Friday, December 3, 2010

Food in Review

Okay, what do you do the week after Thanksgiving when you have a fridge packed with leftovers?  Oh yeah, you know it.  You morph them into a brand new week of deliciousness!

Friday: Since we had the requisite turkey sandwich (the served open-faced with homemade cranberry sauce, cornbread dressing, and turkey breast dripping in lovely gravy) on Thursday, I was sort of done with traditional meals.  For one, we had a Thanksgiving luncheon on Tuesday that had so many left overs that I also ate it for lunch Wednesday.  Then add Thanksgiving lunch with the family and a drool-worthy turkey sandwich for dinner, and I was totally carbed out!  Well, perhaps not totally, because Friday’s meal did indeed have carbs.  This time they were in the form of whole wheat linguine.  I can guarantee you that other than the bottom slice of bread on the turkey sandwich, none of the other carbs I’d had this week were the good kind.  Feeling the need for greens and whole grains, I opted for turkey tetrizinni.  I sauteed half an onion and a sliced portobello in olive oil and garlic while the pasta boiled away.  Then I added shredded turkey breast.  I deglazed with veggie stock, then added a spoonful of leftover gravy, which added a ton of turkey goodness and thickened the sauce quite a bit.  Drained pasta met up with the tetrizinni sauce, then I added frozen peas and a couple dollops of low fat sour cream.  The two mingled in-pan until it thickened up and coated the pasta beautifully.  I served this atop a bed of organic baby spinach.  It was delicious, but I should have either used a short-cut pasta or perhaps a grain like rice or wheat berries (which was the husband’s suggestion).  The linguine was just not quite the right delivery tool for that delicious sauce!  

Saturday: Still in “we need more veggies in our lives STAT” mode as well as needing to use up as many item in my fridge as necessary.....a casserole was born!  Isn’t that always the way.  My best casseroles are of a kitchen-sink nature, and those almost always turn out to be the best kind.  This was a mexican-inspired kitchen-sinker.  The goal was to come out with something similar to a layered enchilada bake.  As prep, I sauteed onion and garlic in olive oil.  Then I added handfuls of spinach until the container was empty.  I allowed the spinach to wilt just slightly before added some pulled pork I had leftover from enjoying lunch out with the hubby while running errands.  I admit, I ordered the pulled pork with full intentions of putting it into dinner.  Now for the layering.  A can of Muir Glen fire roasted crushed tomatoes served as enchilada sauce.  I pour a bit in the bottom then layered in Ezekiel sprouted corn tortillas, then a layer of the spinach and pork mixture, next (here’s the creative bit) when blobs of my mom’s oh-my-word-this-is-amazing corn bake with jalapenos, half the remaining can of tomatoes, and shredded smoked cheddar.  Repeat starting with tortillas and ending in cheese.  A note about the corn bake, I don’t have the recipe even though she’s made it for eons.  I can get it if anyone is interested.  It’s like a custard, but with corn.  The casserole spent 20 minutes in the oven at 350 then was dished out and topped with sour cream and salsa verde.  Out of this world good.  I love using things in less-than-usual ways.  I put pulled pork into the weirdest dishes!  I just love the stuff.

Sunday: Chili time!  White chili, which is something I’ve never made.  This chili consisted of a bag of pre-soaked northern white beans, half a sauteed onion and three cloves of garlic, a serrano pepper, and two small cans of green chilies.  I cooked it in veggie broth, water, and some more of the gravy.  Seasonings included cumin, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and oregano.  Then I simmered if for several hours.  A dollop of sour cream is always welcome, no matter what color the chili, right?  I also added some Mexican hot sauce to mine.  The hubby didn’t.  He liked it as is with the sour cream.  One the side, I pan-seared little patties of the cornbread dressing.  I think my husband will be requesting this on all subsequent thanksgivings with my family.

Monday:  Leftovers of the chili were served exactly the same as the day before....but oh.....isn’t chili better the next day?!  This was.  The beans had absorbed all the goodness of the broth.  I loved it.  

Tuesday: Realizing that we’d nearly missed out window for our monthly trip to BJs (where we had our first date, where he proposed officially, and where our rehearsal dinner was held), so we seized the opportunity and ate out.  

Wednesday: I bought pumpkin mezzaluna (aka pumpkin-filled ravioli shaped like half moons) from Central Market (their brand) a few weeks ago, and it was one of those meals that never was.  Sometimes I like meals that don’t end up happening because they make for easy meals later that don’t require a huge amount of thought.  The only thing I had to come up with was a sauce.  What sort of sauce do you use with pumpkin?  Pumpkin sauce seems too.....pumpkiny.  Marinara seems off.  Coconut curry sauce?  Don’t mind if I do!  I sauteed about a ⅓ of an onion, two cloves of garlic, and an inch of grated ginger in olive oil, then added a hefty shake of curry powder, ground ginger, and crushed red pepper flake.  Half a can of light coconut milk was added and allowed to reduce by half.  At this point, I boiled the frozen ravioli because they don’t take long to cook at all.  I wanted the sauce to be smooth and creamy so I whirred it up with my immersion blender.  The sweet, spicy coconut sauce really worked well with the slightly sweet pumpkin filling in the ravioli.  We also agreed that creamy goat cheese would go great with the pasta if we didn’t feel like using the curry sauce next time.  

Thursday: This is it!  The last of the leftovers.  I saved a few bites of turkey just for this.  I soaked a cup of kamut overnight then set it a’bubbling with three cups of liquid which was a mixture of the remaining coconut milk and veggie stock, mixed in risotto style.  The kamut can take up to an hour to cook, even with the soaking, so I knew it had to be started right away.  After that, I diced up a butternut squash and roasted it in salt, pepper, and olive oil at 350 until tender and a little brown at the edges.  Brussel sprouts were added after 40 minutes.  I mixed everything together with a handful of golden raisins and roasted almonds.  This is the same idea as my stuffed acorn squash, but butternuts just don’t have a big enough opening for my grain mixture. 

And here's Riley showing off her very early Christmas gift....a new bed!  She completely snubbed her old one once this one was put out.  Go us!

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