some diced garlic. Toss in those fry bits and treat them like hash-brown potatoes. They will cook up to whatever consistence you desire, from soft to slightly crunchy.

Crack and egg into the middle and serve it sunny side up in a ring of hash-brown fries.

CHILI CHEESE CHICKEN NUGGETS/STRIPS
Got some chicken nuggets or strips left over? Arrange them on a dish and heat in the microwave. Smother them in hot chili and your choice of cheese and enjoy.

Garnish with a bit of sour cream and sliced black olives for some complementary flavors and textures.

CHICKEN ENCHILADAS
De-boned fried chicken makes a great filling for enchiladas. Wrap the chicken and some cheese into tortillas, cover in enchilada sauce, heat and serve with fresh guacamole and sour cream.

HUNTSMAN’S BREAKFAST
Start a skillet with a spritz of olive oil and some diced garlic and onion. Cook until the onion is just beginning to soften. Add in a meat, like diced sausage or chicken strips, and cook until hot. Dice the leftover french fries and add the to the skillet, stir this mixture fairly often to keep it from sticking. Whisk up an appropriate number of eggs for the contents of the skillet, adding your spices of choice. Add this to the skillet and cook until the eggs are done.

You might serve this up on a plate with a few dashes of hot sauce, or in tortillas with cheese as breakfast tacos. Either way, it’s a quick and simple breakfast plan.

MORE DICED DELIGHTS
Diced french fries, and other leftover potatoes, with or without onions also make filling additions to stews, bean pots, and even home-made chili. Diced onion rings are great in chili and in hashbrowns.

We’ve actually bought chicken nuggets from the Golden Arches specifically to take home and smother in chili and cheese for supper. It wasn’t the healthiest meal we have ever enjoyed, but it was so tasty we didn’t mind.

— Ann Cathey

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Burger Wells

This little dish was the result of boredom, too much internet, and what was available in the kitchen. I think it turned out rather well, and the taste testers polished their plates.DSC_0607

Brown Rice

Brown Rice

Ingredients:
1 lb ground beef (or venison, pork, or turkey)
1 lb bacon
2 eggs
2 tb salsa
1tsp cumin
1tsp onion powder
1tsp garlic powder
1 tb dried parsley
1/4tsp paprika
1tb butter
2 cups brown rice, pre-cooked
1/2 cup diced mushroom (or 1 10oz can)
1/2 pound asparagus, pre-cooked
1/2 cup grated Manchego

Asparagus and Mushrooms, drained

Asparagus and Mushrooms, drained

Directions:

Beef Well

Beef Well

Mix beef, spices, salsa and one egg thoroughly. Roughly quarter into balls. Squash the ball with a greased slender cup or glass and form sides up the glass. Remove carefully and place in baking pan or on individual squares of foil for grilling. Shape the meat mixture further if needed to get evenly thick and tall sides for each beef-well.

 

 

Bacon Wapped Well

Bacon Wrapped Well

Wrap each beef-well in a slice of bacon (add a little if needed).

Mix pre-cooked brown rice, asparagus (chopped) and diced mushroom into a bowl with 1/4 cup cheese. Mix well. Fill the beef-wells with this mixture and set the remainder aside.

Stuffed Well

Stuffed Well

DSC_0605

Asparagus lined Well

NOTE: In the photographed version, asparagus stems were used to line the sides of the well. They were precooked and thus already tender.

Take the remaining bacon and slice into pieces approximately 1/5-2 inches long. Carefully place a layer of bacon pieces across the top of each stuffed beef-well. this will help to contain moisture so that the veggies don’t dry out.

Slide the tray into the pre-heated oven for 40 minutes.

Into a skillet, toss the rest of the bacon strips and cook to preferred chewiness or crunchiness. Drain and set aside.

Drop butter into the skillet and allow it to melt. Add the remaining egg and stir vigorously. Before the egg is quite done, toss in the remaining stuffing and stir while the egg finishes cooking. Add the remaining bacon with a sprinkle of cheese and toss.

Emplate one beef-well with a quarter of the stir-fry, sprinkling remaining cheese on top.

We served with crescent rolls on the side, and this made up four lovely plates.DSC_0608

Give this a try and let us know how yours turned out!

— Ann Cathey

Food Porn Episode 6

This episode of Food Porn is brought to you by my kitchen. The food photos were, as they have been in this series, culled from stock photography. I’ve added a little info about each one, though I’m told they speak for themselves, especially the ones that scream, “BACON!”

DSC_0247Bunless bacon cheeseburgers! Broiled beef patties, hickory smoked bacon, shredded colbyjack cheese, and kosher dill slices.

 

DSC_0489Okay this one is not from my kitchen, but from a campout we enjoyed a month or so ago. Chicken Enchilada Lasagne with fresh diced tomatoes, a corn and black bean mix, with a side of French bread and butter.

 

Yellow curried chicken over white rice with mini pita on the side.

 

Scrambled ham with spices and ham sandwiched on a fresh butter croissant.

 

photoA heart attack on a butter croissant with coarse mustard, three layers of maple bacon, kosher dills, and colbyjack cheddar cheese.

 

DSC_0248Let’s get another look at that bunless bacon cheeseburger, shall we?

–Ann Cathey

Avocado Deviled Eggs

I love avocados and my partner in crime loves deviled eggs. I figured, why not combine the two? Of course a quick internet search for ideas revealed that I was not the first person to discover this yummy variation.DSC_0832

This news made me even more determined to try it out. finding avocados on special at the grocery sped my plan along. Making them was simple enough – I just did as I always do when making deviled eggs, adding the avocado and extra spices along the way.Below is my recipe, although I shaved off some time by dealing with the avocados while the eggs were boiling, and peeling those lovely eggs while they were still warm. The peels came right off to reveal lovely pearls of cooked albumen.

DSC_0826

DSC_0825INGREDIENTS:
1 dozen large eggs, boiled and peeled
2 medium ripe avocados
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1Tbsp ground cumin
1Tbsp garlic powder
1Tbsp lemon juice OR the juice of 1 fresh lime
1Tbsp dried parsley OR finely chopped cilantro leaf
2Tbsp salsa (heat to taste)
1/2tsp salt (or to taste)

Extras: cilantro leaf, sliced jalapenos, petite capers, extra salsa, and/or diced chives may be used as a garnish

Slice each egg in half lengthwise. Pop out the yolks and mash them with a fork. Add the avocado to the egg yolks and mash with fork. Mix in mayo, cumin, garlic, salt, parsley and lemon juice.

DSC_0828

Mashed avocados

Adding yolks to mix

Adding yolks to mix

Mashing time!

Mashing time!

DSC_0829

Albumen halves

 

 

 

 

Fill each of the egg halves with the avocado/yolk mixture either with a spoon, or for a prettier look with a pastry bag and large star tip.

Garnish as preferred.

As these photos show, I didn’t bother with a garnish this time. I wanted my audience to be able to give me feedback on the flavor of the filling without any distractions.

Apparently the results were very good! DSC_0833
— Ann Cathey

Budget Cooking – Ramen Noodles

Everyone out there is likely familiar with the ramen-style noodles that have swept through the United States in the last many years. They are available in most groceries under many names such as Maruchan Ramen [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maruchan] and Top Ramen [https://www.nissinfoods.com/products/TopRamen]. From a start with a fascination with Asian food all the way to being consumed in masses by college students and latch-key kids, these noodles have become a household staple for young and old, wealthy and poor alike.

They can be cooked on the stove top or in the microwave, as a noodle soup or simply as noodles. The directions tell you to measure your water, add the noodles, cook until done and add the flavor pack.

Before you turn up your nose at that twenty cent pack of noodles as common or crass, are you aware what else can be done with them? With some simple and handy additions, you might bring a world wide range of cuisine to your table.

In each of these suggested dishes, cook your noodles as directed leaving out the flavor pack, drain and turn out into a bowl.

Thai Noodles
Add half of the flavor package, a tablespoon of peanut butter, a pat of butter, and red chili flakes to taste. Stir until the butters have melted. You have a simple satay noodle. It can always be expanded with other spices, vegetables, and meats into a more glorious dish.

Noodles Con Carnes
Dice some leftover beef to stir into your noodles. Add some Ro-tel and all or part of the flavor package. Stir it up and allow the bowl to sit for a few minutes so that the flavors can mingle. Add hot sauce if desired.

Chicken Curry Noodles
Curry powder is the key ingredient here. Whether you prefer yellow (my favorite), red or green curry, add some to your noodles with a pat of butter and stir. Add some diced, cooked potatoes and carrots and leftover chicken to make a hearty and tasty meal.

Spicy Noodles
Grab your favorite hot sauce (Sriracha, Raspberry Chipotle, Hatch chili sauce, whatever you like) and add as much or as little as you like to the noodles. Stir in a pat of butter and all or part of the flavor package if desired.

Cajun Noodles or Dirty Noodles
Cajun spices are a unique flavor treat. Add some Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning to taste with a pat of butter and stir. Adding leftover meats or sausage, diced, to the dish will give it some heft. You can turn it into “dirty noodles” by adding cooked chicken or beef liver, diced or mashed as you prefer.

Italian Noodles
For a carbonara style dish, add diced ham, green peas, and a pat of butter to your unflavored noodles. A bit of garlic (granulated or roasted) and basil (dry or fresh) will add the right touch to that essential Italian dash. This can be made up as a soup if you prefer.

Egg Drop Noodle Soup
Prepare the package of noodles as directed for a soup. While the the bowl of noodles and broth is still steaming hot, crack and add one chicken egg. Stir break up the egg and you will have a lovely egg drop style soup. The egg can also be left whole to poach, rather like a nabiaki udon.The water for these two variations must be nearly boiling to ensure that the egg is properly cooked. A goose or duck egg will add additional flavor, but might be harder to come by. check your local farmers market for availability.

Each of these suggestions may be used with multiple packages of noodles to create side dishes and even quick meals for two or more people.

In many cases you will have a partial or whole flavor pack left over. Save these and use them as flavorings in other dishes, soups and stocks. The sodium content is a trifle high, so be careful you don’t over salt when using them. The beef and pork flavor packs are excellent additions to beans, and chili dishes.

I have used ramen-style noodles in some pretty odd concoctions, too. Cooked noodles, cute to pieces about a half inch long, were folded into a cookie dough. The cookies are known as “Cat Poop Cookies” and the noodles made it look like the “cat” had a bad case of “worms”. They tasted great, but most guests at that party could not get over the visual of a “litter box” filled with “poops”. Hey, they dared me.

Please drop us a line and let us know if you tried and enjoyed any of these suggestions, or if you have some ideas of your won to share.

–Ann Cathey