Tag Archives: good leftovers

Greek Feast!

If you are a fan of Greek food I am pretty sure you will really like this meal. It is relatively easy to prepare and the flavors are intense and extremely satisfying. We made gyro burgers, which were composed of ground beef and lamb as well as some traditional Greek spices. We also prepared homemade tzatziki sauce and  a Greek salad of tomato, cucumber, red onion and fete cheese. It all went well together and you could also serve the burgers in a pita or flatbread if you so desired.

I will begin with the tzatziki sauce, which is a traditional sauce served with gyros that is made with yogurt and cucumber and is awesome.

The key ingredient here is mint. Luckily mint grows like weeds and we have plenty growing outside!

I just combined all the ingredients and let it chill in the refrigerator while we prepared the rest of the meal. Below is a pic of the final product. Not only is this a great sauce to put on whatever you please, really, but can also be served as a dip with pita or veggies. It is so good.

Along with the burgers we also prepared a Greek salad. I love this salad, especially in the summer when the vegetables are nice and fresh. It is a great accompaniment to any meat, really, and goes particularly well with the strongly flavored lamb.

Now, on to the burgers! I’ll let the pictures do the talking here….

The meat had a gyro like consistency as you can see below (sorry, it’s a bit blurry) and of course the flavor was right on.

Give this one a try!

Recipe for Gyro Burgers

Tzatziki

Greek Salad

Eggplant “lasagna”

This one’s for you Jeremy! I decided to make a pasta-less lasagna to please one of our biggest supporters, who had requested a lasagna recipe. Just for the record, this recipe could easily be duplicated with actual lasagna noodles in place of the eggplant. Though, I have to say this is a nice alternative if you like eggplant like me. In the past I have sometimes struggled to make tasty eggplant dishes at home, as sometimes the eggplant can be bitter, the skin off-putting, and the seeds crunchy and irritating. Since I like eggplant so much though, I have continued to try to make it and feel that this dish was a success.

I began by slicing the eggplant as thin as I could. I worked with a sharp knife and took my time. A mandolin probably would have worked a lot better in terms of getting consistency in thickness, but I don’t have one of those so I did the best I could.

I placed the eggplant slices on racks (two from my toaster oven) and the remaining pieces on a paper towel. I generously covered them in kosher salt and let them sit for about an hour.

The salt pulls out the bitter juices (remember what salt does to cells? wahoo, high school chemistry!), which I rinsed off along with the salt.

Next, I wanted to cook the eggplant a little bit so it wouldn’t make the dish too soupy. I used a grill pan, which I coated generously with olive oil so the slices wouldn’t stick. I seasoned about 1/2 of the slices with salt and pepper as they cooked. They only needed about 2-3 minutes per side, depending on the thickness. This left some beautiful grill marks!

I also grilled up some baby bellas for some extra filler and added veggie-ness.

As the grilling went on, I also made my ricotta filling. I LOVE ricotta and always use it when making lasagna. Some people have told me about using cottage cheese, but I’ve never tried it. I usually buy part-skim ricotta and it’s delicious. To the ricotta, I added an egg, some fresh garlic and parsley, salt and pepper and some chili flakes for a little kick.

Alright. Now it’s time to assemble the lasagna. If you want to go the traditional route using lasagna noodles, cook the noodles according to the directions on the box. In this recipe when you see eggplant slices, substitute that for the lasagna noodles. Easy as pie.

Step 1: Layer the bottom of the pan with tomato sauce. I used the leftover marinara that I made several weeks ago, but store bought is fine too.

Step 2: On top of the sauce, create a layer of eggplant slices.

Step 3: Ricotta layer. Spread ricotta mixture all over eggplant slices, creating a thick layer.

Step 4: I threw the mushrooms on at this point. If you wanted to add meat or other veggies, you could add them here.

Step 5: Add another layer of eggplant slices.

Step 6: Add another layer of sauce.

Step 7: And then a layer of cheese.

That’s about it for the assembly of it

After it bakes it’s all cheesy/melty/gooey so let it sit before cutting it.

I couldn’t wait that long, so it was a little goopey, but still delicious!

Recipe for eggplant “lasagna”

Recipe for our basic marinara

Stuffed Peppers

The other night we made stuffed peppers for dinner and again, this is really one of those meals that you can make unique to your tastes. We used green peppers, but if you prefer sweeter red peppers or even yellow, orange or purple peppers, by all means. We also used ground veal in our peppers, but most people would probably opt for beef (bison, chicken or turkey meat would be even lower in fat) for example. I’m not sure what inspired the use of veal, but sometimes you just want something different.

I have to give Greg all the credit here on this dish- he created it and made it while I was still at work. I love coming home to a dinner cooking in the oven 🙂

Like I said, he used ground veal. He browned it and set it aside. Later, adding some freshly grated parmesan.

To add some sustenance he also added some freshly sauteed onions and spinach and a little tomato sauce. Many recipes call for other fillers, such as rice or breadcrumbs, but he omitted that and honestly, it was not missed!

Then it was time to stuff the peppers, which he cored out nicely.

He baked them for about 40 minutes.

Though the skins were nice and wrinkly, the peppers were still quite firm. I would recommend a little longer in the oven, maybe 50-60 minutes if you prefer them more tender.

All in all, it was a good wholesome dinner!

Recipe for Stuffed Peppers

Breakfast for Dinner: No-crust quiche

What to do with a surplus of ham? Make quiche!  Shake things up a bit and serve breakfast for dinner some time! It worked out really well for us one night and I actually had this savory meal for leftovers the next night too. We opted for a crust-less version of quiche to cut the carbs, but if this is not something you care to do, it can easily be made the same way by preparing it in a ready or home-made pie crust. This dish is easy to prepare and you can throw in just about anything you have laying around.

This particular quiche was made with broccoli, ham, red onion and cheddar cheese. Greg began by putting the broccoli, ham, and red onion into a pie dish, which he first sprayed with some non-stick spray. He topped this with a few pats of butter.

Next he whipped up some eggs, cream and cheese.

Which he then poured over the veggies and ham.

This baked in the oven for a total of 40 minutes or so, until it was a little brown on the top and cooked through.

It was great! I really enjoyed this dish and it was relatively simple and easy to make. It tasted great with hot sauce too. For leftovers, I ate it over a salad and that worked nicely too. Nothing fancy schmancy here- just some good ‘ole basic ingredients. Simple, but good.

Recipe for no-crust quiche

Ham and Potatoes

Since we knew we would be missing Easter this year, Greg and I decided to have our Easter dinner before we went away. We made a traditional (I never had Easter dinner before meeting Greg so this is traditional in my opinion!) meal including ham, potatoes au gratin, and roasted brussels sprouts. We got a HUGE ham from Giant for $5 and lived off of it for the week leading up to our trip. Let’s just say I really will have no objections to not eating ham again for a little while! The ham came out great though and we used it in a variety of dishes following our Easter dinner, including sandwiches, salads, and quiche (next post).

This was our HUGE ham.

Greg prepared it with some sliced pineapple and a sweet and sour ham sauce that he made. First he made the sauce and spread it over the ham.

Then he pinned pineapple slices all over the ham using toothpicks.

It really reminded me of the dress Phish’s drummer John Fishman’s always wears . Eh?

Anyway, he baked it for several hours and this is how it looked when it came out.

He also made potatoes au gratin, which basically means potatoes in a creamy cheese sauce. How can you go wrong with that? First the potatoes need to be sliced really thin. Luckily our sweet new grater has an almost mandolin-type plane that worked really well.

and they get layered into a casserole dish along with some sliced onion.

Followed by the creamy cheesy sauce….

and this cooked along side the ham in the oven and looked like this when it came out.

I also roasted some brussels sprouts, which I halved first, then mixed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and pine nuts. Once they were cooked, I topped them with some freshly grated parmesiano reggiano.

Then dinner was served!

Recipe for potatoes au gratin

Rosemary Lemon Chicken Thighs with Roasted Cauliflower

In certain circles, dark meat gets a bad reputation. I don’t really get it. Dark meat is much more juicy and flavorful than it’s white meat counterpart. A boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 4 ounces) has about 2.5 grams of fat and 110 calories. A 4 ounce thigh, with the bone and skin removed, has 4 grams of fat and  also 110 calories. (Nutritional info courtesy of a great website). So why not live on the wild side and make chicken thighs for dinner? Ok. done. Oh, and chicken thighs are also a LOT cheaper than breasts.

We bought a nice big tray of chicken thighs from Giant. These did have bones and skin on them, both which keep in a lot of flavor and natural juices. We started off by making a braising liquid, using the shallots, jalapenos, lemon and wine (unfortunately we only had red wine, which is why the chicken is purple/red hue).

we seasoned the thighs and sprinkled them with some ground rosemary (I used the bullet for this).

and in they went

just a few minutes on each side and into a baking dish

Now on to the roasted cauliflower. We first discovered roasted cauliflower from our friend Candace and it was love at first bite! We’ve made it several times now and usually marinate it in something different each time.

The marinade this time consisted of oil, hot sauce, lots of seasonings and some mustard.

The cauliflower roasted in the oven along with the chicken.

I like it really roasted, on the border between cooked and almost burned! It’s amazingly flavorful.

Recipe for Rosemary Lemon Chicken Thighs

Recipe for Roasted Cauliflower

Steak Chili

I love making chili in the winter time and there are so many different styles to try. I asked Greg to make chili for us one weekend and he decided to make chili with steak (beef chuck roast) instead of traditional ground meat.  He began by trimming the meat and cutting down the 3 1/2 pound roast into cubes. Coincidentally, this occurred during Maryland’s nail biter against Virgina Tech and provided him with a good outlet for all that anxious energy. Maryland won by the way!

We used the dutch oven again for the chili, like we did with the Cincinnati Style Chili we made several weeks ago. For this chili version,  start off by browning the meat on the stove top and drain the excess liquid.

It does not have to be cooked all the way through at this point, because it will go in the oven for another 3+ hours.  However, once you get a nice brown coating, add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

At this point it is pretty chunky, but it will cook down over the next few hours and each part will be rather indistinguishable.

Before three plus hours in the oven (above) and after (below).

It thickened up quite a bit and all of the bug chunks of meat cooked down and became much smaller with an almost shredded like consistency.Similarly, most of the other ingredients (tomatoes, onions, peppers) also cooked down and created a thick sauce like texture.

We topped it with some shredded cheddar cheese, raw yellow onion, and avocado. YUM!

Chili is so good for leftovers too! Hope you like it!

Recipe for Steak Chili

Spaghetti (Squash) and meatballs!

I have heard a lot about spaghetti squash throughout the winter on the many food blogs I read and I finally tried it a few weeks ago. I REALLY liked it and I found it to be a great alternative to pasta or rice, or really any starch you need to soak up some sauce. It’s almost like tofu in the sense that it has very little flavor of it’s own and conforms to whatever you want it to be. It is relatively easy to make and did I mention there are like 50 calories in the entire squash and very few carbs!

I decided to pair it with on of my favorite things to make and eat, meatballs!

First the making of the “spaghetti”.

Conveniently, the directions for how to cook the squash are on the sticker. I microwaved it for about 12 minutes and then baked it for an hour in the oven.

Now doesn’t this look scrumptous! Yeah, it’s pretty gross looking but forge ahead and it will be worth it!

Scrape out all the parts that remind you of a pumpkin, ie: the seeds and orange clumps. After that you basically just use a fork to pull out the strands.

Looks like pasta right?

It produces quite a bit of  “spaghetti”. I would say at least six servings, if not more.

On to the meatballs!

It’s all pretty self explanatory from here on out.

Yeah, enough meatballs to feed a small army. Leftovers!

Recipe for Meatballs