Leftovers 101

It has been said that I am the leftover queen. I have to tell you that I am only living what my mother taught me. How do you take a bunch of leftover stuff and create an entirely new meal that your family will not even know is leftovers and at the same time save yourself from those nasty science experiments? The answer relies heavily on what that “leftover” dish will be. One of my favorite leftover meals is enchiladas.

Enchiladas are very forgiving because normally, the filling is in small dice-sized pieces and the dish is covered in cheese and sauce (who can resist that?!). The basic ingredients you need for enchiladas are cheese, sauce, corn tortillas and filling. The filling will consist of whatever you have in the fridge today. For me, since we Barbecued a turkey for Christmas, my enchiladas will have turkey in them. Another ingredient I like in enchiladas (although I have made some without it) is cottage cheese.

You will need:
13×19 glass pan
1 can enchilada sauce (or get the packaged stuff and follow the recipe)
1 can olives, drained and sliced
2 C grated cheese (start with cheddar and add whatever else you have)
1 C leftover meat
2 C diced vegies (leftover or fresh) be sure to include onions and possibly broccoli and carrots
10-12 corn tortillas (I use 10 – 2 rows of 5 – because 12 seems a bit crowded)
Cottage cheese
Canola or olive oil (used to soften the tortillas)

Corn tortillas have a tendency ┬áto crack so the first step I take is to soften the tortillas with a little oil. Heat a large pan on the stove with a teaspoon of oil. When it gets hot, swirl the tortilla in the oil to cover and flip tortilla over to do the same on the other side. This process is very fast and won’t take but a couple minutes to soften all the tortillas.

Once the tortillas are softened and all your prep is complete you are ready to assemble the enchiladas. Take a softened tortilla and add some meat, vegies and cottage cheese. Roll up in a tube and place in pan. Continue this process for the rest of the tortillas and other ingredients. Cover with sauce. Sprinkle on the cheese. Cut the olives in slices and sprinkle on top (there may be too many olives in one can for just one batch of enchiladas and if this is the case, the only proper option is to snack).

Place pan in a preheated 350 degree oven for approx. 20 minutes. If it looks hot and bubbly then it’s done. If not, leave in an additional 10 minutes. Once you have retrieved the enchiladas from the oven, make sure they rest (and cool) for a minimum of 5 minutes (preferably 10) before serving.

This can be served with a variety of sides (including rice and beans if you want). One of my favorites is to top the enchilada with sour cream and a big pile of fresh alfalfa sprouts. This brings a special brightness to the meal and you can have your salad right on top of your enchilada.

December 30, 2009 - 10:34 am Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen - This is a really great leftover idea! I also love making soups and frittata with my leftovers! Those BBQ turkey enchiladas sound great! It is amazing what you can do with leftover food!

January 3, 2010 - 3:45 am Natalie Fitzgerald - Aloha Chef Becky! I ran into Randy today at the swap meet. We tried to catch up while he showed me his pieces and keeping an eye on customers. It was a very nice surprise to hear all that has been going on with your family. I am pleased to hear about your cooking venture. As I read the instructions about tortillas and softening them in oil, I remembered having some corn tortillas such as that as tacos while at your home many many years ago!! You were the first person I ever saw do that, being Chinese I don't cook like that very often or did before meeting you! You look great! Is that your veggie patch? I remember that plot where you had strawberries growing once upon a time. I'd love to see you again and say hello. I'll let you know when I 'm up country! God's blessing and peace to you! Aloha, Natalie 276-8504

June 1, 2010 - 5:20 am Emily - This is a really great leftover idea! I also love making soups and frittata with my leftovers! Those BBQ turkey enchiladas sound great! It is amazing what you can do with leftover food!

June 17, 2010 - 1:17 pm jen - This was my favorite growing up! I make every once in awhile and it makes me think of you everytime. Love you!

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