Tag Archives: leftovers

Roast vegetables and tomato sauce

As I mentioned last time, all the knife practice exercises I’ve been doing this week have left me with quite a lot of vegetables leftovers. Today my boss decided that it’s slow enough in the office that we were entitled to a one-day spring break, so I decided to put some of my newfound cooking skills to use.

Just over two hours in the kitchen resulted in the following:
– one and a half trays of roasted carrots (most of a 2-lb bag)
– half a tray of roasted zucchini (one zucchini’s worth)
– two trays of kale chips (half a bunch of kale, roasted)
– a small pot of tomato sauce (about a 15-oz can’s worth)

Now, this might seem like a lot, and indeed it looked like a lot before I went through the roasting / sauce making process, but by the end, it looked like a whole lot less. The roasted carrots were so good that I kept munching them. A lot. The entire bag of carrots, raw, make me think, “Oh, dear God, who could possibly eat so many carrots?” After roasting, it was more like, “Yeah, I could totally eat all of these right now.” Ditto for the kale chips.

So in the end, I’ve got about two cups of roasted carrots, a tiny amount of roasted zucchini (not as good as the carrots: still very mushy — I’ll have to find a better way of cooking them), and a soup-bowl of kale chips.

The tomato sauce did not turn out as good as the roast vegetables. It’s… okay. But it’s got that very acidic, “Whoa, I’m a TOMATO!” feel to it. I added some sugar, which cut the edge a bit, but not as much as I’d like. It might be because I added an entire can of tomato paste. See, I didn’t want more leftovers, and there was a whole lotta juice that needed to get thickened up, and… Yeah. I may have overdone it. Just a bit. *looks down shamefully*

In any event, I find it okay. Marc doesn’t really like it. I’ll probably spoon some over the pan-fried chicken that I’m making tonight as my next Rouxbe lesson, and then have the rest with some pasta or something.

I’m still amazed at what looked like so much raw vegetables turned into so little cooked vegetables. It’s barely enough for a couple of servings. I can’t imagine how many vegetables I’d need to buy if I wanted to have enough for a whole week! Am I the only one who feels this way?

Gnocchi

So, here’s the thing. We had a lovely Christmas dinner with a good friend’s family and brought home quite a lot of leftovers: turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, etc. Most of it got eaten in fairly short order, as tasty the second time round as the first. But the mashed potatoes… they didn’t reheat very well. And we had a fairly large container of them. I didn’t want to waste them, but I didn’t really want to eat them, either. What to do, what to do…

I did as I always did in this circumstances, I asked The Google. And The Google told me a whole bunch of things I could do with leftover mashed potatoes, but the one that really piqued my interest was gnocchi. See, gnocchi are my favorite pasta, bar none, and if I could do this properly, life would be sweet indeed. (Sweet and savory. Because gnocchi are best with butter and sage.)

A tour of quite a number of cooking sites revealed that this was going to be more “test and see how it turns out” than I’m used to. I prefer to use precise recipes, and this one… well, this was gonna be anything but.

In any event, I took the 2-ish cups of (cold) mashed potatoes, cracked in an egg, and stirred that around for a while. Then I added a cup of flour, mixed it some more, figured it wasn’t quite enough, and added a little more. Dumped the whole thing out and kneaded it for a while until it became (as the recipes instructed) a sticky dough. I had no idea whether it was too sticky, too smooth, or whatever, but I figured if I could roll it out into strips, it was good enough.

And roll I did! Into about 8 “snakes,” which I then cut up into little “pillows,” that seemed to be pretty delicate. Didn’t bother running them over a gnocchi board (because I don’t own one) or the tines of a fork (because they seemed too delicate), so I just left them as-is. Popped them into boiling water in three batches, and boiled until they rose to the top and then another 2-3 minutes past that, about 5 minutes overall. Drained for a while on paper towels, then served with butter and sage.

They were pretty soft (though they’re firming up as they cool down) and very filling, as gnocchi tend to be. I have no idea why they were so soft: too much or too little flour, too long or too short a cooking time, too much handling… no clue. But it worked out.

In the end, this isn’t the sort of recipe I’d make every day — because I have no interest in boiling up potatoes solely to use as gnocchi when store-bought gnocchi is both more convenient and better quality — but if I ever find myself with some extra mashed potatoes lying around, it’s certainly the sort of thing I can see myself making again. Success!

Leftovers, the “I have no idea what I’m doing” edition

My, my, but is *has* been a while. I’ve been sticking to recipes that I know, or mostly pre-made stuff (frozen tortellini, e.g.), so there hasn’t been much on the cooking front lately. But I decided recently that I want to eat through some of the stuff that’s been in the freezer for a while, which is why tonight’s dinner was chicken mole with bell peppers. Except that I had no idea what I was doing.

See, when I was looking in my freezer this morning, I realized I had two servings left of the mole sauce (of chicken mole fame) and quite a number of chicken pieces (of cutting up two whole chickens fame) and figured that combining them sounded like a plan to me!

Of course, in Adventures in Cooking Land, things can never be so simple.

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“Stuff in the fridge” stew

Be afraid, people. Be very, very afraid. This is the first time in recent memory that I’m cooking… without a recipe. I sent out the call a few days ago asking if anyone knew what I could do with a bunch of vegetables I’ve got in my fridge. After considering the options and asking Marc what he wanted, I settled on a vegetable soup. (A vegetable stew, if I could manage it.) A curried vegetable soup. Because I didn’t have enough of a challenge already.

And this time, I’m flying blind.

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Improvised egg and potato hash

It occurred to me tonight that I’ve got a number of things in the fridge that are on their last legs, and I should probably do something about that. I’ve got a potato that really should be eaten soon, some turkey bacon that’s probably only got a week left, ditto some eggs, half an onion that I should really eat before it’s been cut too long, and so on. I hunted around my favourite cooking site (SuperCook), looking at this and that, until I came upon a recipe for chicken and egg hash, which I decided to use as a rough base for tonight’s meal.

I used 4 strips of turkey bacon instead of regular bacon, which meant there wasn’t as much grease in the pan after they were done. I took it out of the pan and added some olive oil to brown the half an onion and 2 cloves of garlic. (I like garlic. Sue me.) These cooked very, very quickly, probably in less than a minute. I didn’t have any cooked chicken, so I added only my one large potato (cut into small cubes), stirred everything around, and covered the pan. In about ten minutes, the potato was soft, and I added a half-cup each of frozen peas and frozen corn, along with a little salt and pepper. I’d planned to add some parsley (I’ve got a bunch of frozen parsley in the freezer), but just plain forgot. I mixed it all together, made two “wells” in the hash, and cracked in two eggs. Then on with the cover again for about 10 minutes to ensure that the yolks had completely set. (I don’t like the texture of runny yolks at all.) I spooned some into a bowl along with one of the eggs and sprinkled about a third of the turkey bacon on top. It turned out I was only hungry enough to eat half, and I’m not sure how well the other cooked egg will keep, but I’m sure it’ll be okay until tomorrow.

If I had to do it again, I would probably just crack the eggs into a bowl, stir them up a bit, and pour them over everything to get a bit of coating and thickness. Having it as a whole egg in my bowl was a bit awkward. I’d also just cook the bacon in the microwave and cook everything else in the pan with olive oil. I might try to add some seasonings as well, beyond just the salt and pepper.

In the end, it tasted okay. It was simple, very potato-y, but filling. I think it’s more a winter meal than a summer meal, though. I can see this being very nice on a brisk autumn day when you want something warm and filling in your tummy.

At least the kitchen didn’t blow up. Sorry to disappoint anyone who was looking for excitement in this adventures in cooking post. Maybe next time. *grin*

Pan-fried leftovers

When Marc and I were trying to figure out what to do for dinner tonight, we realized we had a whole lot of “stuff” in the fridge, mostly leftovers and the last bit of things we’d almost finished during the week. I said, half-jokingly, “Let’s just put it all in a pan and see what happens.” He shrugged and said sure, so that’s what we did.

Dinner tonight, therefore, was fried onion and garlic, leftover hash browns, leftover tortellini, leftover spaghetti with sauce, lettuce, cucumber, and some seasonings all tossed into a pan for a while to see what it would turn into. It actually wasn’t half bad. I wouldn’t necessarily serve it to company, but it was filling and tasty and gave me back at least four or five tupperwares. If I did it again, I’d probably toss an egg in there at some point. Dessert was the last of the super-humongous-ginormous strawberries with a little bit of ice cream.

On the other hand, I’ve *really* gotta do groceries tomorrow.

Cooking that didn’t suck

Could it be? Yes! I cooked something that didn’t explode, impode, or plode in any other way that would cause the concoction to be unfit for eating. I wouldn’t necessarily serve it to anyone else, but it was tasty enough for me, and that’s the important thing.

Essentially, it involved a mish-mash of rice, corn, cheese, and an egg, all fried together on the stove. Strangely tasty and filling. I are pleased, mightily pleased… especially given how most of my cooking usually turns out.

Now if only I could rediscover how to make cookies, I’d be set.