Posts tagged ‘leftovers’
The only thing better than cooking a great dinner is having leftovers for the next day or week. I frequently suffer from food boredom, though, so have become quite creative in repurposing some of my recipes into new grab-and-go lunch creations. I highlighted some of my leftover makeovers last summer, and figured I’d keep up with this mini-series again this summer! Hopefully there will be more to come!
This repurposing is simple: it is basically the previous night’s dinner all re-bundled grab-and-go style. All I did was take a few spoonfuls of the leftover curried quinoa with greens, a spoonful of caramelized sweet potatoes, some chopped cucumber, and a stripe of Greek yogurt and mango butter. I rolled this all up inside of a wrap and then rolled that in foil. This lunch was surprisingly filling, thanks to the protein from the quinoa and the Greek yogurt, and helped me conquer a busy Saturday afternoon on the wards!
You know you are a med student when:
A. you ask for highlighters and notecards for Christmas
B. you get excited about going to an outside-of-school lecture on the link between diabetes and obesity
C. you view a day off as an extra reading day for your upcoming exam
D. all of the above.
Guilty as charged. Even nerds have to eat, though! Here is a glimpse into my MLK Day!
I started Jillian Michael’s “No More Trouble Zones” – but I couldn’t finish! I need lighter weights, stronger arms, or a longer attention span… or maybe this is another all of the above question ;)
My aunt had me over for dinner on Saturday, and graciously found a vegan friendly recipe for me! It was absolutely incredible the first time, so I was happy to take home some leftovers! The recipe is from her Sicilian hair dresser, and contains cauliflower, raisins, pine nuts, bread crumbs and saffron. I would love to try to recreate it for myself sometime! I had some mixed salad greens and spinach with almonds, cranberries and balsamic viniagrette on the side.
My afternoon was spent doing work with a friend at Panera. Unfortunately, not the most vegan friendly if you have a craving for something sweet, but I was satisfied with a handful of peanuts and raisins, an orange, and a bottomless mug of hot tea!
Dan was complaining about how his veggie and rice dinners are getting boring, and so I recommended this peanut sauce to him. I used to make it a lot in college, and would always share the recipe with guy friends who were new to cooking. It is easy and the ingredients are something most people always have on hand. I spiced up the basic sauce recipe a bit, and was amazed by the results. I may or may not have used a spatula to scrape up every last drop… give me peanut butter and veggies in one meal and I am a happy girl. You can be happy, too, since the recipe is below!
I needed to make cookies to bring to a friend’s house on Tuesday, which needed to be vegan friendly and use only what I had on hand. Enter these Skinny Fig Bars from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen. Of course taste testing was in order! I was shocked by how well these turned out. They have almost no added sugar, and are reminiscent of Fig Newtons, but have an even better texture. I used some fresh squeezed orange juice instead of lemon juice and anise extract, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly!
Question: Did you have off for MLK day?
Thai Peanut-Ginger Stir Fry
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp + 1 tsp lime juice
2 tbsp water
1/2 tsp ground giner
1/2 tsp crushed red chili flakes
1/2 tsp garlic powder
for stir fry:
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 large onion
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 red and 1 orange bell pepper, sliced
2 large handfuls snap peas, cut in half
1 cup brown rice, cooked according to instructions
1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
Mix together all of the ingredients for the peanut sauce in a small bowl. Set aside. Over medium heat, sautee onions in olive oil until translucent. Add mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the snap peas and bell peppers and sautee for 3-4 more minutes. Stir in the peanut sauce until vegetables are well coated. Serve over cooked brown rice and top each bowl with 1 tbsp chopped peanuts.
An exciting development occurred in my kitchen over the weekend: we have a new fridge! Well, a new-to-us fridge, but it has still made me so very happy! We have a door with shelves that stays shut overnight, no duct tape in sight, and no gross mold or rust. The little things in life that make you so happy… A quick shout out to my adopted family for their generous gift! My cousin read my brief complaint in a previous blog post, who told my aunt, who called to offer me the extra fridge they had in their basement! After a lot of coordinating and a few friends with a truck and brute strength, we got the fridge transferred! We learned a little bit about ourselves during the food transfer process: we seem to have a selective memory loss for mustard acquisition, since we somehow ended up with 6 bottles of yellow mustard (both of us are vegetarians and neither of us use yellow mustard, so figure that one out…) I also discovered my frozen food horde. My tendency to freeze leftovers for “too busy to cook” nights has caught up with me! I could feed a small army with the number of meals I have frozen away. Okay, maybe not an army, but definitely myself for a few weeks! To cut down the stash, I am eating whatever vegan meals I have frozen away! This is a glimpse of things I have eaten from my freezer this week, not all necessarily on a certain day. Hopefully my horde will be gone soon so I can freeze away new recipes! ;) All pictures are originals from the recipe posts, since frozen leftovers don’t make for the most photogenic of food days.
I have at least 4 frozen bananas, and a bunch of frozen blueberries, so I decided to make smoothies the last few mornings! I based my smooth off of Angela’s classic green monster, the only change being a handful of blueberries and a bit of agave. Warning: the blueberries make the smoothie a weird black color, but it tastes even better! Though I am normally not a smoothie person because I like to chew my breakfast, this is very filling, and is a good way to get some extra green stuff in your day with the hidden spinach.
I made these Curried Potatoes and Peas a while back, and broke out the frozen leftovers for lunch! Enjoyed with a piece of flatbread, this made for an excellent lunch during a busy day at school! Plus, it made for a very easy morning, since I just had to grab the container from my freezer and go!
I made Thai Carrot Soup during our cold snap in October, and froze more than half of the recipe away. There are at least 4 containers in my freezer, so I needed to make a dent in it! Good thing it is thickened with coconut milk, so it is friendly to my vegan challenge this month!
Question: Are you a food hoarder? What one item do you always have in your fridge/freezer/pantry?
There is nothing more fun than re-purposing leftovers. Sure, the meal or dish was probably great the first time around. And the second. But something is lost by the third, fourth, or even fifth time around… I have said before, but cooking and eating for one can often lead to food ruts and leftover boredom. Not one to waste food, I have become quite inventive with repurposing my leftovers! My latest creation: Cranberry French Toast. French toast is best when made with slightly crusty, day old bread, so I took the opportunity and used up some baguette leftover from dinner with friends over the weekend. With the addition of some Thanksgiving cranberry sauce, both in the French toast mixture and added on top to serve, and suddenly I had myself a tasty breakfast! Use up the rest of your holiday cranberries and make this festive French toast, adapting it to whatever bread you happen to have on hand.
Cranberry French Toast
1/2 french baguette, in 6-7 1 to 1 1/2 – inch slices
1/8 cup milk of your choice
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cranberry sauce
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Cranberry sauce, honey, and cinnamon to serve
Whisk together the egg, milk, vanilla, cranberry sauce, and cinnamon. Dip the bread in the mixture and allow to soak for 2 minutes on each side, or until the egg mixture is well absorbed. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side of the bread, until lightly crisped. Top each slice with a spoonful of cranberry sauce, a drizzle of honey, and a dash of cinnamon.
Thanksgiving may be old news, but I am still enjoying the leftovers from our meal on Friday! (Yes, we postponed Thanksgiving…) I tried to help my parents out by not leaving them with too much, so I took a few (read: 10) Tupperwares of goodies back with me on Monday. Good thing I did because I have been running with school pretty much ever since! Here is a glimpse into my day! Be sure to head back over to Peas and Crayons to check out Jenn’s fun food and find a new blog friend or two!
I am more than halfway through my oatmeal project! Everything can be added to oatmeal, I swear! This bowl was simple: flax seed, cinnamon, homemade cranberry sauce and almond butter. Just the right amount of sweetness for the morning.
Inspired by Mama Pea’s latest post about Shepherd’s Pie, I made my own leftovers version. I spooned some mashed potatoes into a ramekin, layered in some green beans, and topped it off with cornbread stuffing. After I microwaved it, I flipped it all back onto a plate and enjoyed a layered Thanksgiving lunch!
Afternoon Snack: 4:30
I had my second consecutive day of being in the hospital today, but I am starting to get the hang of it! I finally remembered all of my diagnostic equipment (thanks to my new bag!) and was able to tote along sufficient mid-afternoon fuel. I had a handful of almonds and dried cranberries, transported neatly in a repurposed cinnamon jar, and a pear from home, and enjoyed a few chocolate covered almonds and peanut M&Ms from my classmates.
I was about to chew my arm off after yoga, and the walk home from the bus has never felt so long. Good thing dinner was simple! A mixed green salad topped with roasted root veggies leftover from Thanksgiving, a few walnuts, Balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Enjoyed with a leftover roll covered in TJ’s artichoke tapenade, and followed by another roll for sopping up the rest of the dressing! And water, lotsa water. Nothing makes your crave water like a good hot yoga class!
Study Snack: 9:30pm
My roommate had a lot of work to do as well, so she made us a quick batch of lightly salted, air-popped popcorn to keep us productive! I love popcorn, and love being caught up on work even more!
Question: Are you still enjoying Thanksgiving leftovers?
There is currently a battle of will going on at my house. Jen and Marie vs. the cold, cold apartment. The apartment is winning, but we refuse to give up… yet. We could turn the heat on, but it just seems so soon for that! Boston obviously missed that memo – we saw our first few snow flakes this evening! Instead of admitting defeat, we are covering our windows with the insulating plastic wrap, wrapping ourselves in blankets, drinking copious amounts of tea, and finding every excuse to stand near the stove or oven for long periods of time…
This Thai Carrot Soup is that excuse. Serve it with some homemade bread or dinner rolls, and you have two of your bases covered! I planned on making this recipe from Frugal Feeding to use up some of the huge carrots I got in my Boston Organics box. I quickly realized that I didn’t have all of the ingredients, and wasn’t willing to step into the freezing rain (and for anyone unfamiliar with New England, this doesn’t mean cold rain, it literally means frozen rain drops) to go to the store. I improvised a bit, but the soup was still tasty! Some changes I made: I substituted lemon juice for the lemon grass, chili flakes for the red chilis, and left out the cilantro. I added some toasted coconut to the top, which ended up balancing out the kick to the soup in the absence of the cilantro. Spicy and warming – the perfect cure for a cold apartment.
Even better – soup makes a perfect “frozen dinner,” essential for busy nights when you are starving and don’t have time to pull together a proper meal! Having frozen leftovers on hand has helped me avoid the typical student pizza deliveries or sad pasta dinners that plague many of my busy friends. Soups and chilis tend to freeze well, but rice has not given me as much luck.
Question: What are you cooking to stay warm as the weather begins to chill? What leftovers have you successfully, or unsuccessfully, turned into frozen meals?
Time for another What I Ate Wednesday! Finding a healthy balance keeps getting harder as school keeps picking up. We have three exams before Thanksgiving (one is tomorrow!) and I have several other deadlines approaching for clinical shadowing, student groups, and volunteer commitments. Just taking one day at a time though, and trying to eat well for energy for my long days! Monday was not a good energy day. I was hungry almost all day despite eating normal meals, found myself reaching for coffee more often than usual, and was sluggish for much of the day. After putting together this post and comparing the two days, I realized why! Protein! Monday’s meals were significantly lacking in protein, and therefore I got hungry pretty quickly between meals. I sure made up for that on Tuesday!
My friend sent me a Facebook message describing a delicious breakfast porridge made with leftover quinoa. She simply let it soak in milk, added sliced apples and cinnamon, and enjoyed a wonderful fall breakfast. I chose to add pumpkin to mine instead, and the results were fantastic! I used 1/2 cup quinoa leftover from cooking, soaked in 1/4 cup coconut milk and 1/4 cup pumpkin with a dash of cinnamon overnight (or 2 nights in my case). In the morning, I re-heated it and served it with cinnamon and raisins for a great, filling breakfast. This kept me full through a long exam review session and a morning meeting or two!
Lunch and snacks: 12pm
I snacked on the clementine during my first meeting, and then finally got a real lunch break. I enjoyed leftover cranberry quinoa, with this portion being pretty heavy on the delicata squash! Didn’t plan too well to have quinoa two meals in a row, but again I was full and happy from this lunch! I enjoyed the apple for dessert, and saved my clementine for a mid-afternoon pick me up between scheduled clinical classes.
Panera is often my study spot of choice because of their free WiFi and bottomless cups of coffee. (Lesser known fact: I worked at Panera through my senior year and for the summer before medical school, and will always have a special spot in my heart for this place!) I have bought enough cups of coffee this year to get a free bowl of soup with my rewards card, so dinner was on Panera tonight! I love the black bean soup and enjoyed it with a piece of baguette for dipping. Told you my day was protein packed!
I must admit that I wasn’t hungry for dessert, but was craving something when I finally made it home from my long day. I made this in a similar way to my sugar-free apple crisp. I used up some leftover canned peaches sprinkled with cinnamon for the base, and then mixed some oats, flour, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, and walnuts with the sweet peach juice. I let it all bake and enjoyed a single serve peach crisp in just a half hour! Followed by a handful or three of honey roasted peanuts and a lot more studying, I think I sure made up for my previous day’s protein deficit!
Question: What was the “theme” of your meals today?
My creativity is back! All I needed was a new vegetable to play with and inspire my recipe day-dreaming! I find cooking to be so therapeutic, and love slow-cooked fall meals. This risotto fits the bill for an exam week dish perfectly: the beets roast slowly in the oven, filling the house with warmth and a slightly sweet aroma. The barley is hearty, and is healthier and less finicky than risotto’s traditional arborio rice. To sing the praises of this dish even further, it is both healthy (vegan, low-fat, good protein, whole grain) and economical (you use both the beets and the greens)! And unlike traditional risotto, it is just as good the next day, making it perfect to make on a slow Sunday and eat for lunch throughout the busy week!
Tripe B Beet Risotto
serves 4-6, inspired by my first Barley Risotto
3 golden beats, with tops
1/4 large sweet onion, chopped
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup pumpkin ale (my favorite is Shipyard Pumpkinhead)
1 1/2 cups barley
3 cups veggie stock
1 can cannelini beans, rinsed
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp salt
Cut the beet greens from the beets and set aside.Wash the beets well and peel with a vegetable peeler. Slice the top and bottom tips off. Wrap in tin foil and roast at 300 for about an hour, or until the beet is soft. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, chop into bite sized pieces. Meanwhile, wash the greens well and chop. Place in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Allow to sit (this step removes the bitterness from the greens). Rinse well with cold water before using.
In a small pot, heat the vegetable broth over low heat. Dice the onion and saute in olive oil in a separate medium pot. When onions are soft, add the barley. Add the pumpkin beer and stir until the liquid is absorbed. Add the broth slowly, about a half cup at a time. Allow liquid to absorb slowly and completely, stirring occasionally, before adding more broth. As you add the last portion of the liquid, stir in the beet greens. Season with ginger and a pinch of salt. When the liquid is fully absorbed, stir in the beans and beets. Cover and reduce the heat to low, allowing to cook for about 10 more minutes, or until barley is no longer chewy. Serve hot and enjoy with the rest of the beer you opened!
I had a lot of fun participating in Peas and Crayons‘ What I Ate Wednesday last week, from taking pictures of my daily eats to getting inspiration for simple meal ideas from other bloggers. I am excited for my second WIAW, and hope to do this more in the future. Yesterday’s meals were pretty simple, pulled together from leftovers. I hate wasting food and will always use up leftovers (or freeze them) before cooking a new meal, even if I am getting bored. Freezing leftovers has been a huge help in the past, since I will often freeze individual containers and then have my own, homemade TV dinners when life gets hectic. Another way I have found to avoid leftover boredom is to reinvent them. Keep reading for some of my leftover makeovers!
Pre-breakfast snack: 7am
I set my alarm for 6:45am, with no intentions of leaving my warm cozy bed for class. Instead, I brewed a pot of my pumpkin spiced coffee, grabbed a handful of peanuts in the process, and crawled back under the covers with my mug and clinical textbook to learn about the cardiac exam.
After making it halfway through my reading, I decided to face the day and my cold apartment. I finally made myself some Pumpkin Oatmeal! I saw it on so many WIAW’s last week, and pumpkin recipes keep appearing everywhere, so I knew I had to have some. I followed this recipe at Oh She Glows for the oatmeal, but skipped the suggested toppings, choosing a few toasted almonds and some fresh ground cinnamon instead. So yummy! A hearty breakfast that sneaks good-for-you veggies without you even realizing… (Yes, pumpkin is a vegetable and it is rich in fiber and Vitamin A!)
Lucky I had leftover Subway sandwiches on hand for what turned out to be a hectic afternoon. The break in the rain I needed to bike to campus never came, and so I was resigned to taking the bus. Unfortunately, the bus takes at least 3 times as long, and so I had to inhale my lunch as I was getting ready and flying out the door. I gave the Veggie Sub a little more staying power with a slice of melted cheese on one side, some hummus on the other, and a few extra pickles in the middle. Perfection. Good thing my new travel mug kept my peppermint tea piping hot until I got to school! Peppermint tea works way better than gum as a breath freshener (no one wants their (future) doctor to have Subway breath!)
A long day of learning about heart sounds and the complete cardiac exam left me quite hungry by 4:30pm. I didn’t want to eat too much, since my yoga class was in an hour and it is not advised to go to hot yoga after eating a meal. I ate the pear I had picked out for lunch and didn’t have time to eat, and drank a whole lotta water in preparation for yoga. Good thing! This was the hardest yoga class I have ever taken! Granted, I have only been to 3… but it was a challenge, and I loved it! My arms feel strong, my legs feel stretched from the previous day’s 10.5 mile run, and I sweated more than I knew possible! (TMI? Sorry!)
The only One problem with not being able to bike to class is not being able to bike home! I was probably a treat to sit next to on the bus – sweaty, tired, and hungry (read: cranky). I heated up some leftover winter melon soup (almost through that gigantic pot!) but was sick of having eggs with it. Instead, I sauteed a few mushrooms in chili oil and added them to the soup with some soy sauce for a different spin. It was a nice change since I have eaten a lot of this soup lately, and it was good to have so much liquid after hot yoga.
Still pretty hungry after my big bowl of soup, I sought a sugar-free dessert. This is a trick from my roommate for “baked” cinnamon apples! Just cut up an apple, sprinkle it with cinnamon, and microwave it for 2 minutes. The apples give off a bit of juice that makes a quasi-sauce, and the natural sweetness and spice of the cinnamon really shines through. Not eating added sugar really opens up your taste buds!
Still hungry, I munched on some peanuts and raisins after my apple. I was really craving something salty, and needed a bit more protein in my day.
I settled down to finish studying for the evening, and was still hungry and thirsty from yoga! I made some decaf green tea with a few slices of fresh ginger (my new favorite night time drink!) and had a slice of toast with Smart Balance. I may or may not have sprinkled a tiny bit of salt on my toast… finally hit the spot!
Question: Have you ever done hot yoga? Do you experience weird salt cravings afterwords, or does it take your body a while to recover from the fluid loss?
This all began 2 1/2 weeks ago with a roommate outing to the local Asian grocery store. We were there to look for bamboo for a housewarming gift, and picked up a few fruits and veggies and some green tea since they were so cheap. As we were perusing the produce section, a tiny lady with a cart of the most gigantic melons we had ever seen rolled past us. Marie was immediately intriguied, “Oooh, I wonder what those are!” She followed the mystery melon and read the sign posted “Winter Melon, $0.12/lb”. We continued our bamboo hunt and made it all the way to the cashiers, but Marie couldn’t get the winter melon out of her mind. A steal at $0.12 a pound, she figured we would have fruit for a week even if we bought the smallest of them. Not to stand in the way of an adventurous spirit, I agreed to buying one. Smallest one? I could hardly carry this thing out to the car! It must have weighed at least 15 pounds!
We returned home and Marie, still beaming with adventure and excitement, immediately hopped on Google. To her dismay, she found out that the winter melon is the blandest of all melons and is most commonly used in traditional Chinese cooking to make soup. Soup that is flavored with chicken and ham hock and all sorts of other mystery ingredients to give the melon a bit of flavor. Too bad we are both vegetarian…
The melon then sat in our kitchen for 2 weeks. We finally decided to tackle it during our innagural roommate dinner. We would make soup, and we would find flavor in non-meat sources! Marie found a recipe for vegetarian noodle soup online and printed it out. (We heavily adapted it, and I don’t know the original source… Marie, maybe you could comment and fill us in!) Our adventurous spirit was again re-kindled.
We took a knife and split the melon, finding that the inside looked suspiciously like a gigantic cantaloupe. We scooped out the seeds and cut it into wedges. We cut the rind off each wedge, and then sliced them into smaller strips. Needless to say, that took a long time. Long enough to give us both hand cramps from clutching the knife. Long enough to once again dampen the flicker of adventure. We looked at the growing pile of winter melon slices and wondered aloud if the final product would be worth the work.
While Marie sliced the last of the melon, I cooked a few packs of rice sticks that I picked up at the Vietnamese grocery store near our house. I also got to work on the soup base – scallions and garlic with some green chiles for heat, sauteed in chili oil for even more heat. We used the water that the noodles cooked in and 2 cups of vegetable stock, and then added in our winter melon. We quickly realized that there was no where near enough liquid if we truly wanted a soup! We added water 2 cups at a time until we could at least see the water level, even though the melon was no where near covered after 10 cups! We salted the soup, covered the pot and then waited for it to boil…
Checked a few times…
Still not boiling…
After a good 20 minutes or so, it finally began to boil. We let it boil for a few minutes until the melon started to become translucent, and used this time to poach a few eggs to go on top.
We each filled a bowl with rice noodles, topped it with a generous serving of soup, added our poached egg and headed to the table with trepidation. After all that work, we hoped it would be good! First bite… mediocre.
We added some cilantro, some salt, some red chili flakes… and then magic happened. With a little extra seasoning, the soup took on a new life. The cilantro added a nice freshness, and the melon hung onto the spiciness of the broth to give a bit of kick. The best decision of the whole meal was to serve a poached egg on top! We both enjoyed the rest of our bowl, and I even went back for a bit more winter melon.
It better have been good because we made a lot! We could now feed an army with soup…
We filled all of those Tupperware with leftover soup. Guess we both have lunch for the week!
This meal was definitely an undertaking. The recipe for the soup is posted below, but it is not for the faint of heart! The winter melon took us a half hour to prepare, and the soup took another half hour to cook. But we had two sets of hands, and many hands make light work! If you are bold enough, or just plain crazy, to explore your Asian market and set out on a winter melon adventure, then give this soup a try! It is healthy, a fun experiment, and really cheap. (Marie and I estimated the total cost to be $7, and we have at least 14 servings!) It is worth the hard prep work if you are up for an adventure!
Spicy Vegetarian Winter Melon Soup
makes 14 servings
Large winter melon, seeded and cut into strips
2 cups of snap peas
Bunch of scallions, whites minced and green stems roughly chopped (keep separate)
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeno peppers, minced
2 tbsp chile oil
2 cups vegetable broth
10 cups water plus more for noodles
2 packs rice noodle sticks (or noodle of your choice)
salt to taste
freshly chopped cilantro
red chili flakes to taste
poached egg per serving
Seed and slice the winter melon. Rinse well in cold water. In the meantime, prepare noodles according to package instructions. Save the water that the noodles cooked in. In a large pot over medium heat, sautee scallion whites, garlic and chiles until aromatic. Add the noodle water (but keep the noodles separate), vegetable broth, and winter melon. Cover with 10 cups of water and add a generous pinch of salt. Add snap peas and carrot slices. Cover and allow to come to a boil. Once boiling, add the scallion greens and a pinch more salt. Stir well. Allow to boil for 5 minutes or until the winter melon is translucent. Place noodles in the bottom of a dish, and top with winter melon, veggies and broth. Serve with chopped cilantro, red chili flakes, and a poached egg. Soy sauce and other sauces may be good for added flavor as well.