Leftovers: shrimp tacos and fake chile relleno

I’m terrible at using leftovers, and after a few days, I shudder at the idea of eating “rotten” food. I know my food keeps longer than I’m willing to eat it, but the idea of ever possibly ingesting rotten food keeps me from even trying to eat leftovers after 2-3 days. The $10/lb grassfed beef and $13/lb Brazilian shrimp I stuffed my tomatoes with yesterday surely wasn’t going to waste. Aiming to spend less on food this year isn’t so much about reducing the quality of my food, but to increase the quality of real food while ensuring that I eat more of it, and don’t toss half my groceries every week.

Yesterday, before I headed into work, I power-lunched with these tacos. Easy peasy: I sliced up some cherry tomatoes, threw in a bunch of cilantro, added the shrimp, and spread a bit of sour cream on the corn shell I’d heated in the microwave. No need to cook. On the side: cottage cheese. I sure do need protein and fat before I work hard all night long.

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Today, I checked the fridge and saw the second of the two poblanos I’d purchased for my stuffed tomatoes yesterday. I hadn’t used the pepper, and it was nearly perfect and in great condition — a miracle for a small Midwestern city chain grocery store. I’d intended to blacken it and blend it up to make a green chile sauce for eggs or tacos or enchiladas, but that sounded like too much work tonight.

I blackened the pepper on the gas burner of the stove, steamed it in a plastic bag for 7 minutes, and then scraped off the skin. Oven preheated to 375F, I slit the pepper down the middle on one side, removed the seeds, and stuffed it full of that yummy taco meat that had been soaking up the flavor for a day. I stuffed the rest with shredded cheese on top, and threw it in the oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, I broiled it to brown the cheese for 3-5 minutes or so.

It’s not one of those “real” chile rellenos, fried to perfection and filled with even more and creamier cheeses, but it was pretty damn tasty and took far less time and money. On the side: avocado mashed with cilantro and lime (I ate the rest of the simple guacamole with chips while the poblano cooked), smashed up black beans, sour cream, sliced cherry tomatoes, and brown rice.

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