Sunday, June 14, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - Repurposing Leftovers

  • Sunday: Crockpot Mongolian Beef, brown rice with veggies
  • Monday: Eggplant Parmesan, french bread that needs to get used, garden salad
  • Tuesday: Spaghetti, garden salad
  • Wednesday: Fend for Yourself
  • Thursday: Bubble Pizza
  • Friday: Crockpot Chicken Tacos (recipe below), Mexican Rice
  • Saturday: Chicken Tortilla Soup (made from leftover chicken taco stuff - recipe below)

I try to designate at least one night a week as "Fend for Yourself" where everyone is in charge of feeding themselves. Ninjas need to learn self-reliance. They also need to use up leftovers. FFY nights accomplish both.

Chicken Tacos and Chicken Tortilla Soup
Two things that make me very happy are my crockpot, and repurposing leftovers. The following recipe for crockpot chicken tacos is in itself cheap, easy, and yummy. The first time I made this, for some reason I used a giant package of chicken breasts and made a ridiculous amount. We ate tacos for two nights in a row, and still had a TON of leftovers. As delicious as they were, I just couldn't face them for a third straight night, and thus this chicken tortilla soup recipe was born.

The soup is VERY flexible. The recipe below should be considered a guideline. Use this opportunity to use up any leftover veggies hiding in your fridge, and don't worry if your amounts are a little off. You may wish to add some additional cooked chicken if there isn't much left from the tacos... but it is also quite good with just a little bit of meat. Just use what you've got, soup is very forgiving.

Crockpot Chicken Tacos
  • 1-2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 pkg taco seasoning
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can diced tomatoes and chiles (undrained)
Put all ingredients in crockpot. Cook on low 8-10 hours. Shred chicken and remove from crockpot using a slotted spoon. Serve on corn tortillas with standard taco toppings (cheese, lettuce, avocado, sour cream, etc).

Save all the juices and veggies that are left in the crockpot, as well as any leftover chicken, for making chicken tortilla soup.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
  • 2 Tbs cooking oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes and chiles (undrained)
  • 2 cups diced or shredded cooked chicken (leftover from tacos)
  • Seasoning to taste: salt, pepper, chili powder, coriander, cumin
  • Optional: 1-2 cups cooked rice (plain or Mexican)
  • 6 corn tortillas plus 1/4 cup oil for frying them, or equivalent amount of lame store-bought tortilla chips
In a large soup pot, heat the oil. Saute onions and garlic until transluscent. Add broth, tomatoes, seasoning and whatever was left of your taco meat/juices (or a couple cups of cooked chicken if you don't have leftovers). Start with about 1/2 tsp of each spice and adjust to your desired level of spiciness. Ninjas like it hot, so we end up with at least 2-3 tsp of chili powder. Add in rice (if using), simmer for about 30 minutes.

While the soup is cooking, take the corn tortillas, cut them into bite size pieces, and fry them in hot oil until they are crispy (about 1-2 minutes - flip half way through cooking time using tongs). You may need to do them in batches depending on how big your pan is. Salt them as soon as they are done frying, and allow to drain on a paper towel. Try not to eat them all before the soup is ready.

Serve soup in bowls topped with your fried tortillas (or lame store-bought chips), cheddar cheese, avocados, sour cream... whatever you had with tacos the day before that you have leftovers of.

Check out more Menu Plan Monday.


Kelly said...

Welcome to Menu Plan Mondays! Eggplant Parm is soo yummy!

Savings Ninja said...

Thanks! I've never had eggplant parmesan before, but I think it turned out pretty good. It definitely works out to be a frugal dish too, I doubt it cost me more than $2.00 (including the bread and salad [yay garden]) and easily fed two adults.

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