Posts Tagged ‘leftovers’

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Is It Time To Toss Those Leftovers

November 28, 2017

 

It is sad to even think about throwing away the delicious remains of your Thanksgiving meal, but if you still have leftovers lingering in your refrigerator, it’s time to bid them farewell. Yes, food safety trumps food waste every time.

Turkey lasts about 3-4 days well wrapped and refrigerated. Same for stuffing provided it has been removed from the turkey before it was stored. Gravy is good for only a day or two, but most cranberry sauces should last up to 2 weeks. Mashed potatoes and candied sweet potatoes should be good for about 3-5 days. Pumpkin pie lasts 3-4 days and apple should be refrigerated within 2 days if it has been cut.

Freezing certain items are an option but don’t freeze just for the sake of freezing. My freezer sometimes becomes a receptacle for things I don’t know what to do with and in the end, never get thawed and used. As unpopular an opinion as this is, if you don’t see yourself eating that cranberry sauce in the next several weeks, let it go.

Goodbye leftovers! We shall never speak of you again(until next time).

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Leftover Madness: Unrecipe of the Week: Turkey and Biscuits

November 26, 2017

 

Working our way through all these leftovers is daunting, to say the least. Reliving the Thanksgiving feast just isn’t that appealing to us and with only three unenthusiastic eaters to work on it, too much is sadly going to waste. Last night, in an effort to create dinner from what I had on hand, I threw these together, to positive reviews. They only took about 10 minutes to prep and made a slight dent in the bountiful array of foods filling up my refrigerator.

Not the best photo, but it’s all I could get before they got devoured.

Turkey and Biscuits:
This is the ultimate unrecipe, designed to use what you have, so feel free to be flexible with ingredients.
Saute one finely diced shallot in butter. If you don’t have a shallot, use an onion. Add diced carrot, and celery if you have it, and keep cooking until the shallot is transparent and the carrots are softened. Mix in chunks of cooked turkey, and sprinkle it with cornstarch or flour. Toss until everything is coated, and the flour is no longer visible. Slowly add turkey stock, or chicken broth, bring to a slow boil and stir until thickened. Go easy here. If it isn’t thick enough, mix some of your cornstarch or flour with some hot broth and stir it in. If it gets gloppy, add more broth. At this point, I added some frozen peas. You can add whatever vegetables and herbs you have. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to an ovenproof dish. Bonus points if you made this part in an ovenproof skillet and don’t have to wash another dish! Place biscuits on top of the mixture. Mine were already lightly baked, and very high, so I sliced them in half and brushed them with melted butter and little Maldon sea salt, ’cause I’m fancy.
Place in the oven at 350 degrees and bake until the biscuits are hot and browned about 5 minutes. If you don’t have leftover biscuits, you can use the ones from the tube and bake according to directions.
No biscuits, no problem. This filling could go into a traditional pie with a top crust, or atop those frozen puffed pastry shells instead. Baking times will vary according to your pastry preference.
Enjoy!

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The Morning After

November 29, 2013

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Whew, it’s over! Whether you spent the last day ( or two ) cooking or just hanging with family and eating like there is no tomorrow, lo and behold, that tomorrow is here. What to do now?
Take that turkey carcass, toss it in a big pot with carrots, celery, onion, and water, and cook it into submission, until you have a rich, flavorful stock.

Eat a light, but healthy breakfast, like some fresh fruit, or a smoothie. Tempting as it may be, pumpkin pie is not the breakfast of champions. (Yes, I am talking to you!)

Get active! Go to the gym, go for a run, play football with the fam, or at the very least, shop the Black Friday sales until you go anaerobic from the sheer frenzy of it all. Turn all those excess carbs into fuel, and burn them off, any way you can. You will feel much better afterwards.

If you hosted the dinner, put your house back into some semblance of order. You will be able to relax and enjoy it, if it is neat and all signs of chaos are eliminated.

Assess the leftovers. Do you want to eat them as is, make sandwiches, or turn them into something else? Leftover turkey can be used to create a variety of dishes from turkey salad, to turkey crepes and turkey tacos, just to name a few. Get creative, and turn those leftovers into something new that everyone will want to eat.

Monday is the absolute last day to eat those leftovers safely. Stretching that turkey and dressing through next week could result in your stomach rebelling. Eat them, freeze them or donate them, but do it within the first 3 days or so.

As the week progresses, and the stress of work and school set in, don’t forget to reflect on all of the things you are thankful for. Stretch those positive thoughts out to keep you grounded and grateful for weeks to come.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Coffee Ice Cubes

October 15, 2013

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Today’s tip is a great way to use up the extra coffee at the bottom of the pot. Simply pour it into ice cube trays and freeze it.
Not only is it the perfect way to chill iced coffee, but you can thaw them out and heat them to make brewed instant coffee.

Be creative: how about adding a few to a glass of Bailey’s Irish Cream or Kahlua? Chocolate milk? Grinding them up in a smoothie?

The possibilities are endless.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Risotto Cakes

October 6, 2012

The butternut squash and kale risotto was delicious, but we had leftovers. Risotto doesn’t reheat well. The creamy consistency goes to somewhat “gluey” pretty easily. It does however transform beautifully into risotto cakes, which gave them a new life.

Melt  butter in a frying pan. Add cold risotto formed into patties to the pan, and fry on both sides until golden brown and heated through. Enjoy!

Unrecipe of the Week: Waste Case Edition

April 1, 2012

In the spirit of avoiding food waste, I saved last night’s sauteed kale with shallots and converted it into a pesto topping for salmon.

It was a small amount; exactly the amount I would have tossed out a week ago, since it wasn’t really enough for another meal. Being conscious of food waste, I became creative with my leftovers and found a way to enhance our meal with something that was already there.

It’s easy to take almost any strong flavored green vegetable and make it into pesto. I have used broccoli rabe and spinach in the past, as an alternative to the traditional basil.

Tonight, I put 1/2 a garlic clove ( remember it was a tiny amount of kale) and a tiny handful of pistachio nuts into the food processor, with some parmesan cheese and the kale. I added a little drizzle of olive oil to thin it down, until it became a thick paste.

After broiling the salmon for a few minutes, I spread the pesto mixture over it, and cooked it for a couple more minutes.

It was flavorful and added a nice and healthy touch to a menu staple that we eat several times per week.

What do you have on hand that you can use to make a mundane meal more interesting?

Here is recipe for a more traditional take on pesto. Use it as a guide to make your own innovative variations, based on what you have on hand.

Traditional Pesto:

1 bunch of basil leaves (about 2 cups)

2 garlic cloves

1/3 cup pignoli nuts* ( or walnuts)

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/3 cup olive oil (or more if needed)

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Put the basil, garlic and nuts into the food processor,and process until finely chopped.

With the motor running, drizzle the olive oil into the bowl until the mixture forms a thick paste. Stir in the parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

If serving over pasta, heat sauce in a pan until warm . If necessary, add a little of the pasta cooking water to thin it down. If you like a creamier texture, add a little heavy cream tot the sauce. Toss with the hot pasta and enjoy!

photo: Glasshouse Images

Waste Case Project: Weekend Wrap-Up

March 31, 2012

The week is coming to an end, and the Waste Case Project diary is coming to a close.
As a grand finale in using my food to the fullest, I had the chicken stock I made last night with a bit of shredded chicken and diced carrots for lunch, bringing the meal toll for one lowly little roasted chicken up to 6!

Tonight, a little celebratory take-out and a glass of wine (which somehow never goes to waste around our house) while I reminisce about the project…

The week has been an eye-opener. Here are a few of the big take-aways from my experience:

1. Consciousness is half the battle. I knew we were wasting food, but never really thought about how much we were tossing out needlessly. The idea that others are starving and we are lucky enough to live where food is plentiful and accessible, is a gift which should not be taken for granted. Thinking about the issue inspired me to find ways to decrease our food waste.

2. Taking inventory of exactly what you have laying around that is still fresh and usable is the key to avoiding waste. Planning around those items, instead of starting fresh every day, makes a huge difference in what gets eaten and what gets tossed out.

3.Proper wrapping and storing of food makes a big difference in it’s taste and freshness. Leaving the seed in the leftover avocado and wrapping it well, and drying the washed lettuce and rolling it in a paper towel before bagging it are just examples of how I increased the shelf life of our food.

4. Shoving food down your throat so it “doesn’t go to waste” is worse than throwing it in the dumpster. Eating excess food  and stuffing yourself leads to weight gain and health issues. If you have to choose between your food “going to waste and going to your waist” I choose the former every time.

5. Leftovers can be boring. Just reheating last night’s dinner held very little appeal for me. Up-cycling last night’s dinner was an interesting challenge. I could reinvent that roasted chicken in 100 different ways, yet I rarely tried. Now I know that a roasted chicken means at least 2 dinners, not one. The creativity will come in the second night.

5. Nobody is perfect. There will be food that goes to waste. But, just because this experiment is over, it doesn’t mean we will go back to our old ways. I will be a conscious shopper and chef, now that I have seen what a difference a little planning can make.

6. The only thing more frightening to your husband than the thought that his wife will turn into her mother, is the fear that she will turn into his mother. My mother in law would save a bread crust in the hopes that someone would eat it. She kept everything way too long and thought the freezer was a cryogenic crypt that preserved things for perpetuity. While there is definitely a limit to my food scrap hoarding, she was definitely on to something! Know when to say when. and if it seems at all ‘iffy” I say toss it, rather than risk illness.

7. Indigo Jones readers are loyal and loved having something to follow everyday. I promise to find something new to pique your interest, and post more often, even if it’s just a little tidbit that your might find of interest.
Thanks for joining me on this journey !

Waste Case Project: Day 5

March 30, 2012

I am starting to get the hang of this! Tonight, I only spent $5.99 at the grocery store, vs. the usual $40 or so.

I used all the lettuce I washed and chopped yesterday,( the arugula hung in there one more day!) part of the avocado from Tuesday (which kept surprisingly well when stored properly), some cheese I had on hand, some of last night’s roasted  chicken and a chunk of green apple that has been sitting around feeling lonely in a basket in the kitchen. I tossed it in some olive oil and  aged balsamic vinegar and  “Viola!” a great dinner salad using all leftovers…woo hoo!

The others had the chicken shredded and cooked with bar-b-que sauce on whole wheat buns with potato chips; my 2 purchased items for the day. Bailey had the rest of my apple and some yogurt, and Spencer put the last of the avocado on his sandwich, and shared my salad as a side dish.

The remnants of the chicken are now simmering in a pot, with yesterday’s onion and 2 carrots, accompanied by some parsley I discovered in the produce drawer (score!). It won’t yield much, but a few cups of chicken stock can always be popped into the freezer and used anytime a recipe calls for it.

My husband likened me to a “depression era housewife” which is fodder for a whole other blog post, but he has a point. We need to start thinking of food as a precious commodity, and use it to it’s fullest. Today I learned to plan around what I had that was fresh and usable, and buy around it if necessary. If I wasn’t trying to please a picky eater, I wouldn’t have needed to purchase anything to make a fresh, nutritious and tasty meal.

Tomorrow’s challenge: What’s for dinner? The produce and meat is gone, so our next meal starts with a clean slate. Although I might be able to use that chicken stock for something….

photo: Glasshouse Images

Waste Case Project: Day 4

March 29, 2012

Tonight was the big test…a whole roasted chicken! Every week, I buy a whole chicken, and of course we never finish it. I’m told that it is going to get eaten for lunch, but every Saturday, I throw away what is left. Today, I decided to take the “chicken challenge” and make sure it gets eaten. I personally packed up the leftovers, so that I could assess the remnants. There is a huge amount left, and easily enough for dinner tomorrow night. I bought 2 organic carrots and an onion, thinking I would make a small pot of chicken stock with the leftovers,and use up some herbs festering in the produce drawer. Will there be enough chicken left to bother, or will we actually eat it all? If I don’t make the stock, what becomes of the onion and carrots? A new dilemma!

I cleaned and chopped all the lettuce I bought, including the arugula that is miraculously still hanging in there after a few days, and put what I didn’t think we needed in a plastic bag with a paper towel in it to absorb the moisture. There is plenty for another meal,and the work is already done for me!

I even used a rubber spatula to get ALL the yogurt out of the container, instead of tossing those last few spoonfuls.

Awareness of the problem is proving to be half the battle for me. Planning for waste is helping me eliminate waste.

Stay tuned to find out what REALLY happens to that roasted chicken!

photo: Glasshouse Images

Unrecipe of the Week/ The Aftermath

November 27, 2009

The big Thanksgiving meal is over, the dishes are done and the tryptophan induced nap has been taken. Now, what?

How about turning all of that leftover turkey into something a bit more inspiring than a sandwich? Here is a simple recipe for crepes, with several ideas for fillings. Let you imagination and your leftovers lead the way……

Turkey Crepes

for the batter:

1 cup flour

pinch of salt

1 1/2 cups milk

3 eggs

vegetable oil (not olive oil!) for frying the crepes

Put all ingredients into the blender and mix until completely blended.

Let it stand in the refrigerator to thicken slightly, to become the consisitancy of heavy cream. If the batter becomes too thick, add a little more milk.

Brush  a small frying pan or crepe pan with oil and heat on the stove. Add a little batter to the hot pan, and swirl it until it is covered. You want as thin a crepe as possible. When the crepe is dry on top and the bottom is slightly brown, flip it over carelfully. Consider the first crepe or two a trial, as you figure out the correct pan temperature and the amount of batter needed. They are actually quite easy to make, once you get the hang of it!

Filling ideas:

Saute  minced garlic and mushrooms until soft and browned. Sprinkle with flour and continue to saute until vegetables are coated. Add 1 can of chicken broth and a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of heavy cream to the pan, and stir until thickened slightly.Toss in a shot of sherry if desired. Add in shredded turkey, and season liberally with salt and pepper. Top with a little shredded gruyere cheese.

Shred turkey and mix with gravy.

Shred turkey and cranberry sauce.

Saute garlic, onions and vegetables of choice (broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms etc,) Add in the shredded turkey and some shredded cheese of choice (cheddar,  gruyere or parmesean). Top with the shredded cheese before baking.

To bake:

Place filling in crepe about 1/3 of the way up from the bottom. Roll the crepe tightly but gently so it doesn’ tear.  Place in a greased oven proof pan and heat through.

Enjoy!

photo: Spencer Jones/Glasshouse Images


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