What to make, what to make? It’s been a crazy week at work, finishing up grading final exams and starting fresh with new students. If you’ve been following along on twitter or facebook, you know that Ed and I are sick. I’ve been in denial, but Ed’s cold is somehow much, much worse than mine. Neither of us is in any condition for a night out. A quick look in the fridge and I realized I have a dozen and a half eggs, 3 half-gallons of milk (how did we get so much?), a block of cheese. Quiche!
Ed likes meaty quiche, so I sent him into the basement to get some bacon from the freezer. I, however, love a veggie quiche, but we’re slim on fresh veggies since I shop on the weekends. I opened the freezer to pull out the pie shells (yes, I bought them… what do you want from me, I’m 34 weeks pregnant) and there it was! A bag of frozen creamed spinach, leftover from Christmas dinner. I could certainly transform that into a creamy, delicous quiche. Onions were already sauteed, spinach was already cooked and drained. How easy!
- 1 pre-baked pie crust, cooled
- 1 1/2 cups leftover creamed spinach (I made Pioneer Woman’s “Creamed Spinach to Die For” recipe)
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- black pepper to taste
Spread the creamed spinach in the bottom of the pie shell. Beat the eggs and milk together, then pour over the spinach. Sprinkle in the cheese, then top with some black pepper. Bake at 375ºF for 35-40 minutes.
This is just what it sounds like… a meal created out of leftovers, from the pantry and the freezer. I thought it came out pretty tasty for a meal inspired by the fact that I didn’t want to let leftovers go to waste.
Seared Pork Chops
I thawed two thick-cut, bone-in pork chops from our pig in the freezer. Pat the pork chops dry and season with salt and pepper. Add about 1 Tbsp butter or vegetable oil to a cast-iron pan over medium-high to high heat. Sear the pork chops on one side for about 3 minutes, sear on the fatty side by holding the chop in tongs for 1 minute, then flip and place in a preheated 350° oven for about 10 minutes. This can get pretty smokey, so make sure to have the hood fan running or the window open (preferably not in winter!).
Mashed Potato Cakes
Mix about 2 cups of leftover mashed potatoes with 1 egg. Melt a few Tbsp butter in a skillet over medium heat, then drop in the potatoes in big spoonfuls. Flatten the potatoes into cakes and brown on both sides, then season with salt. My aunt always makes these for dinner on holidays, transforming the mashed potatoes leftover from lunch. They’re better than the originals!
Easy! I made creamed spinach for Christmas dinner, and just warmed it in the oven while I made the pork chops and potato cakes.
Also easy! Just open up a jar of home-canned applesauce.
We had so many leftovers from the other night’s Garlic Lime Roasted Turkey with Cornbread Chorizo Stuffing, I decided to turn it into a Shepherd’s Pie-type casserole. *I made this the day after, but didn’t get to post until today.*
This is more of an assembly than a recipe. First, I layered the remaining stuffing in the bottom of a baking dish. Next, I broke the remaining turkey into pieces and spread it out on top of the stuffing. I covered it with a white sauce, but if I had made gravy I would have used that. (The white sauce is easy to make: In a small saucepan, mix 2 Tbsp butter and 2 Tbsp flour. Mix it and let it cook briefly, then add one cup milk. Stir occasionally and allow to thicken over low heat.) Finally, spread leftover mashed potatoes on the top of the casserole, dot with butter and sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 350°F for 30-45 minutes until heated through.
Do you have any secrets to transform leftovers into a new delicious meal?
I made a delicious pot roast on Monday in the slow cooker using Laura’s recipe for Carbonade de Boueff à la Flamande, substituting rump roast for chuck roast. While I can’t pronounce that name, it sure looks nicer than what I’d call it: rump roast cooked in beer with onions, and it was really good and tender. I wonder if it was the beer? I’ve never cooked with beer before, but I figured it was worth a try, and it turned out really good. There was no taste from the beer (good… since I HATE the smell and taste of alcohol), the meat was just really tender.
However, Ed and I can only eat so much pot roast, so there were quite a bit of leftovers. I was so sick and tired of being cold that I decided to make some homemade rolls and beef vegetable soup.
It was really easy. I cubed up the cooked roast and put that in a pot with the juices I saved from cooking it. I then added diced red potatoes, chopped garlic cloves, a 12 ounce can of crushed tomatoes and water to cover it. I would have added carrots but I’m out, since I’ve been feeding them to a certain special horse lately. I let the pot simmer for about 30 minutes, then added in some thawed corn and green beans that I froze last summer and brought it back up to a simmer for another 30 minutes, then seasoned with salt and pepper. I can see myself using this recipe a lot, with whatever vegetables I have on hand.
Ed’s parents had us over for homemade grilled pizzas last night. There was some dough left over, so Ed’s mom told us about how her mom used up extra dough when she was a kid. She’d form little tiny pizzas, then pan fry them in a little bit of oil, then sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar. We brought some of the extra dough home, and I tried it out this morning. They were really good!
This is a great way to transform stale bread into a wonderful dessert or breakfast. Green Bean wrote about her version of Bread Pudding in “Waste Not, Waist Full,” and it made me think of the Blueberry Bread Pudding that Ed’s mom has made for us with wild Maine blueberries. Blueberries are one of the only fruits left in our freezer from last year, so this recipe was the perfect thing to make today.
- 4 cups cubed day-old bread
- 1 cup Maine blueberries (or regular blueberries, raisins, raspberries, etc.)
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1/4 cup maple syrup (or honey)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- dash cinnamon
- dash nutmeg
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
Mix bread and blueberries in a casserole dish. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour over the bread and blueberry mixture, cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight to allow the bread to absorb the custard mixture, occasionally pressing the bread into the liquid. Preheat oven to 350°F. Dot the top of the bread pudding with butter and sprinkle on the brown sugar. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the bread pudding is puffed and golden. Allow to cool 10-15 minutes before serving, or allow to cool completely, refrigerate and serve cold.