We love Oatmeal/Raisin Cookies but it seems that we had overlooked the remainder of the last batch that I made. They were inside our Cookie Tin (Coincidentally one that was a commemorative tin for Quaker Oatmeal. The Cookies were still good, if a little on the dry side. And since I love recycling leftovers and turning them into new dishes, I decided to recycle the Cookies.
I broke them up and put them in the Food Processor.
I measured the resulting ‘cookie meal’ and then added what I decided would be enough flour to make a viable waffle batter. I then added a proportionate amount of Eggs, Milk and Butter. And voila, we had Oatmeal/Raisin Waffles for Breakfast.
For exact directions on how to recycle the cookies go to Recycled Oatmeal Cookies
As you will see when you read the recipe the recycling did not stop at Waffles. Since we are currently a household of two people and the resulting Waffle Batter was enough to feed four people, I decided to make muffins from the leftover Waffle Batter. Surprisingly, the Muffins turned out to be an excellent accompaniment for our breakfast the following morning. Same ingredients, but turned into a completely new item. The Muffins were served with Scrambled Eggs and Bacon. Fortunately, we were able to finish the Muffins over a couple of days and did not have to recycle them anymore.
There are a couple of ways to make an “Enchilada Casserole”.
#1 – use up leftover enchiladas
#2 – just use tortillas and the other ingredients for enchiladas
If you do not have any leftover enchiladas the simplest way to make the casserole is #2. Either way you make it, it is going to taste the same. The last Enchilada Casserole I made was of the second variety. My husband thinks he doesn’t like Chicken whereas I love Chicken if it is cooked properly (that is, fried, or roasted with lots of garlic, etc.) My husband Ev loves Turkey whereas I think Turkey can be pretty tasteless except at Thanksgiving. Anyways, my Go To Poultry is Chicken whereas Ev’s is Turkey. In between we also like Cornish Hens and Ev loves Duck and Turkey, neither of which are my favorites.
To get back to the Enchilada Casserole, here we go. First of all you are going to need some Enchilada Sauce. You can either buy it canned (usually too spicy for my husband) or make it yourself. If you use canned sauce and it is too spicy, just tame it down with a little Tomato Sauce or Tomato Juice. You can also add a bit of sugar to it.
The photo in the picture was made via the second version. So, here goes. Usually I make my own Sauce but this time it was a jar of Enchilada Sauce purchased from Whole Foods. It turned out that this was going to be a little too spicy for my Husband, so I tamed it down with Tomato Juice.
#1 – Choose a baking dish that is going to be large enough to hold a whole tortilla. 12 x 12 or a 12″ round casserole should do it.
#2 – Cover the bottom of the Baking Dish with a small amount of Enchilada Sauce.
#3 – Pour about 1/4″ to 1/2″ of Enchilada Sauce into a 12″ Frying Pan. Heat it up until it becomes warm and then soften the Tortillas, one at a time in the Sauce. I usually do just then as needed in the assembly.
#4 – Place the softened Tortilla in the Baking Dish. Scatter some of your Protein (this can be diced Chicken, ground Beef or even Shrimp) on the Tortilla. Add some Enchilada Sauce, some shredded Cheese, diced Olives, minced Cilantro, sliced Green Onions, etc. (Whatever choice of ingredients that you like)
#5 – Add another softened Tortillas and proceed as in # 4. I usually make it to be about 3 or 4 layers and then put more shredded Cheese on top with sliced Olives, minced Cilantro, etc.
#6 -If you want your Casserole to be spicy add some chopped Jalapenos or the Pepper of your choice.
$7 – Bake in a 350 degree oven until the casserole is hot and the cheese on top is melted. This will take about 20 – 30 minutes depending on your oven.
Serve Hot with Crema (Sour Cream). You can add Mexican Rice and/or a Salad to go along with the Casserole.
This recipe should serve 2-4 people depending on appetites and other dishes served with it. i usually add a Salad to the meal. You could also serve it with Mexican Rice.
If you are stuck in the house and have a bunch of leftovers either in the refrigerator, pantry or freezer, you may want to check out my ‘Culinary Makeovers’ Articles to help inspire you to create new dishes with your leftovers. Just go to the Search Box and type in Culinary Makeovers and you will be directed to a number of recipes that may give you ideas as to what to do with your leftovers.
I never make New Years Resolutions because I am not prone to keeping them. However, I do make lists of things to do. I am more likely to follow through on my lists than on any resolutions I may make. You may ask, ‘What is the difference?’ Well, a Resolution needs to be kept and if you don’t keep it you don’t feel very good about yourself. However, if you make a list and half the items on the list get done, you will feel that you have accomplished something.
So, here is #1 on My List of Things To Do. Use up the Odds and Ends (Large and Small) of food that may be in my Refrigerator, Freezer or even in the cabinets. Having raised 5 Sons, I have found it hard to cook only for 2 people – even though it has been many years since my Sons have grown and left home. So, sometimes I have more than I need and need to use up what I have left. Since I am not a great fan of leftovers, I usually find ways to turn the leftovers into new dishes. (Sort of like the TV Show ‘Chopped’. However, I have been doing this way before Chopped became a show.
The first time I can remember that I started turning leftovers into new dishes was when I got my first blender – actually I still have it. I got that blender back in the days when they were still being made to last and last it has. I remember that I turned leftover gravy into soup. Now, fast-forward to this year – 2020. I have actually turned several items in the freezer into new dishes.
#1 – A Pork Tenderloin into an Asian Stir-Fry. Where I purchase Pork Loins they are sold in packages of two. I actually cooked both at the same time because a couple of my former students came over for a cooking session. We made Chinese Dumplings and Pork Bao. We had a variety of items so we did not use both Pork Loins so I put the leftover one in the freezer. (This was the weekend before Thanksgiving) Last week, I removed the Pork Loin from the freezer, cut it up into bite-sized pieces and stir fried it with Shitake Mushrooms, thinly sliced Carrots, diced Onions, Cabbage and minced Cilantro. The dish took very little seasoning as the Pork Tenderloin had previously been marinated in a Soy Based Marinade. This dish was served with Jasmine Rice (which is an aromatic soft grain rice grown in Thailand). So, this was a multi-cultural dish incorporating the tastes of Japan, China and Thailand. Very tasty, easy to make and used up the Pork Tenderloin and Vegetables still lingering in my refrigerator.
For a recipe for this Stir-Fry go to http://www.sylveeeskitchen.com/recipes/dinner/pork-tenderloin-stir-fry/
Just keep in mind that all the ingredients are interchangeable and you can use whatever you have in your refrigerator.
It is now that time of year when many of us have a Turkey Carcass left from the Family Holiday Dinners. What do we do with this?
- We throw it away.
- We try to take off as much of the meat that is sticking to the bones
- We make Stock out of it which we can use for Soup, Stews or Gravy.
- Take that carcass and put it into your largest pot along with an Onion (with the peel on), Some freshly washed Carrots, (unpeeled) and the top of a (washed) Celery Stalk which usually has plenty of leaves on it. Put that leafy Celery along with a couple of stalks which have also been washed and cut up.
- Add some herbs such as Parsley, fresh Bail and Oregano and whatever else you like.
- Cover everything with Cold Water up to within a couple of inches of the top of the pot.
- Set on a medium/high flame until the liquid starts simmering, then turn down the flame to low.
- Allow this mixture to simmer all day or until you have the desired strength of flavor that you want.
- Once the cooking period over, move the pot to a cold burner and allow it to cool until you feel that you can handle it safely. Place a large Colander over a large Vessel (large pot or huge bowl and pour the cooked stock through the Colander into the Vessel.
- Use the finished stock for Soup right away or pour into smaller containers and freeze until you are ready to use. This stock will be great for Soups, Stews or Poultry Gravy.
I usually use the stock to make a superb Vegetable Soup which is great for Cold Weather Dining. Your needs and taste buds will direct to use this Stock for your own special purposes.
When I was teaching Foods Classes in High School, the students didn’t mind stripping off the meat from the carcass which we then used to make Turkey Ala King or Turkey Salad or Mac and Cheese with Turkey. Stripping off the meat takes a little bit of patience which probably most of us don’t have but if you have a couple of Kids around (over the age of 10) who wouldn’t doing it you can stretch that turkey even further you could have imaged.
Sorry there is no photo here – for some reason I was not able to post a new one. Will render the situation as soon as possible.
It has been a while since I have been active on this blog. Unfortunately I had a ‘Freak Accident’ almost 3 months ago. I was in the garage opening a rather large box. I had gotten one side of the lid open and when I opened the second side, it flipped and knocked me over. Not knowing that I had fractured (my sacrum) I got myself up, finished what I was doing, cleaned the kitchen among other things. But by 11:30 PM and time to go to bed, I could not walk. Crawling was the only way I was able to get to bed but by 4 AM my Husband and I decided to call 911. The Fire Dept. Paramedics came and took me to the local Hospital where X-Rays were taken and it was determined that there were no breaks. Four days later I was back at the same Emergency Room and a CT was taken, and it was determined that there absolutely no breaks. Finally almost a week after the accident I was taken to our Medical Plan’s Hospital where a MRI was taken and it was finally determined that my Sacrum was fractured. For the next 7 weeks, in spite of the pain medication, I endured horrible and torturous pain – my poor Husband had to wear earplugs every time he helped me up – the pain was so horrible that I couldn’t help but scream.
Fortunately, the pain has finally stopped and I am now trying to learn to walk again without support. It will take a while but now I can sit for a substantial period of time whereas for the first six weeks after the accident I could not. Even though I am still hobbling about, I am able to move around in the kitchen and cook and bake, so time now to get back to my blog. Please keep checking back for new Blogs, Recipes and Kitchen Fun.
It seems that I have skipped Week 9 – will maybe get back to it sometime. And this week I am taking the recipe a bit further. The Outrageous Pretzel Bars are really that! They consist of a Brown Sugar Cake (Brownie-like) and are topped with a Chocolate Fudge made with Sweetened Condensed Milk and Chocolate Chips. More Chocolate Chips are put on top along with crushed Pretzels. And the recipe is huge – they were cut into 24 Bars but maybe should have been cut into 36. The bars are very chocolaty and filling and one cannot really eat much at a time. That being said, my Husband loved the Bars! He is an avid Chocolate Lover whereas I am not. But they were good, especially the next day after they had time to dry out a little.
I took one-third to my Mahjong Group, froze one-third for one of my sons and we tried to eat the other third. Since my husband is very reserved as to how much he eats and I am only an occasional chocolate consumer, we did have some left over. After a week, the leftovers were thoroughly dried out and of course impossible to eat, but being the improvisor that I am, I just couldn’t throw them away.
My Food Reinvention skills came about when my Sons were small and I got my first Blender. I started using leftovers to make other things. The first was gravy that I turned into soup and so on. I have a really yard time throwing food out so the Outrageous Pretzel Bars were the perfect thing to turn into something else.
I broke up the leftover bars and put them into my Food Processor and chopped them up into as fine a crumb as I could. Then I added about 1/3 cup of melted Butter and 1/4 cup Granulated Sugar. (One could just use a Graham Cracker Crust Recipe for this Chocolate Bar Crust) I did use it as a guide but the Butter called for was too much so I only used about 1/3 as stated above.
Next I pressed the Crumb Mixture into the bottom of my 9″ Springform Pan and baked it for about 5 minutes. You could actually make the pie without baking the crust but the oven was already on for something else, so I did bake it. The problem with baking is that it releases some of the butter and then you have to blot it off.
Next I made the Bavarian Creme. I started out by making a Vanilla Soft Custard which is the base for all Bavarian Cremes. Next I incorporated a cup of Whipped Creme into the Custard. Recipe will be found in the recipe section of this blog.
Once the Creme chilled sufficiently I poured it into the Crust and then chilled the whole thing. When it was ready to serve I took off the sides of the Springform and placed the whole thing, (bottom of pan included) on a serving plate and topped with Chocolate Curls. Next I cut it into moderate portions. The Bavarian Creme was actually much less filling than the original Pretzel Bars themselves.
This Week’s Baking Project was Gougeres – a cheesy version of Pate Choux. In this version the Pate Choux is made with Fat Free Milk instead of water and there is also the addition of Cheese. I used Gruyere but Parmesan or other types of semi-hard or hard cheeses can be used. This Project was fun and seemed to have been participated in by more members than any of the others. At least there certainly was a lot of feedback and posting of photos. Not only was this one fun but it was relatively simple and took very little time as compared to the first few projects that we did, especially the Lemon Chiffon Cake (which I loved). The recipe for the Gougeres is posted in the recipe section of this blog but it came from the book “Tartine” which was named after the Restaurant of the same name.
For anyone who has not made Pate Choux before or even for those of us who have, it is always fun to see the marvel of the Choux Dough Puff Up and form these marvelous pockets which can be filled with anything from an Appetizer, to a Main Course or Dessert. I used mine for Sunday Morning Breakfast with Herb and Tomato Scrambled Eggs along with a Fruit Salad dressed with Fresh Basil and Sweet Mint.
Below are the preparation photos:
The Recipe calls for 1 cup Skim (Fat Free) Milk – I had only 2% so used half milk and 1/2 water. I may have gotten better height in the Puffs if I had only used water.
The Milk or Water (whichever you use) is brought to a boil along with the Butter over medium heat. Then the Flour is added all at one time and vigorously beaten until the mixture all comes together. At this time, the mixture is then placed in a Standing Mixer Bowl and the Eggs are added one at a time. If you don’t have a mixer, this can be done by hand with a wooden spoon, but it will take some energy to do so because the Eggs need to be thoroughly beaten into the Dough.
You can also use a Food Processor, but I have found when making Pate Choux n the Food Processor that you usually end up using 1 less Egg than called for. This is because the speed of the Processor is so fast that the ingredients get incorporated more thoroughly and at a faster speed.
Once all the Eggs have been incorporated then you add the Cheese, Chopped Herbs and Pepper. Beat these items in by hand with a wooden spoon.
Next you can form the Gougeres on a lightly greased (I don’t usually grease the pan because there is plenty of butter in the dough but the recipe in mention does say to do so. You can also line the pan with baking parchment or use a Silicon Baking Sheet, which is my preference.
The Puffs are baked at 350 degrees for at least 25 minutes but if you want a darker and crisper puff 45 minutes is recommended. (The older recipes call for a 400 degree oven but they do seem to rise alright at 350 degrees.
If you make the small size they can be eaten warm as Appetizers or accompaniment to Soup or Salad. If you make the larger ones, the tops can be cut off and they can be filled with a creamed mixture or scrambled Eggs as I did. I made Soft Scrambled Eggs using the double boiler and added diced Tomatoes, Baby Spinach and Cilantro just before the Eggs were done. Serve with Bacon or Sausage and a fresh Fruit Salad.
Below are the Members Photos.
Since Cherry Season is in full swing in Southern California it was decided that a second week of baking products with Cherries was in order. So this weeks project was Cherry/Cornmeal Upside Down Cake. The title implies that there is a lot of Cornmeal in the batter, but there was not. However, the Cornmeal was prominent in feel and in taste. Many of the participants like or loved the Cornmeal but I did not. Maybe I was the only one who didn’t like – no one else said anything negative about it. Of course, I am not a Cornbread Lover, so it figures that I would not be too found of the Cornmeal in this recipe. All that being said, it does give a little different feel and taste to the texture of the cake.
One thing that I did like about this recipe was the addition of Balsamic Vinegar. i do love the taste of Balsamic and I for one think that even a little more than the recipe called for could have been used. I do use Balsamic a lot with fruit, especially summer fruits such as berries and melon.
By the way, just because I am not fond of the Cornmeal in the recipe does not mean that I didn’t like it – I did like it – in fact I loved it, probably because of the Cherries which I can’t stop eating when they are in season. They are my ‘All-Time Favorite Fruit’ and there are many fruits which I absolutely love, especially Summer Fruit. My Husband loved the Cake – in fact we ate it for Breakfast at least two times. This cake is a 10″ cake and offers up quite a few pieces. One of my Sons had it for Dessert one night and one of my Stepdaughters also had it for Dessert one night – both on a different night. The Cake keeps well and needles to say everyone who ate it loved it!
With all that Hyperbole out of the way let’s get to the recipe and finished product itself.
The recipe can be found at the web site of Epicurious
The Ingredients that you may not have on hand are 3 cups of Cherries (most of us used Bing), Balsamic Vinegar and Cornmeal. Everything else in the recipe is pretty common in most kitchens. The recipe does say to use an ‘oven-proof skillet’ but if you don’t have one that can be used as a baking pan, just use a 10″ layer pan or other similar container which is what I did.
You will need to wash and pit your Cherries before starting the recipe but everything else in the recipe is pretty straight forward. Below are some photos of the different steps in the process:
Measure and Wash your Cherries, then remove the pits with either a Hand Cherry Pitter or a Multiple Pitter. (See last Weeks’ Post – Cherry Clafoutis)
Pitters can be found at your local Culinary Store or at Amazon.com.
Or you can do as one of our members did and use chopsticks. You can also do it the very ‘old-fashioned’ way and use a darning needle to push out the pits.
The next thing to do is to melt the Butter with the Brown Sugar and then add the Cherries and bring them to a boil. Shut off the heat after about a minute or so – just to give the Brown Sugar a chance to melt.
Now make your Batter – it is easiest to do this in a Food Processor but if you don’t have one then use whatever would be easiest for you. Then whip the Whites in a Standing Mixer or with a portable mixer. DO NOT TRY TO WHIP THE WHITES IN THE FOOD PROCESSOR – They will just get overheated and not whip properly.
Next gently fold the Whites into the Batter. You can do this in the Food Processor but only use the Pulse Button so that you do not over-mix.
After the Whites are folded into the Batter it is time to pour the Batter over the Cherries and finally to bake the cake.
The Cake is baked when a toothpick or cake tester is inserted into the cake and comes out clean.
Allow the Baked Cake to cool for at least 5 minutes before inverting onto a large plate. In the Photo above right, you can see that the Cherries gravitated towards the edges, but it still tasted good and when sliced and served with Ice Crema or Whipped Cream one cannot see that the Cherries are not completely covering the cake.
Serve warm with Ice Cream or Whipped Cream. The Cake also tastes good cold or at room temperature.
MEMBERS PHOTOS – Featured Photo this week belongs to Kristy Gobright
Cherries are a relatively expensive fruit but when you consider that their season is so short you may be a little more inclined to spend the money on them if you can. I can remember when the price was way lower than they are now but things have changed and Farm Workers are now making more of a ‘living wage’ when they were decades ago. And if you think you are paying a lot of money for Cherries just look at what Christine Rola Biskaduros had to pay for them. (Photo above right) Christine lives in Shanghai and I guess the Cherries were imported although I did think that Cherries do grow in China but I may be wrong.
Elizabeth Bernhardt Mockapetris
June is Cherry Season in California and they are plentiful indeed! All the Markets are featuring them and they are readily available at your local Farmer’s Market where you know they have recently been picked – no shipping, no mishandling – just great fresh Cherries. Both Bing and Ranier are available but for today’s recipe we are using Bing. Bing provide much more color and flavor and are perfect for baking.
If you are lucky enough to be close to Cherry Orchards (we used to go to Cherry Valley in Beaumont) to pick Cherries when I was growing up and I won’t tell you what the price was then – you would flip as you compare it to what we are paying today. When my sons were young we went to Leona Valley which is North of the Conjeo – prices were still good then as compared to today. One of the great things about taking your children to pick Cherries is that (at least when we did it) the owners said you could eat what you want as you were picking them. Don’t worry – it didn’t hurt the farmers as you can only eat so many as you are picking.
To make the Cherry Clafoutis, you have to pit the Cherries. When I was growing my Mother and I used to use a darning needle to push the pits out of the Cherries. You can imagine how long that took. Today you can buy Cherry Pitters to help you do the job. I have one that pits the Cherries one at a time and one that does it in multiples. The one that does it in multiples is from Germany and does a great job, but you do have to sort through the pitted Cherries to make sure that all the pits were removed. it is easy for one or two to get through the chute without having their pits removed. There are multiple Cherry Pitters available at Amazon – enough to confuse you about which one to buy.
The recipe for the Cherry Clafoutis is available at ‘Bake from Scratch’. Just click on the previous ‘Cherry Clafoutis’ and you will get there.
I used to teach this recipe to my International Food Classes – there are a few differences between the one I used and this one. I think that I prefer this one more because I love Cream and this is what this one uses. My old recipe used Milk and this one uses Cream. In addition, my old recipe just had you putting the Cherries on the bottom of the pan and this one has you baking a thin layer of the Custard before adding the Cherries. This makes it much easier to serve and get those luscious cherries on each serving.
One you get the Cherries pitted, it is quick and easy to make – the Clafoutis is best served warm but it can also be served cold. We like it with Whipped Cream but Ice Cream is good too or you can just serve it as is.
When you read the recipe you will be amazed that originally the pits were left in the Cherries – you can imagine what eating it must have been like! The reason that the pits were left was for the flavor but today the flavor of the pits is replaced with Almond Flavoring. The reason for this is that Almonds, Peaches and Cherries all have similar flavor characteristics. Just compare a Peach Pit with an Almond and you will see the similarity. I know a Cherry Pit does not look like an Almond or a Peach but the flavor profile is very similar.
BELOW ARE PHOTOS OF THE PREPARATION PROCESS: