Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday Tips: Cooking for 1 with Leftovers

I have heard a lot of people saw they were tired of eating the same thing over, and over, and over.  The problem is not redressing leftovers. This is one of The Whole Home topics, so I won't go into it excessively.

But I will say a few things I have learned when I have cooked for just myself, or myself + guy:

Cook More Not Less

Make it easy on yourself, don't cook things all the way through, but just...most of the way.  A good example is the extra Italian-Style Stuffed Bell-pepper...Stuffing.

I made 4 stuffed Bell-peppers (That's 2 meals for the Guy and Myself) and froze the rest of the stuffing.

What's in the stuffing?

1 package ground turkey
3/4 of a can of Marinara (you can use a whole can, I just had opened the jar to make pita-pizzas)
3 stalks green onion
2 cloves garlic
A few handfuls baby spinach leaves, shredded
2/3 a cup of rice
Basil (I'd prefer 4 to 6 fresh leaves, but I was out)
A dash of Oregano
1 can of sliced olives
1/4 cup Mozzarella cheese

Place seasoning in pan with olive oil, add meat, spinach, olives, rice, marinara, and lastly the cheese = cook till done.

In order to make stuffed bell-peppers, spoon these into bell-peppers (you cut off the tops, rinse the insides to get rid of seeds). Place bell-peppers in a pan that has been coated with an inch of water.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 375 degrees.

The Extra stuffing:

Make More Stuffed Bell peppers (The Lazy way)

Or Stuff another veggie, like a tomato (Almost as lazy).

scoop out the insides of the tomato, add it to the stuffing before reheating.

Salt the insides of the tomato, a touch, and let dry for 5 minutes (perfect for the reheating of the stuffing) ladle stuffing into tomatoes. Bake tomatoes same way you would the Bell-peppers.


Make Meatballs for pasta, kabobs, or bento side: Use 1/2 of the remaining stuffing, ball it, and bake or boil it. Freeze the Meatballs until you are ready to use them.

The other 1/2? 

Try adding it to a fritatta, make a casserole, turn it into turkey-burger patties (just like the meatballs, the rice is a stand in for breadcrumbs), turn it into cabbage-wrap stuffing...


Preheat over to 370. Place your leftovers in a frying pan with a metal handle, over some olive oil.  Add 6 eggs, already beaten.

When eggs firm up, transfer to oven.  Bake for 5 minutes. Turn on Broiler, Broil till firm and edges browned slightly (looks like an omelet).


Pick other leftover veggies: (Zucchini, carrots, eggplant, broccoli, all will do fine) Chop them up, simmer in olive oil with a touch of rosemary, till semi soft.

Add a little more Marinara on the bottom of a pan, layer stuffing and veggies like you would a lasagna. Add more cheese on top.  Cook till browned (15-20 minutes), because all the food is partially cooked already.

* Casseroles are not my favorite, but they are supremely simple.

Turkey Burger Patties:

Shape the Remaining stuffing into balls, flatten and fry in olive oil.

Cabbage Wraps:

Blanch cabbage leaves in water.  Warm your stuffing in the microwave.  Spoon mix into cabbage leaves, wrap and let cool.

The idea?  Multiple meals with one mixture, and each of them could taste quite different, dependent on how it's prepared.

And More cooking?

It references the quantity of a single dish (i.e: the stuffing), but also helps you to avoid nightly cooking.  To keep yourself eating well, prepare any of these dishes into meals ahead of time, so you can pop them in the microwave at home or at work.

Suggestions for a Meal?

  • Bell-pepper + veggie soup
  • Meatballs over Spinach and Chive linguine (courtesy Trader Joe's) + shredded bell pepper (the frozen kind, defrosted) with arugula salad (arugula + sun-dried tomatoes + shredded carrots + feta) = awesome lunch
  • Stuffed Tomato + side of broccoli, carrot, cauliflower and baby red potatoes, quartered  
    • (Nuke potatoes in butter/margarine, add them on the frying pan with rosemary, black pepper.  Once the potatoes are starting to soften add the other veggies--if they were frozen, defrost them in the microwave first)
  • Turkey Burger with Spinach Salad
  • Casserole with Cesar salad, or the veggie mix mentioned above.
  • Cabbage Wraps with fingerling carrots, celery, your choice raw snack-veggie, tzatziki sauce (or a spinach &artichoke dip), whole grain crackers + grapes  (light summer lunch). 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Weight of The Nation & My Health Food Kick

For those of you who haven't seen this, spend the time watching this  It takes awhile, so I'm just going to embed the first half of the first one.  But if you are a parent, you really should watch them all.  While this information is important for everyone who wants a long and healthy life, these trends have particularly dire ramifications for today's children.

You can stream the rest here.

But one of my take-away messages is that cooking is essential in the home.  While I have always cooked, we have gone on a serious health food kick since watching this series. I have been buying exclusively whole-grain tortillas, pita, and bread. With the one exception being a bag of hamburger buns.

We already eat exclusively lean meat (chicken and turkey) and only occasionally eat ham and fish. But eating well and eating healthy: these are essential.

If you eat enough veggies, and keep your grain and protein down, I doubt you'll ever have an excess of calories.  But I'll expand on some recipes to help eat well, easily, and healthy all at once.

What are your thoughts on the video?  And if you have seen  the rest of the series what do you think?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

To Breath New Life into an Old Blog

I haven't posted in awhile, due to...partially...a whole slew of life-reasons.  One mild crisis I've had is the realization that cooking is my hobby, not photography.  So I am constantly cooking and constantly forgetting to take pictures until the first bite has made it into my mouth. Then the picture is ruined.

Step-by-step pics will never be something I can pull off effectively, though I strongly admire the bloggers who can.

I cook.  I eat.  I will do my best to have some pictures, but this blog won't ever be overloaded with them.
I understand, for a lot of people this is a turn off, and I won't be offended if I learn people have stopped following because my style isn't their cup of tea.

I am a writer with a hobby. So the text, and the quality of food is more my deal.

Next, I have a very different way of cooking, a sort of old-fashioned way that does not live well in our scientific time of precise measurements.   I cook by feel.

This takes practice, but once you have it down, you can put together a meal by instinct.

Another issue that I have is limiting myself to recipes.  Cooking is part pf a lifestyle choice.  I, like many Americans, I'm sure, are electing to adopt old-fashioned ethics to cope with the modern world.

What is this?

Waste reduction, reuse, etc.

Many places in the world do this sort of thing without effort, but in America, we have grown up with a different sort of training. So we have to retrain ourselves to live the way our grandparents and great-grandparents did, with a few notable (technological) differences. We have to relearn frugality, relearn resource management, and relearn how to live within our own physical environment without causing irrepressible harm to the resources we count on for food, clothing, and the roof over our heads.

So in this blog, I think I will expand the nature of my discussion, and perhaps move more in-line with my infant project I am beginning with a friend.  We're calling this project: "The Whole Home."