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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Curried Mashed Plantains

One of the things I have loved about changing over to a paleo way of eating are all the new-to-me foods I am trying.  One of these foods is plantain.  My cousin Wendy, who is also a Whole30 success story, turned me on to this recipe when we had a lovely Whole30 compliant brunch.  She brought these curried mashed plantains and I just couldn’t get enough!

Plantains are similar to bananas, but not as sweet and much uglier.  The best ones to find look like big overripe bananas.  When I bought the ones for this recipe the cashier almost mistakenly rang them up as clearance bananas.  They are eaten fried, steamed, grilled, or baked.

 

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Ingredients:

3 ripe plantains

1 cup diced red onion

2 cloves garlic – minced

1T coconut oil -OR- bacon grease

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/2 t salt

1/2 t freshly ground black pepper

1 t curry powder

1t garam masala

Optional: 2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

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Directions:

1.  Boil 6 cups of water, add a sprinkle of salt to the water.

2.  Peel the plantains and chop into medium size pieces.  I find it easiest to peel by first slicing the skin down the middle.

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3.  Add the cut up plantains to the boiling water, allow to boil for 20 minutes or until soft.

4.  While the plantains are boiling heat the coconut oil or bacon grease in a skillet and add the onion and garlic.  Saute until the onion starts to caramelize.

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5.  Drain the plantains and put into a bowl.  Add the 1/2 cup of coconut milk and mash with a fork or potato masher.

6.  Add the cooked onion and garlic, salt, pepper, curry powder, and garam masala.  This would be the time to add the bacon if you choose to do so.   Stir to combine.

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Thai Chicken Stew with Roasted Root Veggies

We deal with some pretty brutal winter weather here in Michigan.  Becoming a runner has made winter fun again for me.  There is nothing like getting out on the trail when it is crisp and cold with the snow crunching under your running shoes.  The sense of accomplishment after conquering the distance in challenging conditions is always pretty awesome.  Whatever winter activity you like, having a bowl of this stew afterwards is sure to warm and satisfy you.

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2 sweet potatoes- peeled and cut into half inch pieces

1 medium rutabaga- peeled and cut into half inch pieces

4 large carrots-peeled and cut into half inch pieces

1 red onion- chopped into medium pieces

6 boneless skinless chicken thighs- cut into 1 inch pieces

3T coconut oil- divided, plus a little to grease pans

1t Salt

1t Pepper

1 can coconut milk

2T red Thai curry paste

1t fish sauce

32oz broth (chicken or veggie)

6-10 basil leaves-cut into thin slices

 

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Put all your cut up veggies in a large bowl.  Drizzle with 1T coconut oil and mix to coat.

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3. Spread veggies in a single layer on baking sheets greased with coconut oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast in oven for 30 minutes, turning once to avoid burning.

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4.  While the veggies are roasting, heat  1T coconut oil in a large skillet.  Add chicken and saute until cooked through and no longer pink.

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5.  Push the chicken to the side of the skillet, add remaining 1T coconut oil to empty spot on skillet.  Add red curry paste to oil and saute until fragrant- about 30 seconds.

6.  Mix up the chicken and curry paste in the skillet and then add the can of coconut milk and fish sauce.  Simmer for about 5 minutes.

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6.  The veggies should be done now, pull them out of the oven.   Put them in a big stock pot along with the broth.

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7.  Add chicken mixture to veggies and broth.  Simmer for 10 minutes or so, until everything thickens up.   Serve sprinkled with fresh basil.