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). 


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