What to do with leftovers: Veggie and Ham Hash from Leftovers — Paleo, gluten-free, and fast

Voila! Delicious veggies and ham seasoned to perfection with just a hint of curry and garlic.

Voila! Delicious veggies and ham seasoned to perfection with just a hint of curry and garlic.

Today was rainy, windy, grey, and turning cold. Thunder storms hit late in the day. And it’s a Sunday. I did NOT want to go to the grocery store, yet the fridge was bare. Or so it seemed.

I started pulling out every fresh veggie and dish of leftover veggies I had — most of them had soft spots, black spots, or had been cooked days ago. I couldn’t steel myself to throw them out. So I cut off the bad, chopped up the good, and Voila! Veggie and Ham Hash from Leftovers. This stuff was fast (I cooked it and served it in 20 minutes!!), fun, and amazingly delicious!

I don’t think you have to have this exact mix of veggies and meat to do the same. But possibly a basic recipe (below) will give you some inspiration with spices, oils, and ingredients that will spur you to new culinary heights with your own sad story of leftovers.

Most of the stuff in this photo was going bad. It was up to me to save it! The solution: Veggie Hash with Ham.

Most of the stuff in this photo was going bad. It was up to me to save it! The solution: Veggie and Ham Hash from Leftovers.

Here’s what I had on hand:

3 T olive oil

1 1/2 tsp. green curry paste

1 T minced garlic

2 small onions, chopped

2 zucchini, chopped

1/2 a small jar of sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil

1 1/2 C. chopped green beans (already cooked)

1/2 small cabbage, chopped

1 tomato

1 C. chopped cauliflower

1/2 C Chicken stock

1 C sliced carrots

1/2 C diced red, green, yellow sweet peppers

1 lb. sliced, cooked ham, cut into chunks

The ham, before the fat was trimmed off. I left it in big chunks so it would create a flavor sensation. It did.

The ham, before the fat was trimmed off. I left it in big chunks so it would create a flavor sensation. It did.

Here’s what I did with it:

  1. Heated the oil, garlic, curry paste, and chopped onion until onion was nearly clear.
  2. Drained the sun-dried tomatoes and threw them in with the oil and other stuff. Stirred.
  3. Added all the other veggies and the chicken stock, stirred well, and cooked the mess, uncovered, over medium heat until the carrots were “tender to the tooth.”
  4. I threw in the chopped ham, and continued cooking everything until the ham was heated through.
  5. Then I dished it up, and served it to The Hub who said with a grin that it was the “best thing you’ve cooked all day,” which I took as a supreme compliment — even though it was the ONLY thing I’d cooked all day. Hey, a girl gathers the good vibes where she can.
A bit blurry, but you get the picture. Flavorful, rich in nutrients, and quick to fix! Plus, all that food that was headed for the compost pile in a couple of days is now feeding our bodies instead of the ground.

A bit blurry, but you get the picture. Flavorful, rich in nutrients, and quick to fix! Plus, all that food that was headed for the compost pile in a couple of days is now feeding our bodies instead of the ground.

I have to say, this stuff was great. It made enough for us to each have two bowls of it, plus there’s enough “leftover leftovers” for probably two or three more meals, so that means I’ll have a great breakfast or lunch tomorrow, and maybe the next day, too. Now that’s my kind of cooking!

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Emergency Paleo Italian Pork Chops (gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, Whole30)

I had an emergency today — I had to go to the doctor. But the emergency I had wasn’t medical, it was foodical — I needed to get supper in the oven before I left. I was going to be gone about three hours, and wouldn’t be back in time to get supper cooked by the time The Hub got home from work (and he walks in hungry). I knew I’d be hungry when I got home, too. (Not everything I do is motivated by spousal love and benevolence.)

So I whipped up this recipe for Emergency Paleo Italian Pork Chops, and let me tell you, I will definitely make this one-dish meal again! The two of us tasted it and gave it four thumbs up and 10 gold stars. And it took less than 10 minutes to put together. Yup. My kinda meal.

Bonus: it’s Paleo and Whole30 compliant.

Ingredients:

Serves 4 to 6. Prep time: 10 min., cook time 45 mins.

Six pork chops, bone-in

Two small zucchini, washed and sliced

Two small summer squash, washed and sliced

One 25-oz. jar spaghetti sauce/marinara sauce, no sugar or sulfites

Process:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Place pork chops in single layer in large lasagna pan (11-in. by 14-in., or thereabouts)

    Pork chops -- one of the basic paleo food groups!

    Pork chops — one of the basic paleo food groups!

  3. Top the chops with zucchini and summer squash.

    Top the Chops! With zucchini and summer squash.

    Top the Chops! With zucchini and summer squash.

  4. Pour spaghetti/marinara sauce over top of all.
    I LOVE this spaghetti sauce. It's sweet with no sugar, and it's made with olive oil. This is lick-the-pan good!

    I LOVE this spaghetti sauce. It’s sweet with no sugar, and it’s made with olive oil. This is lick-the-pan delish!

    Looks good already. Just wait until the delectable aroma fills your house.

    Looks good already. Just wait until the delectable aroma fills your house. Everybody’s gonna wanna know what’s cookin’.

  5. Place pan on middle rack of preheated oven. Bake 45 minutes or until chops are tender. Serve immediately. (Note: I baked mine today at 300 degrees F for three hours, and everything turned out perfect!)

    Emergency (for when supper is needed in a hurry) Paleo Italian Pork Chops with zucchini, summer squash, and Italian marinara sauce straight out of the jar.

    Tah Dah! Emergency Paleo Italian Pork Chops with zucchini, summer squash, and Italian marinara sauce straight out of the jar. What could be easier?