Friday, April 26, 2013

Leftovers to Lunch - Taco Night!

scoops corn chips dip vegetarian school work bento easy simple quick ideas
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Since I hate handling raw meat, I've gone mostly vegetarian in my cooking, so I had several meatless products I had bought to try, including tempeh and meatless crumbles. I decided to give them a whirl one night when Unka Seesee was coming over to visit.
Since the tempeh had wheat in it, and we had just gone gluten-free, I cooked up the meatless crumbles in a frying pan for the girls and myself, with only the lightest dash of taco seasoning. And to use up the tempeh, I cooked it with a bunch of the taco seasoning for Hubby and Unka Seesee. I chopped up and put out various bowls of different taco fixins, as well as gluten-free corn taco shells and gluten-free soft rice tortillas.
Hubby and Unka Seesee polished off all the tempeh, and both avowed carnivores were surprised that they enjoyed it! But there were plenty of crumbles left. So into the lunches it went!

Little Z's Leftover Taco Scoopers
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Organic strawberries and sugar snap peas, corn chip scoops, leftover cheese shreds;
leftover meatless crumbles with rice, quinoa, and olives
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Z hadn't really enjoyed her soft taco tortilla, so instead of packing another DIY soft taco for her, I mixed up some meatless crumbles with a brown rice and quinoa mix I cook up once a week to keep on hand. To sweeten the pot, so to speak, I chopped up some olives and mixed them in too. She loves olives.

Instead of a tortilla or taco shell, I packed some gluten-free corn chip scoops from Trader Joe's for her to fill with the crumble mix and cheese shreds. Yum!

(I packed a small spoon in there too, but it wasn't very attractive in the photos!)

Mama's Leftover Taco Salad
scoops chips dip lunch bento easylunchboxes vegetarian work school easy simple quick
TJ's Coconut chips, corn chip scoops; lettuce and cabbage mix with
leftover cheese shreds, refried beans, tomatoes, and meatless crumbles; hemp hearts
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There were no leftover lettuce shreds, so I used some of my weekly-prepped salad base of pre-chopped lettuce and cabbage. In fact, I had to dip into that for the last few tacos for Unka Seesee the night before too!
I just plopped on a large spoonful of refried beans, a bunch of crumbles, the last of the chopped tomatoes, and some cheese shreds. And added some hemp hearts as an afterthought. They have a nice flavor and texture, and certainly wouldn't detract from the overall idea.

While I had packed myself a fork, I also included some corn chips. I scooped salad mixture onto them and ate them until they ran out. They were really good!

Baby's Random Leftover Jumble
Organic cherry tomatoes, cheese shreds, organic apples,
leftover potatoes, leftover meatless crumbles with rice and quinoa
I tossed this together as an afterthought for Baby E, and didn't bother making it attractive or separating out the different foods. She had loved my roasted seasoned potatoes (roasted potato chunks with Lowry's Seasoning Salt. Easy peasy!) so I gave her the last of those too. I heated up the potatoes and crumbles mixture before adding the rest, so she had a warm lunch.

***So for those of you who are gluten-free vegetarian experts, you will see my egregious mistake... Turns out regular meatless crumbles aren't wheat-free. I could have SWORN I'd checked the label first. Z hadn't liked her crumble mix, so I stopped giving any to her, but Baby and I ate it little by little throughout the week. For a while I doubted the effectiveness of our gluten-free diet. Maybe it wasn't the gluten. Since I KNEW we weren't getting exposed, but both Baby and I were experiencing our previous digestive issues. Ha ha. No. I just chalked it up as a mystery (maybe cross-contamination somewhere? She and I share a lot of foods both at restaurants and at home...)
It wasn't until weeks later when I went to re-stock it that I checked the label on a whim. Doh!

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  1. Yum!! I could eat this every day! I'm not sure which I like better, but they both look beautiful and delicious! Thank you for linking to 15 Minute Fridays.

  2. Love how you packed the leftovers. Makes me hungry looking at this!


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