Tag Archives: leftovers

The Leftovers.

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Hey is that show coming back? I really enjoyed The Leftovers on HBO. At first, I found it to be very Lost-esque; but by the end of the season, there was very little payoff! It sounds like it has been renewed for a second season. But now that we no longer have HBO nor DVR, it’ll be a lot longer until I check that one out.

Let’s talk about leftover food today.

When my husband was out of town a couple of weekends ago, I was determined to use up all of the leftovers in the house – a half cup of veg here, a half pound of meat there…

I assembled a nice hot meal, loosely based on this Power Bowl formula I often use to make lunches during the week. I also wanted to finally action a Green Sauce recipe I’ve been eying. So I did pick up a few ingredients.

And here were the results… Maybe not the prettiest, but it sure was tasty!

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Hot Plate with Green Sauce

{Makes 4 servings}

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp granulated garlic
  • 5 to 6 cups vegetables
  • 2 large handfuls spinach
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup Green Sauce {You can make ahead or while your vegetables are cooking!}

Method:

  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium to medium-high heat.
  • Add chopped onion. Cook until translucent.
  • Add 1.5 pounds of any combination of ground beef and turkey.
  • Add 1 to 2 Tbsp of granulated garlic or garlic powder.
  • Cook meat through until there is almost no pink, breaking up the pieces.
  • Add some salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Add vegetables little by little, stirring in those that cook longest first and those that don’t take very long to cook last. For example, I had some leftover asparagus and broccoli that I had frozen that went in first. I added my sliced mushrooms and chopped tomato last.
  • Add some more salt and pepper (or more garlic, if you wish!) to taste.
  • When vegetables are nearly cooked to desired texture, add spinach and stir in until wilted.
  • Serve immediately and drizzle with desired amount of Green Sauce.

You could even serve this over rice or pasta if desired.

I hate wasting food. It has taken me several years to realize that I don’t have to let my produce go rot in my fridge before throwing it out. Don’t waste your leftover vegetables! You can just put them all in one dish. Add a protein and a little sauce and you’ve got a tasty, healthy meal.

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How do you use odd amounts of leftover food to avoid waste?

Feel free to share your favorite recipes!

Cheers~
Carrie

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Meals: Past & Future

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I pinned  this recipe for a Slow Cooker Apple Cider Pulled Pork over a year ago. I finally made it last weekend. What made me finally take action? I had few extra Honeycrisp apples in need of some transformation. The Sunday night Packer game on TV last weekend meant we could eat in. Rob was game. Plus, my crockpot broke and I needed a reason to use my new one. This one has a timer and I found it for a steal at only $29.99 at Costco!

Here are some thoughts about the recipe:

  • It’s very easy.
  • That is a lot of cider to add to your Slow Cooker! My Crockpot manual says to fill it 1/2 – 3/4 full. After adding all that cider, mine was almost full. But the water I added didn’t cover the pork fully as the recipe suggests. (It still turned out just fine.)

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I served it with an super easy and delicious Blue Cheese Cole Slaw{Note to self: Only make 1/2 next time. This makes more than I can eat in a week before it gets soggy.}

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I also broke out my box of Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuit Mix that I bought specifically for Rob. He’d heard about these biscuits, but had never been to Red Lobster because he’s allergic to seafood.

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For the record, they weren’t all that great. Not nearly as good as I remember them from 15 years ago. They were too biscuit-y and did not as much flavor as I remember. There’s a copycat recipe to make your own here.

Here was my plate:

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See those sauces? The recipe suggested serving this with barbecue sauce. You may or may not know how I feel about barbecue sauce. Or the fact that I found one I liked while in Charlotte. I think it was mustard-based, so I picked one up at Trader Joe’s and put it right along our Pig Polish from Charlotte for a little taste test.

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I actually liked them both; while Rob preferred the Carolina Gold.  What can I say? I didn’t mind them at all. After a couple of days of leftovers though, I was done. Rob commented that the pork really didn’t have any flavor before putting the barbecue sauce on it.

I probably wouldn’t make this again. I’d rather drink my hard cider than use up four bottles in my slow cooker. I can make pulled pork other ways.

Last week, I also tried Running with Racheal’s husband Dan’s Spinach and Feta Turkey Burgers! Mmmm… Yes, I kept eating that coleslaw all week…

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Because I don’t usually like my burgers reheated, I kind of repurposed the leftovers throughout the week. For breakfast, I sliced a turkey burger in half and added it to my 90-second Breakfast Sandwich, slathering on a bit of leftover Jalapeno Cilantro Hummus from Ansari’s.

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For lunch, I made a Greek Turkey Burger Salad with spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, feta and chopped tomatoes. I could have also added kalamata olives and red onion. Here it is before adding my Tzatziki Sauce:

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I may just add the spinach and feta and Dan’s seasoning blend to ground turkey or beef without making patties and using it to top some Power Bowls soon!

Let’s move on to this week!

planning

Food

Dinners:

  • Monday – Since Rob and I are still on the eat-on-our-own kick, I’m finally going to try Biz’s award-winning Buffalo Chicken Chili! I’ll have leftovers all week for lunch!
  • Tuesday – Last week, I didn’t make the Roasted Butternut Squash, Onions and Red Potatoes that I had planned because I had so much leftover blue cheese coleslaw. Luckily, those are all vegetables that keep well so that I can make the dish this week to accompany my last two Chicken Thighs I need to cook up.
  • Wednesday – Leftover Chicken Thigh & Roasted Veg
    Thursday –  Breakfast for dinner – Eggs with Asparagus and Pesto, perhaps? I have eggs on hand, some asparagus I chopped up and froze to keep it from going bad and a jar of pesto in the fridge.
  • Friday – Poker Night. I wonder who will win the Koala this month?
  • Saturday – Rob’s Birthday – I think he’s finally chosen Borough, but that could still change!
  • Sunday – Packers v. Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. I’d love to go to this game because I’ve never been to this UofM Golden Gopher Stadium yet and this would be the perfect opportunity before the new Vikings Dome is built. But alas, more Vikings’ Season Ticket Holders would rather gouge Packer fans coming across the border than go to the game themselves. 😦

Lunch:

  • Leftover Buffalo Chicken Chili
  • Snacks – the usual fruit, nuts or string cheese and dark chocolate

Breakfasts:

Fitness

  • Basically what I’ve been doing is 5 days of run-walk intervals (more walking than running to apease my back) and this 30-day Arm Challenge. I’ve unintentionally added some additional rest days. But at least I’m doing it!

What does your menu look like this week?

Cheers~
Carrie

 

F&F – The Leftovers Edition

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This weekend we hosted my last ever Wine Tasting Open House. {Well, there’ll be more on that in the next month.} I can’t even begin to tell you how fun it was to have people over whom I haven’t seen in ever so long! I think I have to make a commitment to see these people at least once each year. {A checklist maybe? Or another type of entertaining event?}

But what we have in the house – that I wasn’t expecting – is a whole lot of leftovers. I was worried that we wouldn’t have enough food! So instead of grocery shopping this week, we are going to have to be creative with the following ingredients:

  • Shredded lettuce
  • Sliced black olives
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Sour Cream
  • Mushrooms
  • Cubed Cheese – Tuscano peppercorn, Havarti Dill, Iberico
  • Hummus
  • Garlic & Asiago Sourdough Crostini
  • Cream Puffs
  • Blue Cheese
  • Salami
  • Irish Cheddar
  • Gingersnaps

Other items we need to use up before expiration this week:

  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • Greek yogurt
  • almond milk
  • bacon

planning

So, it’s another strange week coming up, but here is what we have planned:

Dinners:

  • Monday – Roasted Pear
  • Tuesday – Ground Beef Stroganoff
  • Wednesday – Surprise! I’m thinking about another pasta dish, but don’t want Rob to know about it! So, I’m not posting it here.
  • Thursday – Fulton Brewery – Yes, we are finally making a Pilgrimage!
  • Friday – Rob’s birthday – We are going to a play and probably grab a quick bite to eat beforehand.
  • Saturday – Rob’s REAL birthday dinner. You’ll have to check back next week to find out what he chose!
  • Sunday – Packers vs. Vikings – Will Rogers be back?

Lunches:

  • Extraordinary Salad with leftover lettuce, cukes, tomatoes, carrots, olives, cheese cubes, bacon {yes! I added bacon!}, salami with a lite Caesar dressing
  • Leftovers from the week

Breakfasts:

  • Overnight oats
  • PB Toast

Fitness:

  • Last week’s fitness was non-existent and my body is feeling it. To get going again, let’s start simple and say walk at least one mile per day. There’s no excuse for not doing that.

How would you utilize the leftover ingredients above?

Cheers~
Carrie

Wineless Wednesday & Nha Sang

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Today is a Wineless Wednesday. Boo-hoo.

I haven’t had wine in a while. In fact it’s been a whole week since I’ve been outside of my house! It’s difficult to be patient when all you want to do is be able to do the things you could before – like put my socks on by myself! 😉

Tuesday Food Journal

Yesterday was interesting. I know that I shouldn’t be eating as many calories as I am when I’m not moving much. I think planning my next meal keeps me out of boredom, but is also a little too obsessive. Today is a new day! I’ve been walking around a lot and getting up is much easier than it has been.

Breakfast

Clementine

1 piece whole wheat toast with peanut butter and 10 choc chips – This is normally a nice little treat for me, but since I can’t just leave the house for work and forget about it, I let that PB and chocolate call my name all day long. A plus about working outside the home – not having time or the ability to grab “seconds” for breakfast.

Lunch

Leftover Santa Fe Chicken on brown rice with a half of a 100-calorie pack Wholly Guacamole, sprinkle of cheese and dollop of Greek Yogurt.

Mon-Toppings

Snacks

2 Tbsp Honey Peanut Butter with 1 Tbsp Chocolate Chips

1 cup pineapple chunks

Raspberry Swirl Dove Dark Chocolate

Dinner

My husband brought home takeout from Nha Sang. This is probably the fourth time we’ve ordered takeout from Nha Sang this year. We’ve loved everything we’ve ordered! I wouldn’t call it Chinese, because they have other Asian foods as well, but this place stands out as the best we’ve had. Get ye South of the River and try some!

Last night, Rob brought home the

  • Squash Dumpling (6)   $4.97

    Home made Dumpling. Filled with tossed Yellow Sweet Squash with green onions. Steamed first and stir fried with a garlic sauce. Love it!!

And love it, we did! There is so much flavor in these. We split them and each ate three. I wish I would have taken photos, but never take photos of takeout. Why? I have no idea!

For my meal, I ordered (not knowing Rob would order the other dumplings as appetizers):

  • Tibetan Traditions Momo (Dumpling)

    Tibetan dumpling, lean chopped beef, steamed momo served with House salad and spicy sauce.

While I’ve had Momo at another restaurant before, I was intrigued that this was listed in the Noodle Dish section. I was curious about the house salad and the fact that it was in a noodle/entree category. However, it came with the spicy sauce, but no salad. In my opinion, 8 dumplings with a side of sauce should be listed as an appetizer or a large side dish.

It’s okay, though. Five of these babies along with the squash dumplings filled me up. If you order these, try the dumplings by themselves before dipping them in the sauce. The meat mixture has incredible flavor. While the spicy sauce is excellent, it can mask the flavors of the momo themselves. I love the chewy texture of these dumplings.

*Don’t worry, next time we get Nha Sang take-out, I’ll take photos and we’ll review all the dishes we’ve had there. You can find healthy options as well. I’ve had spring rolls, soup and salad from this place with more flavor than you can imagine!

Dessert

I finished off the rest of my Greek Yogurt with a scoop of Ficoco stirred in. The inspiration for this came from *this* Snack Girl idea.

We found this stuff over the holidays and Rob adores it on top of ice cream!

Snacks

2 Tbsp Honey Peanut Butter with 1 Tbsp Chocolate ChipsYes, I did this for the second time in one day. And each time, my stomach didn’t feel so great about a half hour later. Note to self so that I don’t do it again!

South Beach Whipped Choc Almond Snack Bar

I’ve been craving baked goods. What’s up with this sugar thing lately? I’ve got plenty of fruit in the fridge! I’m testing myself today, so stay tuned tomorrow to find out how…

Do you have a favorite Asian dish you order every time?

Do you have a favorite Asian restaurant?

Is there an Asian dish you’d prefer to make at home?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, please share!

Cheers~
Carrie

My Weekend Pantry Challenge

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My husband went out of town this weekend. So, I decided to give myself a challenge:

Cook only from my pantry, fridge and freezer.

This meant no eating out nor buying of any groceries. The only exception to the rule:

I could buy any fresh produce.

I still wanted to limit buying produce as much as possible because I needed to use up what was already in my fridge and from my last two CSA boxes. However, a trip to the farmer’s market on Thursday afternoon overstocked me even more. It’s just too easy to get carried away when I’m there!

The purpose of the challenge was to use up items that seem to be wasting space in the fridge, freezer or pantry. In particular, I wanted to use up the ones that I don’t use very often because either:

  1. My husband is allergic to them.
  2. He’s just doesn’t like them.

My CSA box the week before came with several jalapenos:

jalapenos and serrano pepper

I hadn’t had a chance to use them, so they were starting to shrivel. This photo was actually taken over a week before using them, so you still get the fresh look. However, the serrano pepper was from the week prior to that and had not only shriveled, but turned from green to the bright red color you see above.

I made sure to get out my trusty Homesick Texan Cookbook to put these little babies to good use.

Note: Slightly shriveled jalapenos pack nearly as much heat as fresh ones! {Or so it seems to me.} I’m so glad that I didn’t toss them!

On Thursday night, I started with:

Tex-Mex Squash Casserole

from

The Homesick Texan Cookbook

The chopping of all of the squash, onions and jalapenos was the most time consuming. Even with the Knife Skills Class that I took at The Kitchen Window that completely changed my life {not kidding!}, it got a little old after a while. The cookbook recipe calls for everything to be diced. However, I just noticed that the online recipe I linked you to suggests just slicing the squash. I think that may have saved some time with no effect on the outcome.

After everything was cooked up and put in the casserole dish, I covered it in cheese:

Cheesy goodness!

When I pulled it out of the oven, I started to divide the dish into six servings, when I realized that you might want a photo of the finished product:

Golden brown cheesy goodness!

While I now notice that the online recipe calls for a can of Ro-tel tomatoes, Lisa’s cookbook recipe calls for “canned tomatoes, preferably fire roasted”. Oh, yeah, baby! We keep stashes of these on hand:

If you have never had these canned fire-roasted garlic tomatoes, you are missing out. When I open the can, I put my nose in. I can smell garlic. I get hungry.

Yes, when I open a can of tomatoes, my mouth waters.

They are that good. So naturally, those went in.

Flavor: Wow. This dish has the perfect amount of heat. I don’t know how she does it, but all of Lisa’s recipes that I’ve tried in her cookbook seem to hit that ideal spice level. Don’t get me wrong, I could go spicier. But I’m not necessarily sure that I want to do that now. There is something about finding that exact level of heat that gives a dish flavor, but not so much that you can’t taste the other ingredients. It’s magical when you you discover it.

Other notes: Despite the fact that this dish is composed of vegetables; it still was filling enough to be a main entrée. The tortilla chips didn’t give it a crust or a crunch; however, they served as a binding for the bottom, and that lovely corn flavor came through. The abundance of cheese adds a bit of protein. However, to add even more, I may cut back on the squash a little in the future and add a can of black beans instead.

I also made:

Mexican Corn

from

The Homesick Texan Cookbook

Despite the link to the recipe above, Lisa’s book recipe illustrates how to do this with or without corn on the cob. I used corn on the cob, but cut it off the cob first.

Flavor: There really wasn’t much flavor here, despite the overabundance of butter and mayo. It just made it high in calories and fat. Even the cilantro and lime didn’t give it that zest that that I’m used to. I think I’ll just keep my regular old buttered corn on the cob for now. Wait! I just realized, I forgot the cayenne. DOH!

Friday morning I made:

Green Monster Smoothie

from

Kim at Living, Laughing, & Losing

Kim loves to throw together her own smoothies. I made this one because I love the fact that it’s one of the few in the blogosphere that doesn’t have protein powder! {Seriously, I still don’t understand the stuff. If one is on a health kick, why eat processed protein?}

In any case, I didn’t take a picture because, hey, it was 6:30am on Friday. Do you really think my brain is functioning yet? Nope. I made a half-portion of her concoction and was sure to use this as suggested:

Another reason why I chose to make this smoothie is that she said that her boyfriend claimed it was the best smoothie she’s ever made.

He was right.

Uh, well, I don’t know Kim personally and hadn’t had any of her other smoothies prior to this. But this one made me “Mmm…” out loud. In fact, I loved it so much that I made another after yoga in the evening, but added blueberries as she did in a later post. Just as good, if not better! These may become a staple for a while.

Flavor: I think what makes this smoothie so great is the cinnamon! I would have never thought of adding that to a smoothie and I just may do it all the time. I’m sure the maple almond butter gave it a hit of sweetness, too.

Friday night’s dinner included:

Green Beans with Cilantro Pesto

from

The Homesick Texan Cookbook

Leftover Tex-Mex Squash Casserole with Cilantro Pesto Green Beans

Flavor: Just what you’d expect from a cilantro pesto! The serrano pepper gives is just a little kick. The recipe calls for pecans which I didn’t have on hand, so I threw in some toasted almonds instead. I saved some leftover pesto with which to:

  1. Coat more veggies or pasta.
  2. Top a burrito or even a crepe like Kat did.

Saturday’s eats:

I was cleaning like a mad woman, so mostly fruit and snacks were consumed during the day. One snack included:

Wholly Guacamole, jalapeno and tomato

I have about three more of those Wholly Guacamole packs left and they expire sometime this month. I thought I’d mix one with a bit of the leftover chopped jalapeno, some chopped tomato and garlic powder to make:

Jazzed Up Guacamole

I grabbed a handful of tortilla chips leftover from the bag I bought for the Tex-Mex Squash Casserole. This was a perfect-sized snack that carried me over during my complete overhaul of the office. In fact, I didn’t even think about starting to make dinner until 7:30pm.

I knew that I wanted to use up the Rob-unfriendly chicken that I put in the freezer a while back. Then I remembered this:

Kitchen Stash Supper

from

Iowa Girl Eats

I love this flexible recipe because it gives me a chance to do exactly what I needed to this weekend – use up items in my fridge, freezer and pantry.

Here’s what was in the mix of the version I made:

  • Half of an onion, diced – I never have shallots in the house, but always have onions.
  • Chopped Veggies – I used about three cups instead of two. I had so many options to choose from including red peppers and anaheim peppers from my CSA box, zucchini from the farmer’s market… But I ended up choosing the ones that I didn’t see myself using up later or that made the dish more varied in color:

onion, bok choy, canned fire-roasted garlic tomatoes, yellow squash

    • Bok choy from my CSA box
    • Garlic fire-roasted canned tomatoes – Half of a can was leftover from the Tex-Mex Squash Casserole. I drained the juices, though, so it wouldn’t make my dish runny.
    • Yellow squash from the farmer’s market
  • Chicken – I used the entire 15-oz package instead of the 12 ounces suggested in the recipe. I cooked it in this microsteamer instead of cooking it in olive oil.
  • Elbow Macaroni – I only had about 3.5 ounces left, but knew the extra chicken and veggies would make up for it.
  • Shredded cheddar cheese – I thought about using the last of the Chipotle Laughing Cow wedges I had or leftover Cojita cheese from my Homesick Texan recipes, but decided I wanted a different flavor from all the wonderful Tex-Mex ones I’d been having lately. I do not want to burn out on them!

The cooked chicken, sautéed veggies and sauce all mixed together looked like this:

Kitchen Stash Supper

Flavor: I wish it had more! Despite the fact that I used roasted garlic grapeseed oil to sauté the veggies and added a hefty spoonful of minced garlic, something was missing. Maybe I didn’t salt the dish enough? Maybe I should have used a more flavorful cheese? {Maybe I was just comparing to those wonderful Tex-Mex flavors I’ve been experiencing lately.} I didn’t add any fresh basil or parsley as suggested either. But the chicken was juicy and I loved the different textures of all the vegetables. And the sauce was creamy, too!

Notes: You know what I love most about this recipe? It’s another step to learning how to be flexible and creative in my cooking, to improvise. I’m really trying to learn to use recipes as guides and become more instinctive when I cook. If I would have tasted this before plating {Food Network 101, right?}, I would have thought to salt the dish a bit more or add another spice. I can’t wait to try it out next time!

But before I made that Saturday night Kitchen Stash Supper, I put together a Sunday salad that needed 24 hours to marinate:

Corn and Cucumber Salad with Fresh Blueberries

from

A Veggie Venture

The blueberries that I had picked up earlier in the week as a BOGO special are some of the best I’ve ever tasted. I found myself munching on them while putting this salad together. Mmm. Antioxidants!

When Sunday came around, I gave in and made this to accompany my salad:

Corn & Cucumber Salad with Blueberries and Hard-boiled Egg and Tomato Sandwich

Yes, that is Benny in the background eyeing my creation, hoping to get a bite!

I first saw the Egg, Tomato and Scallion Sandwich at Gina’s Skinny Recipes (aka Skinnytaste.com). Why didn’t I think of that? I thought. I had those ingredients on hand already. I felt directed to act. But I didn’t…

Until… Racheal at Running with Racheal posted pictures of the ones she made on her blog four different times in four days! Okay, so it was time. {Even if I was now out of scallions.} And I now realize why marketers say that you have to see or hear a message a bunch of times – even if we are interested in a product – before we take any purchasing action.

Verdict?

Let’s start with the Corn & Cucumber Salad with Blueberries.

Flavor:  My first bites… Mmm… good, fresh flavors. However, after a few more, I realized that I couldn’t really taste the blueberries. It could have been a corn and cucumber salad for that matter. And because I thought those blueberries were the absolute best I ever tasted, I decided to take some fresh ones and sprinkle them on top. Nope, the salad flavors still overpowered them.

Notes: I was curious to see how corn and blueberries would pair together, but I’m not sure that I could tell here. You could make this with just corn and cucumbers and still have  refreshing salad! However, the blueberries give a nice color contrast.

As for the Hard-boiled Egg & Tomato Sandwich:

Flavor: What the heck have I been waiting for!? No wonder Racheal had been making these four days in a row! I’m entirely positive that it’s not just because she is pregnant. 😉 When I saw this sandwich on Skinny Taste, I knew that eggs and tomatoes are flavors I loved. I knew that this would be simple to put together. So, I don’t know what took me so long. Thanks, Racheal for unintentionally kicking my butt into action!

~

So, did I make a dent in my pantry, freezer and fridge? All that cooking made me feel like I did… but I still have the following perishables to use up with only one day to cook this work-week and another CSA box to arrive on Wednesday:

  • Tomatoes (3)
  • Red Bell Peppers (2)
  • Cucumbers (3)
  • Bok Choy
  • Hard-boiled Egg (1) – uh, it’s obvious what I’ll be doing with that!
  • Anaheim peppers (2)
  • Cilantro (about 1 cup)
  • Zucchini
  • Wholly Guacamole (two 100 cal packs)
  • Diced jalapeno
  • Cilantro pesto
  • Head of cabbage

I have lunches of leftover Tex-Mex Squash Casserole and Kitchen Stash Supper set to take with me to work all week. Red peppers and cucumbers were cut up as a snack for dipping in hummus. I can make another Hard-boiled Egg & Tomato Sandwich as well as another helping or two of Jazzed up Guac. But the rest? When will I use it all?

Sure, it may sound like all I did was cook and eat this weekend, but it didn’t really take up much time. I also cleaned, dog-sat, did a couple of 4-mile runs, attended three yoga sessions and participated in the Homegrown Experience… But that’s for another post.

Do you have a favorite go-to dish when you need to clear out the fridge, freezer and pantry? If so, please share!

Cheers~
Carrie