Sunday, September 1, 2013

Give Your Leftovers a Makeover: Pork Chops into Easy Sweet Curry Pork with Acorn Squash

Give Your Leftovers a Makeover: Leftover Pork Chops into Sweet Curry Pork with Acorn Squash

When we discovered my husband was allergic to EVERYTHING I panicked... how was I supposed to make ALL of our meals at home, without all the "shortcuts" like boxed noodles or rice? How could I possibly keep up with his demanding calorie requirements but restricted list of "safe foods".  (See what we eat in my post "answer to my most frequently asked question")

The solution was optimizing leftovers.

I needed to embrace my mother's wise way of "making over" leftovers so they were delicious, nutritious, and no longer looked like "left overs".

Seriously this is my mom's wheel house.  Don't get me wrong she is an AMAZING cook, but her niche is transforming leftovers. My Mom could school even some of the best chef's in Napa at working with leftovers she's got in the fridge.  She could totally win the TV series Chopped.  This woman can throw together a gourmet meal in under 30 mins when she has "nothing" in the fridge.   My brother would always "inspect" his dinner plate and say "Mom what did you hide in here this time?" Of course he was never really complaining because it tasted great, he just knew she MUST have used some leftovers somewhere.  It was just her style. Growing up on a farm by parents raised by immigrant Italians, you learn to use everything. Throwing away food was not an option. If we could not put it to use, it went to chickens or compost pile. My family, on our little farm, in the middle of the suburbs, strives to live the way my parents taught me everyday.

So how can you save time making dinner, waste less food, and have more control over what your family gets for lunches and dinners?  Start following my "Give Your Leftovers a Makeover Series" I will post it here as well as pin it to my Pinterest board I created just for the leftovers makeover series.  Do you follow me on Pinterest yet?  Find me Yuppie Farm Girl on Pinterest 

So first up on the Give Your Leftovers a Makeover Series:

Leftover Pork Chops into Sweet Curry Pork with Acorn Squash

1 THICK or two regular leftover pork chops - these can be from any cooking method (grilled, baked, fried, etc) and don't worry how they were seasoned before, all flavors work in this dish.
1 TBSP or enough to coat your pan/pot of Coconut Oil or Olive oil (if you don't have coconut) 
1/2 medium onion chopped
1 Acorn squash peeled and cubed (remove seeds)
1 clove garlic minced or 1/8 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp green curry paste (or more if you want it spicy) - I like this one
couple pinches of salt and pepper
plus any other veggies you have in your fridge that need to be used up (ideas include carrots, green beans, snap peas, bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower). 
Splash of homemade broth, white wine, or water to deglaze the pan 
1 can coconut milk  -here is a link to one that is a PBA-Free can!

Optional - fresh cilantro and paprika for garnish

1 large sauce pot/stock pot. I LOVE mine, here is what I have:
Cutting Board - again I LOVE mine, here is what I have:
Your favorite stirring utensil

Get Cooking:
Add Coconut Oil (or Olive Oil) to your pot, heat over medium/medium high heat
Cube the left over pork chop (s) and add to pot, saute/lightly brown

While pork is "cooking" chop your onion, then add to the pot. 
Give everything a good stir, reduce heat if pork is getting too brown.
Peel and cube your acorn squash (I use a potato peeler) and add to the pot (along with any other raw veggies you are adding to this dish)

Give a good stir and smell the goodness! Once the onions are translucent and the acorn squash starts to look a little cooked, add in your garlic, salt, pepper, and curry paste (plus any leftover cooked veggies from your fridge you might be adding to this dish), stir to coat everything with the seasoning. 

Add the splash of broth, wine, or water to deglaze the pan. In the above photo, you can see an "ice cube" of homemade broth.  See all these yummy brown spots on the bottom of the pan in the photo below, you can't leave that  - that is all your flavor!!  I call those "bits" my secret weapon. 

Once the pan is deglazed add the coconut milk.

Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to medium/low and simmer for 10 minutes until acorn squash is tender and all the flavors have blended.

Taste and add salt/pepper as needed. I have found the spice level of the curry will mellow out with time. 

Serve in bowls with fresh cilantro and a dash of paprika.  YUMM 

What do you do with your leftovers? I would love to hear,

Yuppie Farm Girl


  1. Awesome! Love it! I feel the same way about using everything in the fridge. I am constantly looking at the leftovers and thinking of what I can do with them.

    1. Yes leftovers are a gift from God to give us busy mamas a break!


Thank you for your comments - if you do not have a Google ID or other type of ID from the drop down menu, choose the Name/URL option. Then just type your name (you can leave the URL area blank)

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.