Don’t Throw That Away! How to use your leftovers

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I am flabbergasted by the cost of groceries. It should be criminal to charge what I end up paying for healthy foods, like fresh produce and meat. Mrs. Hacker has found a way around throwing all your valuable leftovers down the garbage disposal (or into your compost pile). First, we’ll discuss how to cook butternut squash and then use the leftovers (because sometimes those things are massive), and then we’ll give you a couple recipes for making the most of your poultry purchases.

Butternut Squash

Baking: Before you can think about leftover squash, you have to think about actually taking it from fresh to baked. Preheated oven to 350-400 degrees. Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Spray 9×13 casserole dish with non-stick spray. Place squash sliced side down in casserole dish and cover with foil. Bake until tender (poke with a fork to check for tenderness). Turn squash halves over and season with salt. Add butter and brown sugar or agave nectar on section you are planning to eat  now. Put it back in oven face-up until butter and sugar mixture is melted into the squash.

Leftovers: Once you have eaten your sweet and savory baked squash, it’s time to use those leftovers. Scoop out leftover squash out of its peel. Dice a large onion. Brown onion in 2 tablespoons butter. Cook until tender and brown. In blender, mix squash, browned onion, and vegetable broth to desired thickness.  Blend until smooth and well-mixed. Pour blended mixture into a saucepan. Warm on medium-low heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.


You might have noticed that buying a whole chicken can be cheaper per serving than buying breasts or thighs separately, but don’t waste your money if you’re only going to eat part of the chicken or turkey.

Enchiladas: Use your leftover baked or grilled poultry to make delicious chicken or turkey enchiladas.

  • 2 cups diced chicken or turkey
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup sliced or chopped black olives
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 2 cans tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1 package dry enchilada seasoning mix
  • more grated cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together chicken/turkey, cheese, olives, and ¼ cup chopped onion. Mix separately in a saucepan until warm: tomato sauce, other ¼ cup chopped onion, chili powder, garlic, dry enchilada mix, 1½ cups water. Stir often. Warm tortillas individually in a skillet with a small amount of vegetable oil over medium heat. Place ¼ cup filling in each tortilla and roll it up. Place seam-down, one layer, in greased baking dish. Cover with warm sauce mixture. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

Turkey/Chicken a la King: This rich and creamy way to use leftover turkey and chicken is perfect for cold, winter days and can be served over rice, potatoes, or biscuits.

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon flour (gluten-free: use Krusteaz Gluten Free All Purpose Flour)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 4 mushrooms sliced
  • 1 cup cooked turkey or chicken
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas thawed
  • Salt and pepper

In a skillet over medium heat, cook butter until golden brown. Sauté mushrooms until tender, and stir in flour until smooth. Whisk in chicken broth, and cook until slightly thickened. Stir in cream, turkey and peas. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to low and cook until thickened. Serve over biscuits, potatoes, or rice. Makes approximately 4 servings.

Your finicky family will never know they are eating last night’s squash or last week’s chicken (from the freezer) as you use these recipes to give them a new taste. Don’t waste a dollar, and share your tips by commenting on this post. We’d love to hear from you!

Comfort Food Favorite

Aside from spending quality time with family, I look forward to my visits for Mrs. Hacker’s delicious homemade meals. My favorite of her creations is the pizza porcupine patty. It has been my favorite since I was a kid due to the fun name and it’s melty cheesiness.

Back in the mid-70’s, when Mrs. Hacker was in the Army, she joined a recipe club that provided each member with a recipe card box and mailed a number of recipe cards per month. The pizza porcupine patties recipe was one of the first recipes she received and ironically the only recipe she kept and actually prepared.

Now 40 years later, the recipe, slightly changed from it’s original ingredients, is still a family favorite.

  • 1 – 15 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 lb. ground beef or ground turkey
  • ½ cup uncooked, regular white rice
  • 2-3 chopped hot chilies (the kind that come in a jar)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp garlic salt
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup shredded pizza cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Reserve 1 cup tomato sauce. Mix remaining tomato sauce, ground beef, rice, chilies, salt, garlic salt, and oregano. Shape into patties. Place in 9″x13″ baking pan. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes. Remove patties from oven. Drain off grease. Add beef broth to the 1 cup tomato sauce. Pour mixture over the patties. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake 35 minutes. Remove patties from oven again. Sprinkle patties with cheese. Leave uncovered. And bake for 5 more minutes.

Mrs. Hacker likes to serve her pizza porcupine patties with green salad and French bread or sour dough bread. It is a delicious way to enjoy dinner together.

Start your Engines!

Because we wouldn’t dare start our blog without a healthy breakfast under our belt, here it is, the most important meal of the day. We hope this blog, like your breakfast, will fuel you to do more and be more, but we can only fill your tank with good lifestyle tips. It’s up to you to start the engine to better health.

With that said, this week you will learn how to make a healthful breakfast that tastes as delicious as it is good for you. Be aware that this recipe is for a double portion, not because it is prepared for two, but because Mrs. Hacker needs both portions to get her through her morning routine.

  1. Bring to boil two cups of salted water.
  2. Pour in one cup of oats. (Old Fashioned Quaker Oats work just fine).
  3. Cook oats uncovered for five minutes on medium heat.
  4. Once the oats are cooked, put lid on, and set aside (off burner) for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Place approximately a dozen blueberries in the bottom of a large cereal bowl.
  6. Pour the hot oatmeal over the blueberries.
  7. Top with two tablespoons of finely chopped or ground walnuts, 1-2 tablespoons of chia seeds, 1-2 tablespoons of flax meal or flax seed, half of a banana (diced), and cinnamon to taste.
  8. Mix together with a spoon until it is well blended.
  9. Pour “Original” almond milk or your milk of choice over your mixture to your desired amount.

As Mrs. Hacker says, “That’s it! And it’s yummy.”

We all go to bed at night thinking that tomorrow we’ll do better. “I’ll start that diet tomorrow.” “I’ll exercise tomorrow.” “I’ll do something I love tomorrow.” What if we started first thing in the morning with a healthy bowl of Mrs. Hacker’s Oats? We might just kick start all those things we said we’d start tomorrow.


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