There are home cooks who religiously plan their meals with grocery lists and major prep work on the weekends, followed by well-strategized meals throughout the week. Then there are those who wing it. But preparing one “big” dish and using the final product to create subsequent meals falls somewhere in between.
Essentially, it’s all about intentional creation of leftovers, with just a little bit of thought to ensure that you’ll actually want to eat them. It’s also a way to meal plan without having to finish too many dishes at once, and, of course, a great routine for eliminating food waste.
Our favorite recipes start with a master protein — pork shoulder, a roast beef, even a turkey (it doesn’t have to be Thanksgiving to cook a bigger bird, despite the name of our recipe), then call for a little work to incorporate the finished product into additional preparations.
Here are links to three favorite recipes you can use to kickstart a few days of meals, plus tips on how to do so.
Master Recipe #1: Mississippi Roast
Sub-recipe: Shredded Beef Sliders — Preheat the oven to 350°F. Slice open mini potato or Hawaiian rolls. Top with shredded Mississippi beef and slices of provolone cheese and cover with the top halves of the rolls. Place on a sheet tray and loosely cover with foil. Bake until the sandwiches are warmed through and the cheese is melted. Serve hot.
Sub-recipe: Italian Chopped Salad — Thinly slice romaine or iceberg lettuce and place in a bowl. Top with diced pepperoncini, chopped red onions, garbanzo beans, sliced olives, shredded mozzarella cheese and shredded Mississippi beef. Drizzle with your favorite Italian dressing or bottled Hidden Valley Ranch and serve immediately.
Master Recipe #2: BBQ Ranch Pulled Pork
Sub-recipe: Pulled pork Nachos — Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread tortilla chips on a foil-lined sheet tray. Scatter with shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese and spoon pulled pork over the top. Bake until the cheese is melted and the pork is heated through. Remove from oven and finish with dollops of sour cream or bottle Hidden Valley® Ranch, diced avocado or guacamole, and beans.
Sub-recipe: BBQ Bowls — Fill bowls with cooked rice. Top with pulled pork and any of the following: corn, diced avocado, coleslaw, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped red onions, chopped scallions, bottled Hidden Valley® Ranch dressing.
Master Recipe #3: Hidden Valley Holiday Turkey
Sub-recipe: Turkey Fried Rice — In a large sauté pan, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil with a couple teaspoons of sesame oil. Stir in any of the following: the white and light green parts of scallions or chopped onions, frozen peas and carrots, sliced peppers or mushrooms. Add in cooked rice and diced turkey and cook, stirring occasionally, until everything is heated through and combined. Stir in soy sauce to taste and a little more sesame oil. If desired, push everything to the side, scramble an egg in the pan and stir to combine.
Sub-recipe: Turkey Vegetable Soup — Heat olive oil in a large pot. Sauté an onion with a few chopped carrots and celery stalks (or use any combo of the three). Add whatever vegetables you have in the fridge — chopped broccoli, cauliflower, diced zucchini, chopped peppers, potatoes, etc.) – and sauté for a few minutes. Season with salt, pepper and Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix. Add broth to at least to cover vegetables, if not more. Simmer until vegetables are cooked through. Add in shredded or diced turkey and, if desired, a can of chopped tomatoes. Simmer a few more minutes and season to taste. Serve hot.