Friday, January 22, 2016

Homemade Taco Salad Bowls... and Stretching Leftovers

Leftovers!  Do you love them or hate them?  Well, in our house, we love them, and that is because every day I try to turn them into something new and exciting.  I like to cook big one day, and eat for several days spinning off that one day of cooking.

I made a large pot of pinto beans earlier in the week, and that served as meal #1.

The next night for dinner, I used some of the leftover beans to make a Mexican Beefy Rice meal for dinner.  I simply fry up a bit of hamburger meat (about 1 lb), add 1 can Rotel tomatoes, 1 can diced tomatoes, 1 cup rice, and 2 cups water.  Let this simmer until rice is done, then mix in the beans and season to taste with salt pepper, and taco seasoning (I make my own, but 1 package of taco seasoning mix would work).  Serve with warm buttered tortillas for a second meal.

Sorry, I don't have pictures of either the beans, or the Mexican Beefy Rice.

However, I did collect myself enough last night to take a picture of the taco salad bowls we had for dinner.  I used the rest of the leftover beans to make refried beans, and mashed them with a few dribbles of olive oil until the mixture was creamy.  I added in a bit of taco seasoning for flavor as well.  I also warmed up the leftover Mexican Beefy Rice.

Then I made the taco shells. This was the fun part!


It is better if you have large burrito-style flour tortillas (I didn't have those on hand).  So I used the flour tortillas I had which were about 6" in diameter.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

The tricky part is finding heat safe bowls to use.  I have this set of ovenware that was given to me for a wedding gift!  They have been such a blessing through the many years.  Spray your ovensafe bowls and then spray both sides of the tortilla with oil ... you could also butter them.


Bake in 375 oven for about 15-17 minutes until they are browned and crispy... instant taco bowl shells! Much cheaper than a Taco Bell salad bowl!  {smiles}|


The lighting is bad, and I apologize, but this is what the shells look like after they are browned and crispy.


Now the fun begins as you layer up the taco salad bowl with all your favorite ingredients... we started first with the refried beans, then the Beefy Rice mix, and then added whatever toppings were desired.
Ours included sliced romaine lettuce, avocado cubes,  diced tomatoes, sour cream, Pace picante sauce, and shredded cheddar cheese.  This can be determined by whatever you have on hand.


Again, I apologize for the terrible lighting for these pictures.... taking food pictures in the winter here is not an easy task! But you get the idea.  :)


For hungry bellies, using the 6" tortillas, you may need 2 per person.  It all depends how much each family member eats.  We found that the tortilla shells cooked this way were very filling, and we only needed one per person because all the ingredients were very filling.

This is just one of the ways that I  try to stretch meals and make those leftovers into a fun "game" of sorts... seeing just how far I can stretch a meal, and how creative I can get.

How do you feel about leftovers? Do they get tossed, or do you come up with creative ways to stretch them? Do share your tips!  :)


34 comments:

  1. Hello there! All your leftover ideas sound yummy!! I don't mind leftovers, but of I'm giving them to my hubby they have to be changed up a bit. I made a pork tenderloin the other night, so tonight I will make pork fajita wraps. Another good one I make with leftover chicken or roast beef is chicken and noodles over mashed taters...it is my all time favorite leftover meal...
    I'll be making those taco bowls...how crazy simple is that?! My kids love that version of an open taco! :)
    Thanks for sharing your yummy ideas...I'm hungry now!
    Enjoy your weekend!
    Hugs, Amy

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    1. I love your ideas of stretching leftovers, and my husband will eat some leftovers straight, but others need to be redone. Oh I have used leftover meat to make a gravy and served over potatoes, that is a yummy one! Hope you have fun with the taco bowls, it is a great fun alternative to tacos! :)

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  2. We are big leftover people and these look delicious! Thank you for sharing the meal inspiration! :)

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    1. Wonderful... glad for the inspiration... it was a delight to serve these fun bowls to the family! Appreciate your visit, and hope you are having a wonderful day :)

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  3. i am NOT good with actual leftovers, warming things up. i am good at cooking ahead or making casseroles. these salads look yummy and i LOVE your creativity!!! i also have trouble with food pictures as it is usually getting dark while i am cooking and the lighting is not condusive for pictures!!!!

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    1. It gets dark here in the winter very early, and so yes, getting pictures of food in the evening is not the best! I love hearing everyone's take on leftovers... and it is fun to change things up once in a while... the family loves it! Have a blessed day! :)

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  4. When do we eat? Those look absolutely delicious! I bet they're all gone now, right?? :)

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    1. LOL... they were quite delicious, and a really fun twist on the typical taco... I love changing leftovers up like this :) Yes, they are all gone now... but I would make you some if you came for a visit! {smiles} Have a blessed day friend!

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  5. I just found your blog by a comment left on Chrissy's Keeping Home. I haven't made taco bowls in years. I had forgotten about them! I will add those to the menu for next month. My daughter will think it is a great treat!

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    1. Oh wonderful! I'm so glad you stopped by, and it is wonderful to meet you :) I hope you enjoy making the taco bowls, they are a fun alternative to tacos! Have a wonderful day :)

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  6. Love this idea with cooking a pot of beans and stretching it. I am going to try those shells. What a super neat idea. We are mixed about left overs. I tend to cook just enough for the night and we may have enough for lunch the next day. I do use stretch chili and taco meat. I will do chili on night, and then chili baked potatoes the next, and then if there is any left over we will do frito chili pie or chili dogs.

    I do stretch taco meat. Example....taco's, then enchilada's and then whatever is left I will make taco soup. We love taco soup.

    I plan to do this you have shared. Your Beefy Rice sounds great.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your ideas of leftovers, we love leftover chili too! And I always try to plan meals where the meat is stretched as well, as that is the most expensive part of a meal. I hope the taco bowls are a hit with your family, they are certainly a fun alternative to tacos :)

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  7. O often freeze leftovers and dig them out to add to soup or casseroles.

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    1. Awesome! I agree that is a wonderful plan... a little bit of this-n-that is always fresh and new and exciting! Have a great day :)

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  8. Oh, my, we dearly love leftovers in our house, too, and very little ever gets thrown away! LOL! I love your ideas, and I think one of the neatest things about frugal living is to make meals that last for more than one meal. One of my favorite things to make, and it just feels SO good not to waste anything, is when I make "must-go" soup. All leftovers in the refrig. must go...I start off with some sort of leftover sauce or even breakfast gravy as a base, then add veggies or whatever to it. Leftover mamwich or spaghetti sauce both make a wonderful base. It is amazing how delicious it all turns out! Sometimes, we do have cheeseburgers or something that lasts for only one meal, but we usually try to make the meat stretch as far as possible. I like to get a good start on supper as I am cooking breakfast...this way, when supper comes, it doesn't take as long to get the meal ready. I just love being in the kitchen...period! LOL! I am SO thankful for the calling to be a wife, mother, and homemaker. Thank you ever so much for sharing all of your wonderful ideas!! Sending you much love across the miles!

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    1. Oh, how we love that "must go" soup too! I love your name for it! Stretching meat as far as possible is my main goal as well, since meat is the most expensive part of the meal. I too enjoy being in the kitchen, and being able to provide wonderful homemade nutritious meals for our family. Appreciate you so much dear friend, and praying the Lord blesses your day in a special way!

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  9. Well, that looks great. I have to try to make those bowls, we are big taco salad fans over here. I don't have oven safe bowls like that. I may have to purchase a few just for this recipe alone. I am sure that I would find other uses...

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    1. Haha, that's what happens in blogland... I've often done the same myself, and found some wonderful new ways of doing things through the sharing of ideas! Have fun with those bowls, they are a fun alternative to plain tacos :)

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  10. That looks super yummy. I make tortillas regularly but have never tried making the taco bowls. I suppose that I could use homemade tortillas fine for that too. We love leftovers around here. I don't mind getting to skip out on the majority of cooking for some meals and just using leftovers (straight up or re-done) instead.

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    1. Oh homemade tortillas would work just as well, I'm sure! You could save yourself a step by cooking them on the stove, by just putting them in an oven-safe bowl to cook, I would think! I love leftovers for the very reason you just mentioned, one less meal to prepare (as most all my meals I prepare from "scratch"). :)

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  11. I never thought of making my own taco bowls from flour tortillas! Great idea!

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    1. It is a fun way to spruce up an ordinary meal, for sure! I also enjoyed having the rice and beans in the taco shell too... it was great. Hope you get to try it sometime! :)

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  12. Yummy! This looks so tasty!
    Yes, we use leftovers. I save all my little scraps and freeze them in baggies, eventually I add all of them to a pot and make soup. Maybe a little spaghetti, some pot roast or chicken, left over veggies etc. It actually comes out really good most of the time. I was thinking one day on how Jesus gathered up all the fragments after He fed the crowds, He didn't just throw out the leftovers. I started practicing this and have really cut down on my grocery bill by not letting things go to waste.

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    1. That is a really great idea, to just put whatever you have together, and make it all into something new! A one of a kind supper indeed :) That is so true what Jesus did with the bread, I never thought of it like that. Hope you are having a wonderful day :)

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  13. What a great idea. My boys love tacos. I never thought of making my own bowls!!
    We get into ruts and eat the same thing. 2016 my husband and I are making a new recipe each week. :-) It has been fun so far. We take turns. This week is mine turn, I plan to make French Onion Soup.

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    1. It is always great to find a new twist on a favorite dish, and that is what these taco bowls have done. I look forward to hearing about your new recipes, I enjoyed your old favorite with potato soup! I may have to change my menu this week to include it :)

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  14. Oh, yes, we love leftovers here! Turkey after Christmas is always a treat because I can do so much with it; casseroles, hot turkey sandwiches, sweet and sour turkey {chicken} a savoury soup, etc... When I make spaghetti sauce I always have enough left over for lasagna and my Chili too stretches a long way. Your tacos look delicious and thanks for sharing your recipe. It's always lovely to have you join my little blog party.

    Blessings,
    Sandi

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    1. I'm always delighted to share the joy at your blog party Sandi, you are such a gracious host! Turkey is one of our favorites too, perhaps we enjoy the leftovers as much as the main meal! I love being able to stretch meat as far as possible, as it tends to be the most expensive part of the meal. And saving money always makes me happy :) Appreciate your visit and sharing your leftover ideas here! :)

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  15. Turkey tacos are a favorite here, will try the bowls with the lo-carb tortillas. Certainly can make a healthy version when they aren't deep fried. Grins and thanks for the idea, Sandi

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    1. I love healthy version of anything, and this did fit the bill, and a fun alternative to plain tacos for sure! Thanks for your visit! :)

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  16. YummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmY! :)

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    1. Exactly.... :) They are definitely a fun alternative to the standard taco fare for sure! :)

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  17. I am craving tacos now. Luckily I have some flour tortillas on hand. Thanks for sharing on the #HomeMattersParty I hope you will join us again next week.

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    1. It is a wonderful quick way to take a meal from ordinary up a notch or two! I enjoyed the Home Matters party, and do hope to join you again next week :)

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