In my previous post I mentioned that I was going to try and use up all the food in my freezer and/or refrigerator. I have made pretty good progress but have not got around to posting it. This post will be sort of fun because as the title suggests, it is a ‘trickle-down’ recycle or in other words, recycling the recycled. Now, it is not really like it sounds. The main ingredients are recycled only once and the twice recycled is just sort of using the leftovers as you will see when you read the rest of the post.
My husband Everett, loves Mac and Cheese. I sometimes make it but he wants it so often, that I tried resorting to purchasing small portions of it from Trader Joe’s and/or Bob Evans Mac and Cheese from the local market. While these are fairly good products, the Mac and Cheese that I make is so much better that I decided to make a large portion of it – having it for dinner one night and then packaging the rest in lunch size container and freezing it for use when needed. I made so much sauce that there was actually some leftover. You can put a lot of Cheese Sauce in the Macaroni but only so much!
So, the first recycled product was Cauliflower made with the leftover Cheese Sauce. Cauliflower is good for you but taste wise, just so so. But I couldn’t resist the pretty heads that had at our local Farmer’s Market so of course I purchased one.
Before I continue with the recycling portion of this post listed below are the nutritional benefits of cauliflower.
Calories per serving 25
Fiber 3 grams
Vitamin C 77% of the RDI
Vitamin K 20% of the RDI
Vitaming B6 11%
Pantothenic Acid 7%
So, as you can see whether or not you specifically love or don’t love cauliflower, it is beneficial to eat it. So, with this in mind I did cook the Cauliflower by separating the segments and washing it thoroughly and then cooking it in the microwave. Vegetables are about the only thing that I will cook in the microwave and cauliflower cooks up in a manner of a few minutes. When we were ready to eat dinner, I just put the covered dish of cauliflower into the microwave for about 2-3 minutes depending on the quantity and your microwave. Then I removed it from the microwave and topped it with the leftover Cheese Sauce from the Mac and Cheese. Voila! Cauliflower with a Cheesy Sauce tastes quite good.
But we are only two people who can eat just so much cauliflower at one time and since I don’t like using leftovers without doing something to change them I did do something quite unusual to recycle the Cheesy Cauliflower and this was to make Hamburger Buns! Yes! Hamburger Buns made from Cauliflower. Now, these are not Buns for people who want gluten-free bread products as there is definitely wheat flour in these buns.
Here is the procedure for making the Buns! (Or go to recipes (bread) for more concise directions.
- I had approximately 1 cup of Cheesy Cauliflower segments left over which I pulverized in the Food Processor.
- I added 1 cup of warm water to the pulverized Cheesy Cauliflower along with 1 tablespoon of Active Dry Yeast and 1 Tbsp. of Sugar.
- Next I added 2 cups All-Purpose Flour to the mixture and ran the processor just long enough to mix the ingredients together.
- Once the foregoing ingredients were well-blended I changed the chopping blade to the dough blade and added more Flour to the mixture as needed. I ended up adding an additional 2 cups of flour so that there 4 cups used altogether.
- I ran all the ingredients together for one minute and then transferred the dough to a greased and floured bowl and covered it with plastic wrap.
- Once the Dough had doubled in size (approximately 1 hour depending on the warmth of the room) I punched the Dough down and formed it into buns.
- I shaped the buns two different ways:
- a. I rolled out the Dough and cut circle with a large round cutter.
- b. I then kneaded the scraps together and divided them into segments which I rolled into balls and then flattened them.
- c. The second method yielded small buns which would be ideal for children or those with small appetites.. For those with large appetites, the first method would be more appropriate.
- The shaped buns were placed on greased baking sheets which had been sprinkled with cornmeal and then covered. Once the buns had risen to double their size, I placed them in a cold oven and turned the heat on to 375 degrees. Placing the buns in a cold oven gives them a little more raising time and gives a lighter product.
- Baking time was approximately 20 minutes or until they are nicely browned on top and on the bottom as well. You can lift one up with a metal spatula to check the bottom.
We used the buns for Burgers and had quite a few leftover for other sandwiches as well. We used the larger buns for Steak and Mushroom Sandwiches the following night. Nope – not leftover Steak although there was some leftover from this dinner for lunch the following day.
Here we are in November and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. If you haven’t planned your complete Thanksgiving Dinner Menu yet here are some suggestions. For the Stuffing, your Side Dishes, Desserts and leftovers for the days following Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is on the horizon and many families will be busy preparing food and enjoying it with their loved ones. If you love to cook and even if you don’t but are going to be cooking listed below are the links to some delicious recipes that you may enjoy for your Thanksgiving Meal. Take a look at them and then try out one or two or three or all. When you do, please let me know how you, your family and friends enjoyed them.
CURRIED FRUIT STUFFING – a little different twist on Thanksgiving Stuffing – the Curry and Fruit give your stuffing additional flavor in a delicious way. This recipe uses Traditional Stuffing Ingredients with the addition of Apple, Apricots and Golden Raisins or whatever you wish to use plus Curry Powder. It is delicious and quite tasty with the addition of the fruit.
GOLDEN SQUASH JUBILEE – is a simple Vegetable Dish made with only 4 ingredients:
2 lbs. Banana Squash – shredded
1 cup dried Apricots – chopped
½ Cup firmly packed Brown Sugar
¼ cup Butter
This dish can be cooked in the Microwave or baked in the Oven.
CREAMED SPINACH – Spinach is one of my favorite Vegetables and this version is delicious, even for non-Spinach lovers. It is also versatile and can be turned into a Creamed Spinach Soup just by adding some Vegetable Stock and a little more Cream or Milk. A great recipe for Thanksgiving and the days beyond.
MASHED POTATOES – be sure to use Russet Potatoes, the baking variety. (you need to use a Potato that will crumble when baked so that they will mash easily) DO NOT USE WAXY POTATOES as they will not mash properly.
TURKEY FRITTATA – this is a great dish to use with most any kind of leftover – it is an omelet made with Onions, Potatoes, Tomatoes and Cheese as well as the leftover Turkey. A Frittata is good for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner.
TURKEY CROQUETTES – these are made with leftover Turkey, Onions and a smattering of other Vegetables – they are breaded and then fried and served with Remoulade Sauce.
TURKEY POT PIE – made with leftover Turkey, Vegetables and a Rough Puff Pastry or purchased Puff Pastry if you prefer. Great for leftover Turkey, Chicken or whatever else you have. Serve with a Salad and you have a complete meal.
So, here we have a variety of recipes, some of which you can use for your Thanksgiving Dinner and beyond with the leftovers.
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 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.
We love Pancakes as I assume most people do. When I was cooking for 7 or 6 or 5 and so on – there were not usually any leftovers when I made Pancakes or Waffles. Now that we are only 2, making a small batch of Pancake or Waffle Batter is almost impossible and rather useless. You can always use the leftover Waffle Batter to make Pancakes or more Waffles the following day or two and you can always use the leftover Pancake Batter for more Pancakes. Unless you make your Pancake Batter somewhat thick, you’d better not use it for Waffles the next day. I like my Pancakes on the thin and light side, so the leftover batter does not do well in the waffle iron. So this morning for Breakfast, I took yesterday’s leftover Pancake Batter and made Pancakes and Eggs with it. A very simple thing to do.
I used my Omelet Pan and made two Pancakes, one for my Husband and one for myself. Next I made Easy-Over Eggs and put one on top of each Pancake. Add a couple of strips of Bacon, a glass of Juice and a cup of Coffee or a glass of Milk and Voila, you have Breakfast. Easy, Simple and Fast and no wasted Pancake Batter. The Pancakes take the place of Bread. Very simple, like 1 – 2 – 3 and you are done!
Comfort Food is Food that warms the body and the soul. It makes you feel good and satisfied after eating it. I think Comfort Food is different for different cultures and different people but there are variations within the dishes that we call ‘Comfort Food’. The differences are not so much in the main ingredients but in the preparation techniques and the seasonings used. Here is another great Comfort Food that really warms you inside – Vegetable Soup – it can be served as a complete meal with the addition of some protein and delicious fresh bread. It can also be served as a first course and the leftovers are great for lunch.
I love to make Vegetable and it is one of my favorite ways of cleaning out the Vegetable in my refrigerator. If you have ever wondered what you are going to do with all those vegetables that you just can’t seem to getting around to use or even if like I do, you have little bits and little bits of that, Vegetable Soup is the perfect vehicle for using up those items. So when I taught school, I taught my students how to make ‘Clean Out the Refrigerator’ Vegetable Soup.
What you will need is a large pot and some Olive Oil and whatever you can forage from your refrigerator. If you don’t have items in your refrigerator that you can use, you can always visit your local Farmer’s Market or Grocery Store to pick up whatever you wish to put in your soup. For the last batch I made, I used Onions, (a must), Celery, Carrots, Mushrooms, Tomatoes and Tomato Paste, Frozen Peas and Corn. For the batch before this one I used a Sweet Potato and Spinach. Visit vegetable-soup for the complete recipe.
Saute your Vegetables (starting with the Onion and Mushrooms) in Olive Oil. I always salt the Mushrooms as they do need and it helps to leech out some of the water in their pores. Once they have cooked and started caramelizing add the remaining fresh Vegetables and dried herbs. For the liquid I use either de-fatted Turkey, Chicken or Beef Broth, depending on what is in my freezer. Vegetable Soup does not need to cook for a long time – you do not want really mush vegetables. It is much better to have some texture left to bite into. About 10 minutes before serving bring the soup up to boiling and add about 1 cup uncooked Pasta. Once the Pasta is ‘al dente’ add fresh Herbs (in this case two kinds of Basil), and frozen Peas and/or Corn if you are going to use them. A couple of minutes is all you need for these frozen Vegetables.
To make a complete meal out of your Vegetable Soup, add some Protein such as Tofu (for Vegans), Chicken, Sliced Hot Dogs or Sausage or Turkey. Any one of the above make a great addition to your soup which is also delicious without it. Just serve it with some Hot Fresh Bread.
Comfort Food is Food that warms the body and the soul. It makes you feel good and satisfied after eating it. I think Comfort Food is different for different cultures and different people but there are variations within the dishes that we call ‘Comfort Food’. The differences are not so much in the main ingredients but in the preparation techniques and the seasonings used.
There are also variations in Winter Weather throughout the world and there are not many days that we can call Winter Weather in Sunny Southern California but this year , January is definitely Winter and Cold it is! Wet and Cold that is! Not complaining as we need the rain and cold can be fun for a little while, but all that aside, what do you eat when it is cold. Our normal Salads and Vegies and light meals don’t work when the weather is cold. We have to resort to old ‘Standbys from Childhood and our Mother’s favorites. One of these in our family is Stuffed Cabbage. Put together Green Cabbage, Seasoned Ground Beef and Tomatoes in a Sweet and Sour Sauce and serve with rice or pasta and you have a delicious bone warming meal.
So this is what I did the other night. I made Stuffed Cabbage but cheated a little bit as I had preformed Meatballs in the freezer. Having raised five sons I have a difficult time cooking small quantities of food for the 2 of us who make up our household now, so I usually make large quantities and freeze what we don’t eat for future use. The Meatballs were frozen in a single layer so as to make it easy to remove them and use them as needed. If I didn’t have the Meatballs I would have made the complete recipe from scratch as per the directions in the recipe itself. http://www.sylveeeskitchen.com/stuffed-cabbage/ Here are the step by step directions and photos for preparing this delicious and ‘heart warming’ dish.
First of all make sure you have all the ingredients. If you have to shop for some of them, check your staples and seasonings before going to the market.
In addition to Ground Beef (or Chicken or Turkey) you will also need Tomato Sauce, Lemons, Brown Sugar and Salt and Pepper. Instead of Tomato Sauce as per the recipe, I used ground Tomatoes which have much more flavor and body. Shown below is one of my favorite tomato products.
If you don’t use the whole can place the leftovers in a covered container and refrigerate until needed. They should keep up until a week depending on how cold your refrigerator is.
In order to roll the meat in the Cabbage Leaves you will have to soften them. The best way to do this is to:
1 – Core the Cabbage and remove any bad outer leaves.
2 – Bring a large pot of water (shown belown) to the boiling. Add the whole head of Cabbage, turn the heat down to simmer and leave the cabbage in the simmering water for about 5 minutes or until the outer leaves soften enough to be able to roll them.
3 – Remove the Cabbage from the hot water (I use a colander for this) and remove as many leaves as have softened or as many as you will need if the whole head has softened.
4 – If need be, return the head to the simmering water and remove as needed.
5 – Place the leaves on a cutting board and cut out the hard part that was closest to the core.
6 – Place a scoop of meat on each leaf and wrap the leaf around the meat mixture. Use clean Kitchen String to tie the rolls so they don’t fall apart in the cooking process.
Coarsely slice some of the remaining cabbage and place in the bottom of the vessel you are going to cook the Cabbage Rolls in. This will serve as a bed for the rolls. Next place the rolls on top of the sliced cabbage and then pour the sauce over all.
Bring to a boil over medium high heat and then turn the heat down to medium. Cook for about 45 minutes or longer, depending on the size of the rolls. Use Kitchen Shears to cut and remove the string before the next step.
I like to add an additional Vegetable and in this case I added sliced Carrots. They only need to cook for about 5 minutes or until they are barely fork tender. The residual heat will continue to cook them once the vessel is removed from the heat. If you use peas or corn, the cooking time will be shorter.
Serve with Rice, Pasta or Couscous. This is a delicious heart-warming and body warming dish that is perfect for winter weather. Vegans can also make by using a Barley or Rice in place of meat in the filling.
The City of Fillmore, CA is known as the ‘Last, Best Small Town’. Small it is, as it only incorporates an area of 3.4 square miles. But small as it is, it is still an incorporated city since 1914. The city gets its name from J. A. Fillmore who was a general superintendent for the Southern Pacific Railroad which came to the Santa Clara River Valley in 1887.
Fillmore is located 39 minutes north of Thousand Oaks traveling on the 23 North. The 23 North ends at Moorpark, so you have to exit the Freeway and travel down Los Angeles Avenue to get to the roads taking you to the 23 North. (It is well signed, so you can’t miss it) (Google also gives you correct directions) It is a mountainous route with lots of turns (and this time lots of road work being done) One of the nice things about this drive is that you get to view the Orchards and farms that you thought had disappeared from the area. (Fortunately, only the obvious ones facing the Freeway have been the culprit of more and more condos and homes.) So the Santa Clara River Valley of which Fillmore is a part, still is well endowed with agriculture, fortunately.
As you enter the city limits the sign proclaims that the population is 14,000 and the elevation is 469 ft. The sign looked a little worn, so I am making an educated guess that the population is larger than 14,000. (According to the 2012 Census, the Popoulation was 15,002. The reason for this is that there are a lot of new home developments and people from outlying areas are probably taking advantage of this (home prices have got to be lower than the Conejo Valley or other nearby areas – it takes a little drive to get to Fillmore but it is a nice place to live and raise a family. The School District consists of two High Schools, one Middle School and four elementary schools.
Returning home, I decided to take the 126 to Ventura to avoid the road work and the twists and turns. It was quite a few miles longer but didn’t take any longer as you could go faster than 35 miles per hour and there were no twists and turns.
So much for particulars – Fillmore used to be a quaint little town that was fun to visit. On my recent visit there it looked entirely different than I remembered it from past visits. Fast Food and Big Block stores have invaded there as they have in almost every sector of this country. ‘Not so Good’. But if you go to the back streets and the area where the City Hall is located you will find remnants of the past. I went up one such street and found the water Tower with the name of the city well visible. I also found the rail tracks and loading docks for the freight trains that bring merchandise to the town and/or take it from the town.
The Train System is a big part of Fillmore – in addition to the freight trains bringing merchandise in and out of the town, there are also tourist trains which run to the orchards. There are event trains such as the ‘Mystery Dinner Train’ which I have been on. There are also other events such as the ‘Pumpkinliner’, ‘Christmas Tree Train’, ‘North Pole Train’, etc. The train system is Fillmore is also the scene for many movies and tv shows.
This last time that I was there it was lunchtime and I decided to try what looked like and was an authentic Mexican Restaurant, called El Taco Llama. The menu had a lot of variety – there were many, many items you could choose from and everything was made to order. My lunch was the two taco plate which came with rice and beans and salad and Guacamole. There were plenty of salsas on the side from the salsa buffet, both mild and spicy. Even though the tacos were the small authentic style, I could not finish the whole plate as the sides were plentiful.
For something to do and someplace to go that is different try taking a trip out here – park your car and walk around but stay away from the chain stores. These are not Fillmore, but everywhere USA.