Dinner By Dagny

Not just food, food with flavor

Archive for the tag “leftovers”

Leftover Meat and Vegetable Soup

I think that part of being a good cook comes from being able to repurpose leftovers, either to make a mediocre or unexciting dish better, or just to reinvent them as something else. I have a staple asian noodle soup recipe that I use pretty regularly with extra chicken, beef or pork. It’s got lots of celery, onions, carrots, dried mushrooms and whatever else I feel like putting in it (i.e. spinach). The asian flavors like soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, ginger, chinese 5 spice all make the broth flavorful and hearty.

This is what I planned on doing with the leftover red chili paste marinated flank steak, but two things changed my mind. 1) My youngest daughter doesn’t love this or so she claims verbally (you wouldn’t know it from the way she eats all the goodies and noodles) and 2) I had a couple links of cooked italian sausage that I thought I could toss in. I also had some other random vegetables around like 1/2 a green pepper and some both cooked and uncooked broccoli.

As I expected, it all worked out well. The flavor was bold and the soup hearty.


1/2 cooked marinated flank steak, sliced thinly in bite size pieces

2 cooked italian sausages, sliced thinly

1/2 box spinach fettucini

1 medium onion cut in half and sliced thinly

2 celery stalks sliced thinly (I used a mandolin for the celery and carrots)

3 carrots sliced thinly

1 large tablespoon chopped garlic

1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms

1 cup boiling water

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 green bell pepper cut in half and sliced thinly

1 cup broccoli cut into small florets

3 cups beef stock

2 chicken bouillon cubes

3 cups water

1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed


Adobo and cracked black pepper


1. Steep dried porcini mushrooms in hot water for 5-15 minutes

2. Heat pot on stove and add olive oil

3. Add onions, celery and carrots, saute 1-2 minutes

4. Add garlic, Adobo and pepper to taste

5. Add in steak and sausage, saute 3-4 minutes

6. Add beef stock, mushrooms, steeping liquid, chicken bouillon, water

7. Add green pepper and broccoli

8. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10-15 minutes

9. Add fettucini and kidney beans and cook for additional 6-8 minutes


Leftovers are just another creative outlet for cooks. I like the additional options having leftovers allows me and my family.  I’m so glad they are open to whatever it is I make.


Ode to Multi-Course Meals….

Last year we started hosting “Cruzan Sundays” whereby family and friends would join us for food and drinks.  These were pretty leisurely afternoons where everyone would bring food or drink to add to the mix, and we would sit around hanging out.  There might be a game or two of soccer, barefoot with drink in hands for the adults, as well.  Now that the weather is warming up, my husband decided it was time to start again for the season.  I had some leftovers from the meals cooked earlier in the week, and I had a beer braised bbq pork recipe I wanted to try.  So, easter dinner was a little non-traditional and eclectic.


cherry tomatoes, carrots and roasted garlic hummus

chips & salsa

3 servings sausage stew

6 individual sausage lasagna rolls

3 servings chicken, rice & beans

4-5 pound pork roast beer braised bbq from the crockpot

cous cous pasta salad with corn, peas, broccoli (all leftover from week) and red pepper

rainbow slaw (broccoli, shredded cabbage, carrots, cauliflower)

stuffing made from some dense garlic, parsley bread my husband made and leftover country wheat from Panera


Since the basis of the meal was leftovers, there wasn’t a lot of advanced preparation that needed to get done.  I did the dry rub for the pork (2 tbs Adobo, 2 tbs chili powder, 1 tbs granulated garlic, 2 tsp ground coriander, ~40 grinds fresh pepper) at about 9:30 am and let that sit until around noon before putting it into the crockpot.  I also unraveled some of the layers of unnecessary noodle off the lasagna rolls and covered with more sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese.  And I cut the edges off the bread, cubed it and left it in a bowl on the counter until I needed it later.

I put the dry rubbed pork in the crockpot around noon with a bottle of Landshark beer and 5 chopped cloves of garlic.   About 2 hours into the cooking time, I mixed 1/2 cup ketchup, 3 tbs Worcestershire sauce, and 1/3 cup brown sugar.  I heated that over low heat for about 5 minutes to meld the ingredients and bring the temperature up.  I added this mixture to the crockpot and mixed it with the beer, garlic and juices from the pork roast.   I also chopped the leftover broccoli and the red pepper into small pieces to mimic the size of the corn and cooked the cous cous so it would cool.  I made a fresh lemon vinagrette with Adobo, Oregano and black pepper as the dressing.

At about 4 pm, I chopped the onions, carrots and celery for the stuffing and adding that to 1 stick melted butter, 1/4 cup olive oil on medium high heat in a saucepan.  I let the vegetables soften up and cook for about 5 minutes before adding the cubed bread and mixed it up.  Once people started arriving around 4:30 pm, I put the sausage stew on the stove to heat up.  I served that to the first 3 people who were hungry.  I added the chicken stock to the stuffing until the bread was thoroughly moist and let that sit for 5-10 minutes while the stove heated up.  I checked the moisture level on the bread and since it was still a little dry, added some more chicken stock.  I put the lasagna rolls and the stuffing in the oven and let them go for about 30 minutes for the lasagna rolls and 45 minutes for the stuffing.  I also dressed the cous cous salad.

I put out the vegetables and hummus and chips and salsa, which were devoured by the time the lasagna rolls came out.  My guests were in a sharing mood and I think that the lasagna rolls actually got split 6 ways.  At this point, I also started heating up the chicken, rice & beans.  I had a few people who were eyeing the pot for a while.  I think this is about the time, I started making concoctions in the kitchen.  First it was the equal parts mango and banana rum with orange juice, and then it was the coconut and pineapple  rum mojitos.  I had about 2 servings of leftover rice and heated that up.  I then made another batch of fresh rice and waited patiently for the beer braised bbq pork to finish, but it took longer than I thought.  I expected about 5 hours, but it ended up being closer to 6 1/2 hours.

It worked out as some people started playing a game of soccer and came in for another round of food.  I think people ended up  skipping the rolls and going for plates of rice, red beans and pulled pork.

Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and I got rave reviews for the multi-course, eclectic menu.  Everyone was having such a good time, including me that I forgot to take pictures. Sorry about that.

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