Monday, September 13, 2010

Three Recipes - Using Those Leftovers

I came across a fabulous idea of "morphing" main dinner ingredients into future meals that are very different from the original. What follows is a main recipe, and then two "morphs" using the main ingredients. For this one, it's hamburger. You have the option of cooking all the hamburgers at once (while making the first recipe), and then just having the cooked meat on hand in the fridge or freezer, or having the raw hamburger set aside in the fridge or freezer ready to use in the morphed meals. It's up to you. I like to get the majority of the cooking done ahead of time, so I'm writing the recipes as if you have cooked the all the meat when preparing the first recipe. Enjoy!

Main Recipe:
Smoked Cheddar-Stuffed Burgers

3 ½ pounds lean ground beef
2 teaspoons garlic and herb seasoning
6 one-inch chunks smoked cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 hamburger buns

In a large bowl, combine the beef and herb seasoning until well mixed. Shape the mixture into twelve patties, each about 1 inch thick. Press a chunk of cheese into the center of six patties, form the meat around the cheese, and flatten into a patty. You will only be putting cheese into the patties for this meal, the remaining will just be plain hamburgers--no cheese.

(The remaining six patties will be used for the other two "morph" recipes below. At this point, you can refrigerate the remaining uncooked burgers up to three days or freeze up to three months: thaw completely in refrigerator, or microwave for 3-5 minutes on low before using, OR you can cook all the patties and then refrigerate or freeze the extras for use in the morphed recipes).

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the burgers several at a time and cook 4-6 minutes per side for medium to medium-well done. Serve the 6 cheese-stuffed burgers on buns with this meal, and refrigerate the remaining burgers for up to three days or freeze up to three months.

That's one dinner down, two to go!

Morph Recipe #1:
Greek Pita Pockets with Yogurt Cucumber Sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 left over, cooked burgers
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon ground all-spice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ cup low-fat plain yogurt
¼ peeled, seeded, shredded cucumber
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
1 teaspoon garlic powder
4 pita pockets

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Break the cooked burgers up into small pieces and add them to the skillet. Add the water, all-spice, cumin and oregano, and mix well. Cook until the liquid is absorbed and the meat is hot (about 5 minutes) stirring a few times. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the yogurt, cucumber, dill and garlic powder. Spoon the beef mixture into the pita pockets, top with the yogurt sauce and serve.

Dinner #2 done!

Morph Recipe #2
Vegetable Beef Stew with Yukon Gold Potatoes

6 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
4 left over cooked burgers, cut into bite-size pieces
2 cups peeled and diced Yukon Gold potatoes
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large stockpot or saucepan, combine the broth, burger pieces, potatoes, onion, celery, carrots and bay leaves. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, partially cover the pan, and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender (8-10 minutes). Remove from heat, remove bay leaves, and stir in the parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.

And there you have it, three completely different meals, all using a common ingredient!!

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