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A Tale of Leftover Veggies


Ahhhh leftovers. You either love them or hate them. For me, I love the challenge that leftover ingredients bring.

For those of you that were with me when I was blogging under Danny’s Kitchen, you may recall a little challenge I would occasionally have for my readers called The Great Leftover Challenge. I’d ask my readers to create something new and different using leftover ingredients found in the fridge. I loved the creativity and dishes that were shared. I wonder if I should bring it back?

Well, for today’s posting, I’m sharing two recent dinners where I once again had to get creative with leftover ingredients: zucchini and baby carrots

Dinner #1: Zucchini Burgers

No, this wasn’t a vegetarian burger — I love meat too much. I was simply inspired to shred one zucchini with a box grater and blend it in with ground beef to create burgers. It’s a great way to add veggies to a burger and give it some added texture with each bite. To finish this off and make it more gourmet, I topped each burger with some fried pancetta, a thick slice of smoked gouda and used potato rolls instead of the traditional bun to create gourmet sliders.

1227 Foster: Zucchini BurgersDinner #2: Beef Barley Vegetable Soup

For snacks, I often buy those little pouches of baby carrots. It got to a point where I was down to three little pouches and I was getting tired of carrots as a snack — sorry Bugs! Rather than subject myself to three more days of carrot snacks, I decided to use them up in soup for dinner — perfect for a cold January day.

The challenge though was that I didn’t want to make carrot soup, but fortunately, I found two other bags of frozen veggies — one of mixed veggies and another of frozen corn — enough to supplement my carrots. So along with a pound of frozen ground beef, I was ready to whip up some soup.

1227 Foster: Beef Barley Vegetable Soup

  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 medium Onion – chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic – minced
  • 8 cups of water
  • 2 Beef Bullion Cubes
  • 1 cup dry Barley
  • 1 can Stewed or Diced Tomatoes or 14.5 ounce can of Tomato Sauce
  • Carrots – sliced
  • Frozen Mixed Veggies (or blend of frozen corn, peas, etc.)
  • Dried Basil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Fresh Black Pepper
  • Salt to taste (optional)

Soup is simple so here goes. Brown the beef (drain excess oil), add onions and garlic and mix until softened.

Add water and allow to come to a boil. Once boiling, add in remaining ingredients except salt. Allow soup to simmer for an hour over low fire — periodically mixing.

Season with salt if needed. Soup is served!




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Author: Danny

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    • I hear you CJ – you either love ‘em or hate ‘em. Glad you liked how these two dinners turned out :)

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  1. Cooking for two means that there are very often leftovers. Fortunately, neither my husband nor I have an objection to that and sometimes there’s some pretty creative things you can do with them.
    Linda recently posted..Breakfast With FriendsMy Profile

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    • That’s so true. I really love the challenge of coming up with something different than what the ingredients were originally purchased for — makes it a nice little game :) Thanks Linda!

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  2. Welcome to the leftover club *smile – I call my challenge “leftovers and cupboard”… the burgers is just something I would fancy doing … not a “souppy” person – mostly because it’s so difficult to make one portion and I have problems with getting more into my freezer. It’s not because I don’t like soups … it’s the logistics.

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    • I am sure freezer space is at a premium so I totally understand :) good to know you also have a “leftover” challenge! Great minds think alike :)

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  3. Love the zucchini in your burger. Yum. I’m a bit of a soup freak, because I love one-dish vegetable delivery systems. ;-) We have a recipe around our house called Hamburger Soup that we often throw together on Halloween. It’s very similar to your recipe above. The barley makes it, doesn’t it? Yum.
    Elen Grey recently posted..Northern Girl Vibe and Feed Finds…My Profile

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    • I had never tried throwing in zucchini in a burger but totally loved it….glad you do too :) mmmm, love the sound of hamburger soup and yes, barley just adds the right amount of heartiness to it all. Thanks Elen!

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  4. I love having leftovers for lunch. I’m not a big on cold sandwiches so anything from the night before is a favorite. That is such a great idea to add a little oomph to the hamburger – I’d try that even if I didn’t have the zucchini as a leftover. As for the soup, you can’t do better if you’ve been having the kind of winter weather we’ve been having here.

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    • I’m with you Diane, I’m not a fan of cold sandwiches — hot and warm is the best! You’re right, I would actually do more burgers with shredded zucchini in it — a great way to get veggies in there and add some texture/color with each bite. Thank you :)

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    • Thank you — that’s the fun of using up leftovers, you never know what you can come up with and how it will turn out visually. Glad you liked the ideas!

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