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Posts Tagged ‘leftovers’

Summer Luch

 

Although I am a proponent of early dinners, sometimes we switch over to a late lunch. Either way, it’s just breakfast and one another main meal that gets us through the day. If I’ve been clever enough to make some extra protein in another dinner, putting together the late lunch is a snap. And, that’s exactly what prompted this healthy and quite tasty summer salad lunch. I had made an extra pork tenderloin – nothing fancy, just a little seasoned rub – earlier in the week. I took all of the odds and ends of leftover vegetables and herbs I found in the fridge – some already cooked and some just a handful of raw waiting to make their magic – broad beans, corn, a bit of red bell pepper, a few favas, scallions, and only God knows what else – I heated the mix with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Drizzled the warm vegetables with a bit of lemon juice and then turned the mix into a bed for the sliced tenderloin.   Couldn’t have been better if I was cooking from a recipe.

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I’ve always loved meatloaf – almost any kind – even that grey diner variety can pique my interest.  It isn’t a family favorite so I don’t make it as often as I would like and when I do I have to doctor it up a bit to bring everyone to table.  This can mean that I look in the fridge to see what needs to be used yesterday and add it to the mix.  The other day that meant a container of cherry tomatoes and a sack of button mushrooms.  However, the thing about meatloaf is that it can be almost anything you want it to be so I will give you my mom’s old fashioned recipe – the one that I grew up on.  But, you can use beef, chicken, turkey, pork, lamb or any combination thereof to create an easy pop in the oven dinner – I always serve mine with baked potatoes and salad so dinner comes to the table 1-2-3.

1 ½ pounds lean ground beef
½ pound ground pork
1 medium onion, minced
½ cup diced canned tomatoes (my mom used those she had canned)
1 teaspoon chopped parsley (mom used dried)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup fine breadcrumbs
1 large egg
¼ cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Combine the beef and pork in a large mixing bowl.  Stir in the onion, tomatoes, parsley, and Worcestershire.  Add the breadcrumbs along with the egg, milk, and salt and pepper, and,  using your hands, squish to thoroughly combine.
Form the mix into a firm loaf about 4-inches wide by 8-inches long.  When forming it into a loaf, you can also place 3 hard boiled eggs down the interior center.
Now, here’s where you can make some changes.  You can:
Cover the top with strips of bacon.
Make a sauce that can serve as gravy by combining 1½ cups tomato puree with ½ cup beef  broth (or stock if you have it) and ¼ cup minced onion OR 1½ cups beef broth with 2 tablespoons tomato paste, ½ cup chopped mushrooms, and 2 tablespoons minced onion.
Now, mind you, these are mom’s 1940s instructions – you can do whatever you want to fancy it all up.  When I want mom, I mix some broth with catsup and add whatever is on hand to spice it up a bit.  This is old-fashioned home-cooking after all!
Place it in the oven and bake for about 1 hour or until nicely browned and cooked through and, if you’ve made it, a slightly thickened tomatoey gravy has formed.

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I grab whatever vegetables I have on hand and my trusty 8-inch Global chef’s knife and I chop away until I have a big pile of mixed vegetables (usually red bell pepper, carrots, potatoes, zucchini, green beans, celery, mushrooms) of somewhat equal size to throw in the soup pot for a massive amount of vegetable soup to warm up the kitchen on the first snowy day.  I’ve already placed a can or two of diced tomatoes, a can or two of cannellini or kidney beans, and some frozen lima beans, corn, and okra to the pot.  When I’ve added all the chopped vegetables I add enough water to bring the pot to the brim, season with salt and pepper, and cover just until it all comes to a simmer.  Then, I uncover and let the soup simmer away until the house is filled with sweet vegetal smells, the vegetables are tender, and the broth perfectly seasoned.  It doesn’t take too long and I have enough soup to fill us for days……

 

©Stephen Kolyer_Carrots

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Dinner_7270

We love to have friends join us around the table.  Our dining room is dark and warm and it never fails to embrace.  We almost never go out to dinner when we want to meet – it is just so much more fun to welcome people into our home.  It really doesn’t matter what you cook – soup and a sandwich, a stew, leftovers turned into a casserole, steak and a baked potato – anything works as long as you don’t stress about it.  I hope that the photo of just such an evening will encourage you to join us.  Cooking, sharing, and great conversation really does make the world a better place.

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