Enough For Me & You

Whenever I make a recipe that provides enough for leftovers, my appreciation for the recipe doubles. Why, you may ask? Because it gives me either a delicious option for lunch the next day, or even better, a night off in the kitchen! A lot of recipes I make suggest that they are at least 4 servings, but I rarely find myself with leftovers (between the two of us in the house). So, whenever there’s a huge casserole or Dutch oven meal on the week’s menu, I can count on that providing me some type of leftover; whether it’s enough for one or two people is another story.

As always, I try to make sure that my meals are as balanced as possible; vegetables, protein, healthy fats… you know the drill. Since I take medication daily, my gastroenterologist likes for me to have blood work every so often just to make sure the medicine isn’t affecting anything negatively. I actually just had some routine blood work last week, and they mailed me a copy of the results. I’m happy to report that pretty much everything was within the “normal” range! I’ve got plenty of blood protein, calcium, and all the other goodies that people often swear vegetarians don’t get enough of. So even though my gut doesn’t work properly, my blood is in good shape! At least I know I’m doing something right.

But now that we’ve talked about my blood, let’s get back to food… I’m currently trying to ramp up my mileage (only a little) and intensity (a little more) for a half marathon in April. I’m actually running two half marathons in April – the RU Unite Half Marathon that I’ve run the last 3 years (and was my first!), and then a week later the Nike Women’s Half. I’m hoping to PR at the first, and then enjoy the second. I would love to run a 1:45 (or faster, of course), and I think it’s possible since I had to walk a few minutes due to a side cramp last year and finished in 1:47. As always, running has seriously increased my appetite, which is huge to begin with. So, when I found a big ‘ole strata recipe on Martha Stewart’s website, I knew I had to make it.

I had to make some changes to the recipe, most notably because one of the main ingredients was sausage. I’ve been completely obsessed with soy chorizo the past few months, so I knew that would be a perfect replacement. I’ve had the soy chorizo from both Trader Joe’s and Stop & Shop, and they are both equally delicious, and easy to use in anything from a burrito to an omelet. This particular recipe includes things I love; spicy chorizo, eggs, bread (yay carbs!), cheese, and a solid dose of leafy greens. It’s perfect to whip together before work and then cook when you get home, make the night before having brunch, or do all at once (since it really doesn’t take that long). I love the versatility of stratas, and this recipe is no different!


Vegetarian Chorizo & Chard Strata adapted from Martha Stewart
– Serves 4 –

1 package of Soy Chorizo (or 1lb. of regular chorizo)
1 tbsp olive oil*
1 small onion, diced (can be yellow, white, Spanish)
1 bunch of Chard (Swiss or red), roughly chopped
1 baguette (day old is best), sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup of smoked Gruyere or Gouda cheese
7 eggs
2 1/2 cups of milk (any dairy or non-flavored and unsweetened non-dairy kind will do)
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a medium sauté pan, cook the chorizo and set aside.
3. In the same pan, add the olive oil and sauté the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. *If you are using real chorizo, you do not need to add the oil – you can use the fat from the meat.
4. Next add in the chard, salt, and pepper, and cook until just beginning to wilt, about 5 minutes. 
5. In a 9×11 greased baking dish, layer half the chorizo, followed by the chard and onion mixture, then sliced baguette. Follow with another layer of chorizo and then chard. 
6. In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs and milk. Pour over the casserole dish, doing your best to distribute evenly. Top with cheese. Let sit for at least 30 minutes, but can go up to overnight. 
7. Bake covered with foil for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Let sit for at least 5 minutes before slicing and serving! 

Do you have any favorite dishes you make that always give you leftovers?

More Leftovers, More Creativity

An 18.5 pound turkey for 8 people will leave you with a lot of leftovers. So much, in fact, that my fiancé has had a turkey sandwich for lunch every day so far this week, and we’ve had turkey incorporated in each dinner as well. I like turkey, don’t get me wrong, but I wouldn’t mind not eating it again for awhile.

Even though my fiancé would be happy with just heating up a Thanksgiving leftovers plate night after night, that just won’t cut it for me. Sure, I love mashed potatoes and stuffing and all that good stuff, but for me, it needs to be jazzed up after 3+ days of consumption. So, I decided to make what I’m calling Thanksgiving Leftover Casserole on Tuesday, and Turkey Noodle Soup on Wednesday. Since everything was already prepared it was a matter of assembling the ingredients and warming them up – score!

The Thanksgiving Leftover Casserole was pretty awesome. I usually don’t like when my food gets really combined on my plate, but for whatever reason, I encourage the comingling of flavors on my plate during Thanksgiving. This casserole did just that; it was a big blob of deliciousness and let’s be honest, your food doesn’t always have to be pretty. Of course the ingredients you use and the measurements will depend on what you have available and what you want to use, so you can simply use the recipe below as a guide! I’d be interested to hear the combinations anyone else comes up with.

Thanksgiving Leftover Casserole

Sliced Turkey
Mashed Potatoes
Mashed Turnips (or other Thanksgiving sides)
Shredded Cheddar Cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a 9×9 greased baking dish, layer stuffing, turkey, turnips, mashed potatoes, and cheddar cheese.
3. Continue to do so until you’ve used what you have left, or however much you want to use.
4. Bake about 20 – 25 minutes, until all layers are warmed and cheese is melted.

I had planned on making a few different things throughout the week, but due to the plethora of Turkey, it wasn’t until Thursday that we actually ate something that wasn’t completely turkey based, but instead was simply an addition. On Wednesday, though, as I mentioned we had Turkey Noodle Soup. The inspiration came from The Runner’s Kitchen, who posted her own version of the soup earlier in the week. Aside from the leftover turkey, I simply added some diced celery and onion, and the only pasta that would seemingly work, spaghetti (that I broke in half) into chicken broth. I’ve been making quite a few soups lately, and they all start with either a chicken or vegetable broth base. They’ve all been super flavorful, and really easy (I’m talking 10 or less ingredients that you simply throw in the pot and wait about 30 minutes).

So if you still have turkey left over, even after making a quesadilla, a casserole, and having it for lunch, try this soup to finish it off!

Turkey Noodle Soup

½ box noodle pasta (any will do – egg noodle, spaghetti, fettuccine)
1 can low sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup water
1 cup sliced and shredded turkey
½ yellow onion
2 celery stalks
1/2 cup corn

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
Red pepper flakes

1. Bring separate pot of water to a boil, cook pasta about 5 minutes (it’ll finish cooking in the soup)
2. While pasta is cooking, chop onion and celery, and sauté till almost translucent (about 5 minutes)
3. Warm chicken broth over medium heat in large pot, adding pasta, celery and onion, followed by turkey and seasonings (salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, etc.). Heat for about 20 minutes, enjoy with some crackers!

Not Your Typical Burger ‘n Fries

Sometimes you just need some less-than-super-healthy-for-you food. This week’s dinners involved a lot of meat, which has been different for us since we really don’t eat meat much these days. There were quite a few yummy recipes in my queue that involved meat, and I didn’t feel like trying to find substitutes, so I went with it and I’m glad I did!

I had been all set to whip up Mexican Stuffed Shells (numero dos) for Thursday night’s dinner, until the crafty Katie of You Are What You Eat or Reheat posted yet another mouth watering, less-than-good-for-you dish. Seriously reading her blog makes me feel like we’re food twins. Mexican Stuffed shells? Fiesta in my mouth. Pepperoni and cheese puff balls? Classless deliciousness. Tater tot casserole? Been there, loved that. So, when she posted her latest weekly installment of “White Trash Wednesday,” I knew I needed to make it immediately. Enter the Burger and Fries Pot Pie.

There’s been a trend in most of my dishes recently; casseroles, soups, chili, and savory pies have definitely become the front runners for weeknight dinners. I think the big reason why I enjoy them so much is because they make a lot, and this leaves my fiancé and I enough for leftovers either the next day for lunch, or even the next night for dinner. So when I realized that I could have a burger and fries in a casserole dish with likely leftovers, I was all about it.

Since I hadn’t planned on making this at the beginning of the week, we had to stop on our way home to grab a can of diced tomatoes and frozen French fries. Luckily there’s a pretty stocked Target on our way home, but that often times results in me spending more money than I should. Seriously, is there anyone out there that can go into Target and actually leave with just what they went there for?

Other than browning the meat and onions (and some habaneros for good measure), all that’s required of you is to layer everything into a baking dish. As much as I love cooking and making extravagant and delicious meals, sometimes it’s just as enjoyable to throw a few things together, put it in the oven, and be done with it. Yep, despite my façade of running, cooking & baking, working, going to school, and trying to have a smidgen of a social life, I’m a lazy girl at heart. And to be honest, as Katie says, we all have a little white trash in us.

Burger ‘n Fries Pot Pie
– Serves 4 –

1 1/2lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (4 oz)
2 cups frozen crispy French-fried potatoes (from 20-oz bag)

1. Heat oven to 450°F. In 12-inch nonstick skillet, cook beef and onion over medium-high heat about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is thoroughly cooked; drain well. Sprinkle flour over beef mixture. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in tomatoes; heat to boiling. Remove from heat.
2. In ungreased 1 1/2-quart casserole, spread beef mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Arrange frozen potatoes evenly in single layer on top.
3. Bake uncovered about 20 minutes or until potatoes are golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Meatless Monday!

I had been reading about Meatless Mondays for awhile, and recently started following them on Twitter. Though I don’t necessarily do it every Monday, I do go meatless a few times a week. Yesterday I stuck true to the name, though, and had a meatless Monday by making a Tex-Mex summer squash casserole. It sounds kind of weird, but it was really good.

I actually found the recipe on CalorieCount.About.com, which I had joined right after graduation to ensure I didn’t blow up, post-college 15 style. The site is actually pretty decent to track calorie intake and what you burn, but it’s a lot of upkeep so I abandoned it. Before I did, though, I grabbed some user-posted recipes including what I made last night.

I’ve been leaning more and more towards vegetarian dishes, for a bunch of reasons. They’re healthy, flavorful, and really versatile. Plus, since I’m almost always just cooking for two, they last longer. It’s much easier to ensure that the veggies haven’t gone bad instead of meat. And I feel better about myself and my choices when I eat an all veggie meal. However, I still can’t pass up the occasional burger, salmon, and things like that. But like my fiancé says, when given the choice, I’ll choose veggies and tofu over meat. So I’ll stick to my claim of being a halfetarian!

The recipe is for 10 servings, but I cut everything in half, which required some serious math. Since it was our main dish, we each had two servings and had enough left over for lunch the next day. The jalapeño added really nice spice, and the chunky salsa added some more veggies which are always welcome. I would definitely make this again, as a main dish or even a side dish. After cutting all the veggies I just had to put it in the oven and wait… Nice and easy!

Tex-Mex Summer Squash Casserole
– Makes 10 Servings –

10 cups of summer squash, sliced
4 1/2 oz. green chilies, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup flour
4 scallions, sliced
2/3 cup yellow onion, chopped
4 1/2 oz jalapeños, chopped (about 2)
2 1/4 cups shredded Mexican/taco blend cheese
3/4 cup chunky salsa
1/4 cup red onion, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Coat 9 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray
3. Combine squash, yellow onion, chilies, jalapenos, salt and 3/4 cup of cheese in a large bowl. Sprinkle with flour, and toss to coat. Spread mixture into dish and cover with foil.
4.. Bake the casserole until bubbling and squash is tender, 35-45 minutes. Spoon salsa onto the casserole and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 cups of cheese.
5. Bake, uncovered, until golden and heated through about 20-30 minutes.
6. When ready to serve, sprinkle with scallions and red

Happy veggie nomzing!