Ever get stumped by what to do with leftover steak? Steaks aren’t sold for one person, generally. The portions are too big! It’s not enough for another steak dinner, and too much to toss without guilt.
You could make a steak sandwich, or try something a bit different and toss it into a steak salad. Add some veggies, goat cheese, and a homemade red wine vinaigrette and you’ve got a delicious dinner without any cooking. Cold leftover steak salad is the perfect solution for hot summer days when the thought of turning on the stove is too much to bear.
This recipe is inspired by a steak salad on Food Network. I liked the basic idea, but wasn’t about to buy three kinds of greens, extra red onions, or bleu cheese (since bleu cheese and I don’t get along). I used just one kind of lettuce (green leaf) instead and swapped the bleu cheese for herbed goat cheese.
This is best with leftover steak (since it’s already cold), but you can pan fry a small piece if you want and let it rest (or chill in the fridge) while you do something else. Use the rest for a steak sandwich or in a stir fry.
In my head, this was Roman spinach. Then I looked and realized that was a completely different recipe (with pine nuts and raisins). I was wrong about the Roman part, but at least sauteed garlic parmesan spinach is really Italian.
The recipe that inspired this called for blanching and baking the spinach and then broiling everything. That was too much bother! I’ve adapted it to make it simpler and easier.
This way, it doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to prepare. It will go nicely, I think, with a simple pan fried fish, or grilled fish. Or, serve it with a steak.
Unlike the Roman spinach (which would have required a trip to get pine nuts), this sauteed spinach is made from everyday ingredients you probably already have at home. No special shopping trip needed!
There are some nights when you want dinner and you want it quick. This easy tuna curry can be made in just a few minutes. Just cut up a bit of onion, chop some garlic, grate some ginger, and open a can of tuna. Yes, canned tuna.
If you make extra rice in advance (as I usually do), you just have to heat that up and you have dinner. It’s curry in a hurry.
I adapted this recipe from Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick & Easy Indian Cooking. Her recipe made two or three servings, which I have reduced. She calls for fresh chopped cilantro (which I never have, so I used a bit of dried coriander, which is the same thing). If you do have the fresh version, use 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons.
I have simplified the preparation a bit. Rather than slicing the onions into rounds, I chopped them. I grated the ginger with my microplane zester, instead of slicing it into strips; I didn’t want to bite down on big hunks of ginger! Besides, this way is faster.
Mmmm bacon….We’re obsessed with it. We have bacon appetizers, bacon cocktails, and even bacon ice cream. And now, meet the bacon spinach tomato aioli sandwich, a slightly different twist on the tried-and-true BLT.
I made this with Trader Joe’s uncured bacon (which is delicious; get the bacon ends if you can and save some money). I tend to use spinach far more than lettuce, because it’s more versatile. You can cook with it, as well as use it in salads. So, I reached for that rather than lettuce.
Then, I added some mini bell peppers. The sweetness and crunch of the peppers makes a nice foil for the salty bacon.
Finally, I decided to ditch the standard mayo in favor of aioli (which is mayo with garlic, some lemon juice, olive oil, and a bit of cayenne pepper).
If you are ambitious, and want to make your own aioli from scratch you can do that. It’s delicious, and freshly made mayonnaise is far tastier than the stuff in the jar.
On the other hand, it doesn’t keep nearly as well, and making (and eating) a whole batch is a bit much for one person. Of course, you can always use the leftover aioli for french fries (like they do in Belgium) or as a dip for crudités.
I like to take the jarred mayonnaise and then add fresh ingredients to brighten the flavor so it tastes a bit more like homemade. That way, there’s no leftovers to worry about.
This egg chili cheese burrito recipe is adapted from a Southwestern cookbook I bought long ago. Their recipe called for refried beans, and while I had beans, they were dry beans and hadn’t been soaked or refried, and I didn’t want to bother. I did have tortillas (the ones I use as sneaky crepes). plenty of eggs, chilis, scallions, and cheese.
I decided to improvise with what I had ready to eat, rather than waiting for the beans to soak. I was hungry, and didn’t want to fuss.
If you want to make the refried beans, you can use canned beans. If you have dried beans, and you have more time than I did that day, use the quick soak method to speed up the process.
To refry beans, just heat some bacon drippings in a pan, add cooked (or canned) pinto beans, plus some of the soaking liquid, cook them on high heat, and mash them up. Turn the heat to low once the beans get thick and simmer until they’re soft.
A quick egg chili cheese burrito recipe for one. Makes a great easy lunch.
1 egg (or two if you're hungrier)
1 tsp butter
1/4 jalapeno chili
1/3 scalion, chopped
2 slices cheese (colby, chedder, Monterey Jack)
1 tsp salsa
Heat the frying pan on medium-low and melt the butter.
Gently beat the egg in a small bowl.
Add the eggs, scallion, and jalapeno to the pan.
Scramble the eggs with a fork and cook about a minute until the eggs start to hold together.
Remove pan from heat.
If you have a gas stove, turn the flame to medium-high. Holding the tortilla with kitchen tongs, put it directly over the flame, turning it after a few seconds. If your stove is electric, heat the tortilla in a skillet (without any oil or butter, until it gets hot).
Place warm tortilla on a plate, spoon the egg chili mixture in the center, and top with cheese and salsa.
Fold over the tortilla and serve (or, if you want to be more authentic, fold in each end of the tortilla, and then fold in half to make a package).
Egg Chili Cheese Burrito Variations and Substitutions
add refried beans (about 1/4 cup)
cut up a sausage, fry it, and add that to the burrito
Thanksgiving is great, but finding new and different ways to use up the leftovers can be a bit of a challenge (and also an opportunity to be creative). I had an idea for a turkey cranberry chipotle turkey enchilada and went looking for cranberry chipotle salsa or even some cranberry relish. The store had the salsa, but I didn’t want to buy a whole jar (and end up with more leftovers to use up). They also had relish, but I realized I’d never use it all up, so I created my own instead.
I took the last of the leftover turkey, some dried cranberries, and chipotle salsa to make cranberry chipotle turkey enchiladas. A few weeks ago, those tortillas were “crepes“, but this time I decided to use them as intended on the package!
I used dried cranberries and added that to the salsa, but if you still have cranberry relish that would work beautifully too (or if you plan to have more turkey for another holiday). Or, bookmark this and use it next year.
It’s pretty simple. just warm up the turkey, heat the tortilla in some oil, add the rest of the ingredients, and roll it up into an enchilada.
Cranberry chipotle turkey enchilada with shredded cheese and cabbage.
3-4 craisins, chopped, or about 1/2 tsp cranberry relish
1T chipotle salsa
2 T cooking oil
1 -2 slices of turkey, shredded
1/4 C shredded mild cheese
1 leaf cabbage (chiffonade)*
Mix the craisins (or the relish) and salsa together in a small bowl.
Heat oil in pan and reheat the turkey. Once it's hot, remove the turkey and set aside.
Put the tortilla in the pan, and cook 30 seconds or so per side, flipping with kitchen tongs.
Return the turkey to the pan and top with the shredded cheese.
Cook a minute or twp to melt the cheese.
Remove the tortilla from the pan, add the cabbage, and top with the cranberry /salsa mixture.
Roll it up to make an enchilada.
To make the chiffonade, just roll up the cabbage leaf into a cigar shape, and then slice pieces off the end. You'll end up with shredded cabbage.
Use a mild cheese, such as Monterey Jack.
Tools and Ingredients for Turkey Cranberry Chipotle Enchiladas
OXO Good Grips Box Grater Much as I love my zester/microplane, there are some jobs that require a different tool. A box grater can slice or shred food better than a zester can. Use this to shred or slice cheese, carrots, onions, and potatoes or to coarsely grate citrus peels (use the microplane for finer results).
This particular grater comes with its own marked storage container, so you can measure while you’re grating and just make exactly the amount you need.
I don’t like the old-style non-stick pans, but I confess I am enjoying using my ceramic pan. I can make eggs, enchiladas, frittatas, and many other things without worrying about it sticking and it cleans up easily. So far, the coating has held up beautifully. I don’t have this exact pan, but if I had seen the red I would have gotten that one in a New York minute. Do keep the heat a bit lower than you would with a stainless steel pan, and be careful if you have a glass top stove.
Summer is in full swing. It’s hot, it’s sticky, and I really wasn’t terribly motivated to cook the other day (gasp). I wanted something quick, refreshing, and truly easy to make. I looked in the fridge and saw that I had some cottage cheese, yogurt, and a container of fresh mango.
Then I remembered that there used to be a store near me that sold fresh Greek yogurt with fruit, honey, and vanilla. They had all sorts of combinations: mango, blueberry, peach, and fig. It was delicious.
Sadly. they’ve closed up and moved away from my neighborhood now, so I can’t get their yogurt without making a special trip. While I can’t recreate their yogurt exactly, I can use Fage plain yogurt instead.
Trying to recreate that yogurt salad sounded like a good idea, but I did want something just a bit more substantial than just yogurt and fruit, so I added cottage cheese as well to make a cottage cheese yogurt and fruit salad.
The proportions are about two parts cottage cheese to one part yogurt.
A quick easy meal for a hot summer day, this combines cottage cheese, yogurt, and fresh mango.
1 cup cottage cheese (I like the Axelrod chunky California style)
1/3 C plain Greek yogurt
1/4 C sliced fresh mango (or use some defrosted Trader Joe's mango chunks)
honey to taste
a dash of vanilla extract
Combine the cottage cheese and yogurt in a bowl.
Add the mango.
Drizzle the honey and vanilla extract over the fruit
If you don't have mango, it works equally well with other fruit: especially blueberries, strawberries, and peaches.
I’ve put this under “15 minute meals” but it isn’t even that much. It’s closer to five minutes. Just dump, mix, and drizzle. Easy!
Substitutions and Variations
You can, of course, use another fruit. This works with strawberries, blueberries, peaches, figs, blackberries and raspberries. Or use a combination of fruits instead. It does not work well (in my opinion) with apples or grapes.
I was so pleased with last week’s spinach and feta salad with strawberries that I decided to try another variation, this time with blueberries. Plus, the spinach and the blueberries at the market looked so fresh that I couldn’t resist buying them.
I changed the dressing from balsamic vinaigrette to a lemony vinaigrette made with olive oil, vinegar, and lemon peel. I topped it all off with a mixture of nuts, raisins, and sunflower seeds.
I bought the nut/seed combination already mixed, you can add some, or all of the ingredients, depending on what you have in your pantry, your personal taste, or whether you feel like going to the store to get anything you haven’t got handy. You definitely don’t have to add all of them!
The resulting blueberry spinach salad with feta cheese is crispy, a little salty (from the nuts), tangy from the lemon, and sweet from the blueberries.
And, it’s even red, white, and blue. It would be great for a Fourth of July picnic or party. Just throw it together ahead of time and add the dressing when it’s ready to serve. Gotta have something healthy in-between all those hot dogs!
Strawberry season has finally arrived! They’re wonderful just right out of the box, but much as I love strawberries, they’re not a complete meal. This strawberry spinach salad with balsamic dressing and feta cheese is easy to make, delicious, and even healthy (all those greens and Vitamin C). And the colors look pretty too. The tartness of the balsamic vinegar, and the saltiness of the feta cheese complements the sweetness of the strawberries. The almonds on top add a bit of extra crunch.
Since I wanted more veggies than just spinach, I added carrots, red cabbage, and tomatoes for extra color and more nutrition (I was trying to make up for indulging at a party!). The tomatoes were, sadly, flavorless, but I left them in the recipe since they’ll be better later in the year.
Make the dressing first, and let the flavors blend together while you fix the rest of the salad.
This is a great quick lunch or dinner. Just double the spinach, and add more tomatoes. You might want to increase the dressing recipe too (I like less dressing than most people).