Leftovers in our kitchen are recycled and reloaded regularly, so for this month’s Lasang Pinoy theme hosted by Mike of Lafang, we only had to stretch as far as the refrigerator for inspiration. I like to call these moments my Iron Chef events. I start pulling things from the refrigerator, lay them on the table and try to come up with a dish that will give leftovers a makeover.
One of the shortcuts I make with ground beef, especially with the large packs bought from Costco, is to pre-saute the pack (with onions, garlic & seasonings), divide it into portions and freeze some for later use. We had just used up some pre-sauteed ground beef to make some enchiladas, but had a handfull left. I put them aside to use for something else like a fritata, but when I saw this large bitter melon hanging on the vine, I thought I would try stuffing it with some ground beef instead. We also still had some tomatoes, the last from the garden, so I decided to cook the stuffed ampalaya in tomato sauce.
1 large ampalaya (bitter melon)
1/2 cup cooked ground beef
BLEND IN PROCESSOR:
1/2 cup green cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup ripe roma tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
5 basil leaves
Cut the bitter melon into 1.5 inch lengths and remove seeds. Lay ‘tubes’ in an oven safe dish and fill the centers with the cooked ground beef mixture. Pour the tomato mixture around and over the stuffed bitter melon. I had some leftover strips of sweet pepper from a pizza bake the night before, so I layed some of those on top of the stuffed bitter melon too. Place the dish in a oven pre-heated to 350 degrees F and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the bitter melon is tender.