After the holidays, come the leftovers! No matter how much we give away to friends and family, we always tend to be left with more food than we know what to do with. Since our family meal just this Saturday, I had turkey sandwiches on Sunday, warmed up risotto, turkey and Brussels sprouts on Monday; another turkey sandwich on Tuesday for lunch, but by then I had to come up with something creative. Following with the theme of leftovers, here is the breakdown of my week of meals:
Tuesday Dinner: Mexican Soup
A few years ago I came up with what I call a “Mexican” soup. I put a few ingredients together but hadn’t really thought it through. Turned out to be souperbe! I tried to recreate it a few times but just couldn’t get the same flavors to mix together just right. Bottom line, it is simply a tomato vegetable soup with a Mexican twist. So here is how it begins:
Content of my fridge: extra leeks, carrots, parsnip, red bell pepper, onions, garlic, turkey meat and broth.
From my pantry: dried ancho pepper, cumin, oregano, coarse corn meal and a can of diced tomatoes (usually I have some type of beans that I would throw into the pot as well, but not this time).
Needed from the store: an avocado.
Cut up your vegetable into even pieces. In a large pot drizzled with olive oil, sauté the chopped garlic, onions and leek. Add the rest of your vegetables, one teaspoon cumin, ½ tablespoon oregano, the dried ancho chili (or any dried chili of your choice) and the can of tomatoes. Stir to mix and add the measure of two cans of broth to the pot. Add salt and pepper to taste and simmer for about 30 minutes. At this point the pepper should be soft. You can add about ¼ of a cup of coarse corn meal and let it cook for another 20 minutes until the corn meal has completely swelled up. Right before serving remove the pepper and add your leftover turkey. You can use chicken, beef or no meat at all. Serve hot with pieces of avocado on top. I didn’t quite nail it like I did that first time but I’m starting to think it was simply a figment of my imagination…
Wednesday Lunch: ate out at Pranzetto for a friend’s birthday.
Wednesday Dinner: Turkey Enchiladas with Mole Sauce
Can anyone else other than me sense there’s a theme going on here? I always wanted to try making these at home. With all the leftovers, I had the perfect chance!
Content of my fridge: turkey, squash, onions, mushrooms, cheese and broth.
From my pantry: soft tortillas that I always keep around to make wraps.
Needed from the store: a jar of mole sauce.
Start by cutting the squash into small cubes and then steam until cooked through. In a pan drizzled with olive oil, sauté the onion and mushrooms. Add the turkey to heat through. In a large bowl, combine the onion, mushrooms, turkey, squash and a small handful of shredded cheese. Put some of the mixture in a tortilla, roll up and place seam down in a baking dish. Make as many as you’d like.
For the mole sauce, follow the directions on the jar and pour over the rolled up tortillas. Top with shredded cheese and bake in the oven at 400ºF until barely bubbly. I served this with my leftover mushroom stuffing, candied yams and a simple green salad. Like the recipe above, you can also use chicken, beef or veggies.
Thursday Lunch: Leftover Mexican Soup
Thursday Dinner: Turkey Curry
From the fridge: onion, garlic, cabbage, turkey, pineapple
From the pantry: a can of coconut milk, curry spices
Slice the cabbage into thin shreds, cut the onion in half and slice it, chop the garlic and in a pan drizzled with oil sauté together until barely soft. Add about a tablespoon of the curry powder / spice / paste of your choice and cook for a couple of minutes until the flavours melt into the other ingredients. Chop about ½ of a cup of pineapple and add it to the pan. Add about one cup of the leftover turkey and half of a can of coconut milk. Adjust seasoning with more curry, salt and/or pepper. Simmer for about 10 minutes and serve with rice or nan bread. This basic recipe is incredibly versatile: use leftovers or fresh ingredients, use any vegetables you want, any protein you want and any fruit you want (however, I would not recommend harder fruits like apples).
Friday Lunch: Leftover Turkey Enchiladas with Mole Sauce
Friday Dinner: Spaghetti with a Mushroom-Leek Wine Sauce
Well, it’s Friday. Although it has only been a four day work week it definitely was a busy one, well worthy of a bottle of wine that I picked up on my way home to accompany dinner: C’est La Vie, Sauvignon Blanc – don’t you just love the name?
From the fridge: garlic, leek, mushrooms, turkey
From the pantry: spaghetti pasta, Dijon mustard, thyme
Cook the spaghetti until al dente, following the instructions on the box but making sure your water is well salted. Meanwhile, in a large pan drizzled with olive oil, add a square of butter. When melted, add the sliced leek, chopped and mushroom. Season with salt, pepper and a large pinch of thyme; cook until leeks are slightly browned. Add the rest leftover turkey, just enough white wine to covers the vegetables and two heaping spoonfuls of Dijon mustard. Stir to combine and let simmer for a couple of minutes to let the flavors melt into each other. Add the cooked spaghetti to the pan, with a ladle or two of pasta water. Stir and serve. This was a pretty good first try but the recipe needs a bit of tweaking… more on that later. Suggestions anyone?
Saturday Brunch: Pancetta and Brussels Sprouts Hash Topped with a Fried Egg
From the fridge: pancetta, Brussels sprouts, onion, eggs
From the pantry: potatoes, paprika
Steam or boil a potato and a few Brussels sprouts. Once cooked, cut them into smaller pieces and slice a small onion. Chop the pancetta and sauté in a pan. Once it starts to crisp add the onions and cook for a couple of minutes. Bring down to medium heat and add the potatoes and Brussels sprouts. Season with a pinch of paprika, salt and pepper, allow mixture to brown. In another pan fry an egg to your liking. Serve the hash in a plate and top with the fried egg. It is a great start to the rest of your weekend!
After six days of leftovers, the turkey is finally all gone and none of it went to waste! With the exception of a few carrots and an acorn squash, all the fresh ingredients in my fridge were used up.
I must admit that finding something creative and versatile for Thursday and Friday was more of a challenge than I would have thought, but there you have it, a full week of leftovers with only one trip to the store. Now, it is time for me to head back to the market to fill up my fridge!
A few weeks ago I successfully catered my first event for M. Karim Boulos’ Campaign Launch. Seeing as it was indeed my first time and I was worried about not having enough food, and big surprise, I ended up with too much food! Some leftovers stayed behind as snacks for volunteers and some came home with me, namely the roasted red pepper dip and chimichurri that I had made immense quantities of. After using them on sandwiches, grilled veggies and meat throughout the week, like most people I became bored of having the same thing over and over.
I was at that point of revisiting the essence of Kristel’s Kitchen and realized that so far I hadn’t been keeping true to the idea of sharing my credo of reduce, reuse and recycle in my kitchen. Yes I recycle – quite diligently in fact, but that’s not what I’m referring to here. We’re talking leftovers and going beyond the “oh no not that again” feeling we often tolerate from the desire to not waste food. As a way to liberate myself from the repetitiveness of sandwiches and whatever was left in my fridge, here is what I came up with:
Roasted Red Pepper Spaghetti with Sautéed Veggies
- Leftover roasted red pepper dip
- Whole wheat spaghetti or any pasta of your liking (enough for two)
- Any leftover veggies in your fridge
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Cook the spaghetti according to the instructions on the box. While the pasta is cooking, heat up about a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan, add your garlic and veggies. Add salt and pepper to taste and sauté until tender. In my fridge I had leftover tomatoes, spinach, asparagus and leek. Once the pasta is cooked, reserve about ½ cup of the cooking water, then strain and transfer back into the pot. Add the leftover roasted red pepper dip and thin out the mixture with the reserved pasta, water as needed. If you happen to not have enough roasted pepper dip to coat the pasta, do not panic. I recommend always keeping a small can of tomato paste or sauce in your pantry. You can open the can and simple add as many extra spoonfuls as needed to coat the pasta. *Got some leftover in the can? To keep for next time, transfer the remainder into an ice tray and freeze. Once frozen you can store the tomato cubes in resealable plastic bags or plastic container. Serve onto plates and top with the sautéed veggies. Nothing’s simpler and nothing goes to waste!
Chimichurri Seared Scallops
- Leftover chimichurri
- Large scallops
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Scallops seem oh-so-very decadent, and they most definitely can be. They can also be enjoyed more casually. Sure they are individually expensive but if you get one each it can be a nice little treat on top of a salad as an appetizer or on top of the pasta as I have done here.
You want to start by rinsing the scallops and patting them completely dry with a clean dish towel or paper towel works too. The reason scallops need to be prepared this way first is because if they are not dry enough when you put them into the pan, they will boil rather than sear and hence will become rubbery. Nobody wants to eat a rubbery scallop. Add salt and pepper to both sides of the scallop and place into the hot pan. Scallops take no time at all to cook so you need to act fast. You want a nice caramelized color on the bottom before flipping it over and the flesh to be more opaque less than half-way up its sides. At this point, flip the scallop and add a spoonful of chimichurri to the already seared side while it finishes cooking. Remove immediately from heat and place onto your dish.
Dinner out at l’Orignal is definitely a meal that was in a league of it’s own. Fantastic service, amazing food, and a beef/bison tartare that is completely out of this world! Surrounded by a decor reminiscent of a cottage weekend and a playlist seemingly downloaded from my own ipod, this hipster place is a nice little cottage tucked away in the heart of Montreal’s Old Port.
Would I pay for that? let me just put it this way… tartare goosebumps = priceless