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.
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.
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.
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.
MASHED POTATOES – be sure to use Russet Potatoes (you need to use a Potato that will crumble when baked so that they will mash easily
TURKEY FRITTATA – this is a great dish to use 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.
Our ‘Culinary Makeover’ today is a relatively simple one. Mashed White Sweet Potatoes turned into Sweet Potato Waffles which I served with Chili con Carne.
A very delicious meal, but with only 2 people in the household we had Waffles left over which we in turn toasted for Breakfast the next day. They tasted really delicious with melted Butter and Maple Syrup!
The Sweet Potatoes I purchased had red skin and I had forgotten that the Red Skinned Sweet Potatoes are not red inside but White. They were a little more starchy than the gold ones but they still tasted good and were perfect for making Waffles.
For the Waffles I used:
2 cups mashed Sweet Potatoes
1 cup flour
1 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
2 Tbsps. Olive Oil (melted Butter can be used instead)
I had forgotten to put in a leavening agent which would have been maybe 1 tsp. Baking Powder, but the waffles came out very well without it. You can use any type of Sweet Potato or even Russets that had been mashed for dinner the night before. Try your hand at it and see what you can come up with!
Thanksgiving is fast approaching and the day after there are usually so many leftovers that you don’t know what to do with them. The Turkey is easy – it makes great sandwiches and even the Potatoes are not too difficult. They go with anything. But what happens to that Cranberry? Cranberries unlike most Berries are not sweet – they are usually tart and sugar must be added to them to make them palatable. But Cranberries do make a wonderful sauce that complements the Turkey and even the Ham.
So, what if you have Cranberry Sauce left over and no one wants to eat it anymore? Help is around the corner or literally just up above in the recipe section of this blog. You can make Cranberry Sauce Cornbread or Biscuits.
What if you just have Cranberries that haven’t been used. Many people are probably like me and buy the big bag just because it is more practical. I buy the big bag because Cranberries are not usually available all year long and I like to have them on hand, so I keep the excess in the Freezer. One dish, using whole Cranberries is one that my whole loves. It is Cranberry Chicken – Chicken made with the whole Cranberry and then there is Cranberry/Pineapple Chicken. Whichever you decide to make, they are both delicious. But right now, let’s get back to the leftover Cranberry Sauce.
First on the Agenda is the Cranberry Corn Bread- so just up above to the recipe section and click on baked goods and then click on breads and then on the Cranberry Cornbread. In that same section is the Cranberry Sauce Biscuit Recipe (only all that reads in the index is Cranberry Sauce) – just click on that and it will take you to the Biscuit Recipe.
Cranberry Cornbread –cranberry-cornbread
Cranberry Sauce Biscuits – cranberry-sauce-biscuits
Cranberries can also be used for Fruit Muffins or Bread breads/fruit-muffins
Last Night’s Dinner was Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin with sautéed Spinach with Mushrooms and Onions. I had been busy most of the afternoon baking Gingerbread House Parts so my husband Ev, went to the store for me to pick up the Pork Tenderloin and a Vegetable. I had asked him to get whatever Leafy Vegetable he preferred and it could be fresh or frozen. He picked out frozen chopped Spinach. Now, I love Spinach, but chopped is another story. Anyways, I sautéed it with diced Onions and sliced Mushrooms. It came out pretty good, but the whole leaf would have been better. Anyways, I always cook too much for two people and there was a good size portion of the Spinach leftover. When we discussed what we would like to have for Dinner tonight, Ev wanted Pasta. I said okay but didn’t tell him what kind of Pasta we were going to have. Here is where the Makeover comes in. Listed below are the leftovers that I incorporated into the meal along with the additional ingredients that I had to purchase:
ON HAND PURCHASED
Lasagna Noodles Ricotta Cheese
Mushroom/Spinach Sauté Canned Diced Tomatoes
Egg & Cream Ground Veal (optional)
Fresh Basil & Garlic
Dried Oregano & Bay Leaves
Salt & Pepper
This was probably one of the easiest meals I have prepared in a long time. Below is the order in which I prepared this dish:
I – Making the Tomato Sauce
- Sautéing the Veal in a small amount of Olive Oil
- Crushing the Garlic and adding it to the Veal
- Add the Crushed Tomatoes along with the Dried Oregano & Bay Leaf
- Add half can (3 oz.) Tomato Paste along with Salt and Pepper to taste
- Allow to simmer until the Sauce is of the desired consistency
- At the end, add about 1/4 cup minced Basil
II – Spinach/Ricotta Mixture
- In small bowl I mixed 1 cup of Ricotta with 1 beaten Egg and then added about 1/4 cup of Cream.
- Stir in the Mushroom/Spinach Mixture
III – Assembly
- Place a very small amount of Olive Oil at the bottom of the baking dish and spread it with a paper towel to cover the entire bottom surface.
- Arrange a layer of Noodles on the bottom
- Add a layer of the Spinach/Ricotta mixture
- Add a layer of shredded Mozzarella
- Add another layer of Pasta and top with another layer of the Spinach/Ricotta mixture
- Sprinkle some Parmesan Cheese on this layer
- Add another layer of Pasta and top with another layer of the Spinach/Ricotta mixture
- Add Mozzarella Cheese
- Half hour before serving bake at 350 degrees until the Cheese is melted and slightly browned and the dish is hot all the way through – (about half hour)
IV – Serving
- Let the Lasagna rest for about 5 minutes before cutting and serving it.
- Serve with the Veal/Tomato Sauce and additional Parmesan Cheese as desired
Funny that November is recognized as the following Food Month –
- Georgia Pecan Month
- Good Nutrition Month
- National Peanut Butter Lover’s Month
- National Pepper Month
- National Pomegranate Month
- Raisin Bread Month
- Vegan Month
Honoring many types of food, but not of all things the Turkey. Why not? November is Thanksgiving and Turkey is the main highlight of most families dinners on Thanksgiving. So like October which I have declared ‘The Month of the Pumpkin’ I am now declaring November as Turkey Month. Everywhere you go, there are turkeys for sale, Frozen Turkeys, Fresh Turkeys, Heritage Turkeys, already prepared Turkey Dinners, etc.
Before we go any further does anyone know why the Turkey is called the Turkey? What did the Indians call the Wild Turkey that was prevalent when the first Pilgrims came over? Does anyone know? And why did the Europeans call Turkeys, Turkeys? Well it seems that the Europeans thought the Turkeys were related to Guinea Fowl which were transported to Europe via Turkey. Therefore, they called the Wild Bird they found in the New World, Turkeys. That name has stuck to this day.
Benjamin Franklin thought that the Turkey should be the National Bird but the Bald Eagle has and probably always will be the Bird Symbol for the United States. However, three States including Massachusetts have adopted the Turkey as their State Bird.
Most of us will be making or Eating Turkey for Thanksgiving Dinner. There are many ways to cook Turkey; Smoking, Frying, Barbecuing but the traditional and most ways to cook Turkey is still to roast it fully packed with Stuffing. But preparing Turkey for Thanksgiving Dinner is not the problem. It’s what to do with the leftovers that presents challenges. The best and probably favorite way is the ‘Turkey Sandwich’. My preference is with Mayonnaise, Pickles and Lettuce. Some like to put Stuffing and Cranberries on their Sandwiches, but whichever way you make it, I would venture to say that the Sandwich is the favorite way to use Turkey Leftovers.
Another use, though probably not usually thought by most people is a Turkey Frittata turkey-frittata/. The Frittata can be made for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner and is a good way to use up those little pieces of Turkey that fall off the bone or crumble from the slices. The Frittata is an omelet with Meat, (Turkey) Vegetables and usually some kind of Cheese. The Frittata is very tasty and a great use for leftover anything, including Turkey.
Another good use for Turkey leftovers are Turkey Croquettes. /turkey-croquettes/ Great for Brunch, Lunch or Dinner the Croquette can be varied to suit your individual taste palette. Either good old American, Italian, Mexican or even Asian. With just one or two additional ingredients the flavors can be easily varied.
One more use for leftover Turkey is the Turkey Pot Pie. turkey-pot-pie/ Delicious and warming in the cooler weather of Fall!
The above are just a few of the things that can be done with Turkey Leftovers. You can probably come up with more ideas on your own.
And don’t forget! November is ‘Turkey Month’!!
Categories: Asian, Breakfast Ideas, Cooking for Everyone, Cooking for Kids, Dinner Ideas, Holiday Ideas, Holiday Meals, Holiday Tidbits, Italian, Leftovers, Lunch Ideas, Main, Mexican, National Food Days Tags: Appetizers, family dinner, holiday recipes, Leftovers, National Food Days, turkey, Turkey Leftovers, Vegetables
Tonight is the Oscard Awards Ceremony and we wanted to have something simple, easy and quick for dinner. The only way to really do this is to either have it sent in or make something ahead. I opted for the ‘Make Something Ahead’ meal. This is my Macaroni and Cheese Suprema Dish. I have a standard recipe on line, but I never ever or hardly ever make it as stated. The recipe is just a guide and I use whatever happens to be on hand, especially if I have leftovers to get rid of.
I am a person who just cannot throw out leftovers until they are really no good to eat. But when I do use them, I can make some really good dishes from them and no one would ever know they were made from leftovers unless I tell them.
Todays leftovers were:
Onion (the only non-leftover item – only used half so it is now a leftover)
Shredded Cheddar/Jack (in freezer)
Fusili Pasta (in freezer)
Orange Bell Pepper
In addition to the leftovers I added some:
2 Tbsps. Flour
I made the Mac and Cheese in this wonderful stainless steel oval shaped stove-top to oven casserole pan. I use it for almost everything and it is perfect for the two of us and if we have company will hold at least enough for 4 people, maybe even six.
- Melt the Butter in the Pan over low heat. While the Butter is melting, dice the Onion and then add it to the melted Butter.
- Stir in the Flour and cook until the Flour is well-blended with the Onions and Butter. Continue to cook for about another minute and then add 1 cup of Cream or Half/Half or even Milk.
- Cook and stir until the mixture thickens and then add about 1-2 Tbsps. of Dijon Mustard along with 1/2 tsp. of Salt and 1/4 tsp. White Pepper.
- Stir in the Brie, in any amount up to 1 cup, (Cream Cheese can also be used) and the shredded Cheese (about 2 cups)
- Stir well to combine; if the mixture is too thick add additional Half/Half or Milk. Taste for seasonings and adjust to your taste.
- Stir in the Cooked Macaroni with a rubber or silicone spatula; be sure to have all the Macaroni covered with the Cheese Sauce.
- Dice the Bell Pepper and add to the Cheesy Pasta; combine well or just leave on top for a garnish.
- Snip the Chives with pair of Kitchen Shears and sprinkle on top for a Garnish. (Green Onions may be used instead or even dill if you like dill with Cheese)
- The dish is now ready to serve. If you are planning on serving it later in the day or even tomorrow, refrigerate until about one hour before serving time.
- If you are using a metal pan like mine, then you can put it in the oven while it is cold, but if it is a ceramic or glass dish, allow it to come to room temperature before placing it in the hot oven. Alternatively, place it in a cold oven and then turn the oven or even better, Microwave it for a minute or two to warm up the dish)
- Serve and enjoy!
For the full recipe please see macaroni-and-cheese-supreme/
On Monday we had Tacos for Dinner. There are just certain things that cannot be made in amounts small enough for two people, therefore there are leftovers. Not wanting to throw out the leftovers, I decided to turn them into a new dish. The items that were left over was the cooked Ground Beef Mixture that we used for the Tacos along with Salsa and diced Tomatoes. In the freezer I had some Basil Pasta that I had made at a previous meal.
The Basil Pasta was homemade and even though it was a very small amount, it was so good (I make very thin pasta which we love) I just couldn’t throw it away. In addition, I had another type of pasta in the freezer. The second pasta was completely different from the Basil Pasta, but that didn’t matter. In addition, there was some shredded Mozzarella Cheese and Corn Kernels. I added some Enchilada Sauce (also in the freezer) to the Salsa and diced Tomatoes.
I thinly sliced some Green Onions (Scallions) and Olives. These two items were used as a garnish on top of the finished dish.
So here is what I did to create the Mexican Lasagna.
- I took my 9 x9 glass baking dish and lightly coated the bottom with a small amount of Olive Oil.
- The Basil Pasta was laid out on the bottom of the dish. (Coincidentally, there was just enough to cover the bottom.
- Next, I added part of the Enchilada Sauce/Salsa/Tomato Mixture to the cooked Ground Beef and tossed it all together. Then the Beef was placed on top of the Basil Pasta.
- Next came a layer of Corn Kernels. ( No need to cook – this gets done when you bake the Lasagna)
- On top of the Corn I placed the other Pasta that I had leftover and then added some more of the Sauce.
- On top of the Sauce went the shredded Cheese and on top of this went the Green Onions and Sliced Olives. Since I put this together in the morning it had to be refrigerated until dinner time.
- About 45 minutes before dinner I placed the dish of Lasagna in a cold oven. (Do not put cold glass in a hot oven – the sudden temperature differential will cause the glass to expand too rapidly and break)
- I then turned the oven to 350 degrees and allowed the Lasagna to cook until it was heated through and the cheese on top had melted. (You can tell when it is done because not only will the cheese melt, but the sauce will start steaming when it becomes heated)
Mushroom Barley Soup
Saturday, March 17th is St. Patrick’s Day and many of us will be making Corned Beef and Cabbage for the Green Event. Almost always when Corned Beef and Cabbage is prepared for dinner, there are bound to be leftovers. The usual leftover fare for Corned Beef and Cabbage is Corned Beef Hash or Red Flannel Hash as it is known in the New England States. Corned Beef Hash is a very good breakfast or supper item when served with poached eggs on top. However, if you are tired of this version of Corned Beef leftovers try my latest creation “Mushroom Barley Soup”. Mushroom Barley Soup is usually made from Lamb Broth but the cooking liquid from the Corned Beef serves as a perfect vehicle for this hearty Winter fare.
When you have finished cooking and serving your Corned Beef Dinner, skim off any meat particles or fat residue and cook the Barley in the same pot as the Corned Beef was cooked in. Set aside the leftover meat and vegetables and cover and refrigerate them. Follow the directions below and you will have a hearty meal for your family.
MUSHROOM BARLEY SOUP
1 medium to large Onion (yellow or white)
2-3 ribs Celery
8 oz. Mushrooms
Cooking liquid from Corned Beef
1 cup Barley
1 Qt. Chicken or Beef Stock, as needed
Leftover Vegetables from Corned Beef & Cabbage (not potatoes)
2 large additional Carrots
Salt and Pepper as needed
- After you have removed the Corned Beef and Vegetables from the cooking liquid, add 1 cup of Barley to the pot with the liquid still in it.
- Bring to a boil, turn down to simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until the Barley has softened.
- Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature; place in a covered container and refrigerate, being sure to retain as much liquid as possible.
- When you are ready to make the soup, remove the leftover meat and vegetables and the cooked Barley from the refrigerator.
- Cut the Vegetable up into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
- Clean and slice 8 oz. of Mushrooms and dice 1 medium Onion.
- Using a large pot, cover the bottom with a thin layer of Olive Oil or melt 4 Tbsps. Butter; add the Onions and Celery to the heated Oil or Butter and sauté until they start to soften.
8. Add the Mushrooms and continue sauteing until the Vegetables begin to caramelize or start to turn
a light brown.
9. Add the Barley and its liquid to the pot; add more water as needed or 2-4 cups of Chicken or Beef Broth.
10. Simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes (add more liquid if needed) and then add the remaining Vegetables and the leftover Corned Beef, if desired.
11. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary by adding Salt and Pepper as needed.
12. Serve hot in large soup bowls with Rustic Bread and a Green Salad.
Yield: 6-8 Hearty Servings
- NOTE: The Vegetables that I used in the Corned Beef and Cabbage dish were: Cabbage, Carrots, Golden Beets, Baby Red Potatoes (did not use the potatoes or cabbage in the soup)