Everybody Eats: Leftover Thursday by way of Taco Tuesday

In our house, leftover night often falls on Thursday. I do our weekly grocery shopping on Fridays so by Thursday fresh ingredients are scarce. On the other hand, food storage containers seem to have multiplied in the refrigerator.

Plus, it’s easier to pack the refrigerator post-shopping if it’s empty. So leftover night serves two purposes. I can clean it out the fridge and feed the family in one sweep.

Some weeks it’s easier to sell leftovers than others. Leftover Chinese always goes quickly, as does leftover chili and pizza. Matloaf? Well, there’s a reason we it’s leftover.

So I started experimenting with leftovers. Take leftover taco beef for example. It’s been turned into some unusual omelets and pasta sauces. I’ve also learned is that my kids will eat pretty much anything served to them as a taco.

While I draw the line at spaghetti tacos (if you have kids who watched Nickelodeon’s “iCarly,” you know what I’m talking about), it’s nice to know leftover chicken, pork and steak make for a great taco even when it isn’t Taco Tuesday.


Makes 3 tacos

•1 tablespoon cooking oil (I used olive oil)

•1 cup chopped cooked meat (I used chicken)

•1 clove garlic, peeled and minced

•1/4 teaspoon chili powder

•6 corn tortillas

•1/2 of a small sweet white onion, diced

•1/3 cup chopped cilantro

•1/4 cup salsa verde

•1 lime, cut into wedges

Put enough oil in a skillet to lightly cover the bottom. Heat the pan on medium heat.

Add the meat and the garlic to the pan. You want it to heat through, so occasionally stir it with a wooden spoon.

Rub a little bit of oil on both sides of your tortillas. You will use two for each taco.

Put a second skillet on the stove, and turn the heat to medium high. Use tongs to put the tortillas in the pan, and cook them one at a time for about 30 seconds on each side.

To assemble the tacos, put two tortillas together and spoon on a little meat, a sprinkle of onions and cilantro, a spoonful or salsa verde, and a squirt of the lime.

Source: “Big Snacks, Little Meals: After School, Dinnertime, Anytime” by Rose Dunnington (Lark Books; May 28, 2005)

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