Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Leftover Makeover: Toddler Meals

Often when I have bits of good things here and there, I will use them for food for my 1 year old, A. Here are two super easy and nutritious meals that use almost all leftovers. Not really great recipe format- more like some ideas....

Scrambled Lentils
I have mentioned before that I add cottage cheese to my scrambled eggs to up the protein factor, but they are the perfect vehicle for lots of things. Steamed, mashed broccoli, asparagus, spinach, obviously cheeses and meats. A loooooves scrambled eggs and eats them about once a day. Yesterday I added about a quarter cup of cooked lentils to four eggs scrambled with a splash of whole milk and a heaping tablespoon of cottage cheese. She gobbled them right down (well about a third anyway- she had some more today and even I had some with some sour cream and a piece of crumbled bacon for breakfast). Lentils are a great food to cook in advance and freeze in ice cube trays- they can be added to pasta dishes, soups, stir-fry, etc. We love them.

Kiddie Carbonara
So this is not real carbonara (not even close) but it has peas and pasta in it, so we'll go with that. Earlier this week I had quite a bit of leftover orzo pasta from a side dish. I specifically set aside some without sauce for use later. To about a cup or cup and a half of whole wheat orzo, I added a quarter cup of leftover peas (w/ a tiny bit of butter). The I shredded up some leftover ham and tossed in just a bit of shredded cheddar cheese and let it all melt together. She and my 4 year old, N ate all of it. Good whole food.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Our Favorite Lasagna

Who doesn't like lasagna? Cheesy goodness baked  into marinara and pasta- you can't lose. It is probably my husband's favorite and I realized that I hadn't made any for awhile so yesterday I made one- I have made it this way for years and will say that it is the best lasagna ever! Obviously you can make your own sauce or use a jar- this time I used Bertolli Tomato and Basil that I jazzed up with onions, fresh mushrooms, fresh basil and extra garlic. It was a regular sized jar along with 1 lb of very lean ground beef. I usually use ground turkey but my husband said this was the best batch I've ever made..... I think he was trying to tell me that he notices the difference between beef and turkey- what a great palate ;)

Four Cheese Deliciousness i.e. Lasagna
Meat Sauce- I would be guessing that you need about 4 cups total (or see above)
9 Lasagna noodles- prepared
1 egg
1.5 cups small curd cottage cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan
1.5 cups shredded mozzarella
6 slices provolone cheese

*Combine egg, parm and cottage cheese- this takes the place of ricotta and I will never go back
*Spray a casserole dish with non-stick spray.
*Place enough sauce to barely cover the bottom and then layer noodles, 1/2 cottage cheese mixture, provolone, noodles, sauce, 1/2 cottage cheese mixture, noodles, rest of sauce, mozarella
*Cover (spray foil with non-stick spray so the cheese doesn't stick to it later) and bake at 350 degrees for 50  minutes
*Uncover and bake 10 minutes longer
*Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

After the provolone layer

Before Baking
This is my 3 year old's thumbs up because dinner looks good. He ate EVERY LAST BITE!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Leftover Makeover: Got Fungus??

This week I combined two things that needed using: leftover sage stuffing and some breakfast sausage. Our tiny little town market has this amazing sausage but it comes in a HUGE serving that we never use so I usually freeze half. This week I forgot and it worked out perfect because Stuffed Portobello Caps were the perfect dinner for the little one and I (daddy and my little fella are at a baseball game). She kept clapping for "more more"- so cute!

Sage and Sausage Stuffed Portabellos
1 cup leftover stuffing (mine was a boxed sage mix)
3/4 cup cooked and crumbled sausage
4 portobello caps (wiped clean/stems removed)
Coarse salt
Olive oil
Parmesan and chives to top

*Mix sausage and stuffing- add a couple heaping Tbsp of chopped portobello if you have an extra mushroom
*Drizzle the caps w/ oil and sprinkle with salt before grilling gills up for 4-5 minutes
*Top w/ stuffing and warm through in oven or on grill (indirect heat)
* Sprinkle w/ parm and chives

Monday, June 20, 2011

The weekend checked out too soon- here is a weekday breakfast kickoff

This is an old stand-by for weekend breakfast. I love to serve it when we have overnight guests because it is hearty and looks like you fussed but it is really easy (even easier if you use frozen potatoes and prepared pesto). I am not sure where the original recipe came from but I have made it so many times that it has kinda taken on a new life. It is also great if you want to substitute with sausage and add some red peppers in place of the tomato. You can also add other goodies like chives, rosemary, or veggies. Experiment away- I have and it is always no-fail delicious.

Ham and Spinach Hash
4 Tbsp butter (divided)
Extra virgin olive oil
8 small red potatoes (washed and cubed- skins are fine left on)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 med onion (chopped)
1 tsp minced garlic
1 large ham steak (chopped)- that is just deli meat in the pic but the ham steak is better
8 medium eggs
2-3 handfuls fresh baby spinach (chopped)
1 heaping Tbsp fresh basil (chopped)- or prepared pesto
1 large tomato (seeded and chopped)- or half can diced tomatoes, drained
Parmesan for topping
Salt and pepper to taste
*Cook potatoes in butter and oil with salt/pepper/granulated garlic. One tender, onion and ham and cook for 4-5 minutes longer. Remove from heat and toss with basil and spinach to wilt
*Meanwhile, cook eggs (in butter) over easy/medium- some runny yolk makes it delish.
*Top a serving of hash with two eggs and sprinkle with tomato and parmesan

Note: I did not have tomato available (see pic) and i used white potatoes- like I said, it's a versatile dish

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Rice up

So I realize it is Wednesday and that usually means a leftover makeover but I am not feeling very creative today. Blame the new schedule or the non-sleeping baby, both of which have me in zombie mode. I have been so sluggish lately and have been eating a few too many desserts too so back to a week of carbohydrate withdrawal I go again. But first, an easy peasy rice recipe--

Rosemary Rice
2 cups instant brown rice
1 can (or 2 cups) chicken stock/broth (use reduced sodium if buy canned)
1 Tbsp herbs/rosemary--- i LOVE the pampered chef rosemary spice blend
1 Tbsp butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Prepare as directed substituting broth for water and adding seasonings with the rice. Once liquid is absorbed and rice is fluffy, add butter and s&p to taste. Better for you than the processed boxes and cheaper too ;)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Weekend Breakfast Kickoff

Yummy Breakfast Burritos

We LOVE Mexican food and will incorporate those tastes into our food whenever possible. Well I do anyway, my husband just eats the fruits of my labors. One thing I like to do when we have tacos (or if I cooked some sausage for something) is set a little aside for a weekend breakfast burrito. These are soooo easy though I have to say you can't beat my mom's more labor intensive burritos. These are probably healthier too ;)

these are actually tomato wraps that were on clearance at the market, but we usually use whole wheat from trader joes (our fave)
5 eggs-
whisked with a splash of milk and about a Tbsp of cottage cheese and scrambled
Leftover taco meat-
as much as you want (if using sausage, mix with a bit of taco sauce before adding
Onions, peppers, green chilies, tomato-
basically whatever you have on hand, saute them in a bit of butter and season with salt, pepper and cumin
Shredded cheese-
sharp cheddar is our favorite

*Once everything is cooked, add them into the pan together and cook for a minute or so
*Spoon into tortillas and top with sour cream and salsa

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Leftover Makeover Wednesday

How often do you just have ONE chicken breast left--- for us, quite often. This recipe is perfect to use it for an entire dinner. I would almost bet you have the rest of the ingredients in your pantry/fridge so you get a great dinner for almost no additional grocery cost!

Spinach Alfredo Pizza
1 whole grain pizza crust (pre-made or prepared dough)
1 cooked and cubed chicken breast
1/2 block monterey jack, provolone or mozarella cheese (shredded)
1 small bunch spinach (chaffinade cut)
8-10 thinly sliced rings of red onion
Alfredo sauce (pre-made or recipe follows)

Pre-bake crust. Spread sauce thickly over crust. Top with ingredients and bake until cheese is melted. It is so so good- I didn't even want my salad that I made to go with it!

Alfredo Sauce- I make this with whatever I have on hand, cream, milk, cream cheese, whatever- it usually works even if you don't follow perfect directions.
Make a roux with 1/2 stick butter and 1-2 Tbsp flour. Add in some milk and stir until mixture is creamy. Add a little salt and pepper and garlic powder. Add 2-4 Tbsp parmesan depending on desired thickness. Just taste it and if you need more spice, salt, cream, cheese, add it- don't be afraid ;)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mango Madness

I am allergic to mangoes...... weird right? Not the actual mango, but the sap on the outside (it is in the poison ivy family!) as I learned a few years ago when I broke out in a horrible rash all over my  lips and face.... I know you have visions of me smearing fruit all over my cheeks and eye but it was not like that :) In fact I am not too sure how it happened but I am digressing. The point is that for a long time, I was scared of that benign little fruit. About a month ago, my local fruit stand (as in proximity, I don't live anywhere that could classify mango as a local fruit) had them for WAY cheap so I sucked it up, bought a bag, washed my hands, peeled and cut them, washed my hands, froze them and washed my hands- and there they sat. We had a friend over for dinner last night and I thought a mango crisp would be a perfect companion to the fajitas and beans. It truly was and so far I am rash free!!

'Who Cares If I Get a Crazy Swollen Eye and Pimply Lipped Rash'
Mango Crumble With Cinnamon Cream

2-3 cups frozen mangoes
1 peach- cubed because it looked like I wanted more fruit- you could omit or add another
2 Tbsp white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
*Combine in a pie plate sprayed with Pam. To save time, I microwaved the mixture for 2 minutes, stirred and repeated. For better caramelizing, use the stove top and then put in pie plate.

*Add juice of 1/2 lime.
In separate container combine the following ingredients (my standard crisp/crumble topping):
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 small package chopped pecans

*Cut in 1 stick butter
*Spread crumble mixture over the mango mixture (as thick or thin as you like- you will have 1-2 cups leftover but save it!!! I will give you something to do with it soon ;)
*Bake at 340 degrees for 40 minutes
*Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

For THIS crumble, there is no comparison to a home-made cinnamon whipped cream- it is perfect because you can control the sweetness. All you do is whip a small carton of heavy whipping cream in a cold bowl with cold beaters (in an electric mixture) until it is thick- during the process, add in sugar to your preference-- up to a large handful and then add 1 tsp cinnamon. My husband and I both prefer this to apple crisp which was always pretty high on our favorite list- there is just something about the tartness of the mango/peach with the sweetness of the crumble and when you couple it with a thick and mellow cream, you will want to eat the entire plate!!