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.
There are times when a simple recipe is just the thing. This cherry tomato basil frittata takes only a few minutes to prepare and only requires four primary ingredients (eggs, cheese, tomatoes, and basil).
Despite its simplicity, it’s full of flavor, even though it only has a few ingredients. You don’t necessarily have to fuss for hours or use a long list of twenty ingredients to get something delicious to eat.
The other nice thing is that it uses ordinary pantry/fridge staples you probably already have in your kitchen. No special shopping trip required!
This is adapted from a recipe I cut out from The New York Times (I think) long ago. I added the goat cheese, since I had a little bit left I wanted to use up. If you don’t have goat cheese, use something else. Any relatively mild cheese would do the trick.
I also reduced the servings, and adjusted the cooking time. The beauty of single servings is that it takes a lot less time to cook and prepare. The original recipe called for 6 eggs and a pound of tomatoes!
This is a great quick lunch, weekend brunch, or even breakfast. It only takes a few minutes to make, so it’s great when you’ve got a bad case of the “hungries.” Add a chunk of crusty bread and you’ve got a meal.
A quick, easy light lunch or weekend brunch that's ready in under 10 minutes.
ground black pepper to taste
1 T goat cheese
4-5 basil leaves, torn into pieces
1 T olive oil
3-5 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Break the eggs into a bowl, add the salt and pepper and mix together with a fork.
Add the goat cheese and basil and stir gently.
Add the oil to a small frying pan and heat on medium heat.
Pour the egg/cheese mixture into the pan.Let it cook for 30 seconds to one minute, until the sides of the frittata start to set and look more solid. Pick up the pan and swirl it around so that the eggs cook evenly.
Reduce the heat to low and cook for additional 3-5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, and gently remove the frittata from the pan with a spatula.
Substitutions and Variations for Cherry Tomato Basil Frittata
make it with mozzarella cheese or monterey jack instead of goat cheese
add some fresh spinach
use a pinch of red pepper flakes in addition to the black pepper
swap the plain goat cheese for herbed goat cheese
mix up the tomatoes: try one of those yellow/orange/red tomato blends
There are probably hundreds or thousands of variations of this easy Mediterranean fish stew. In San Francisco, they add shellfish and clam juice or fish stock and call it cioppino. Sicilians make it with sea bass or orange roughy. The Greeks use dill and potatoes, while the Portuguese add sausage.
This particular version has tomatoes, potatoes, and some citrus zest. I adapted it from a New York Times recipe (which made a big pot of stew, enough for 6 people, and included the dreaded anchovies). I also threw in some mushrooms (mostly because I wanted to use them up). There’s no shellfish, and I made it with cod (which is more sustainable and budget-friendly than orange roughy or sea bass). I also swapped the chopped tomatoes they called for with tomato puree (that’s what I had, and it cooks faster).
There are two nice things about this recipe. The first is that it’s super-easy to make. Just make the stew, and then add the fish at the very end. Don’t overcook it!
The second is that you can make it in advance up to the point where you add the fish. When you’re ready to eat, reheat the stew and add the fish once it’s hot.
In a hurry for dinner?Pasta is your friend. This pasta dish with olives, tomatoes, and capers (or pasta puttanesca) has a slightly racy name. Nobody really knows why. One theory says the dish was popular with the ladies of the evening because it was easy to cook and the ingredients were cheap.Another says that the sauce’s aroma helped lure in customers.
Whatever the reason, it certainly is budget friendly and you can make it in about 20 minutes.
Whoever is responsible created a dish that’s packed with flavor. There’s pungent little bits of garlic, slightly briny capers, and Niçoise olives.
Capers, in case you don’t know, are the buds of a Mediterranean plant that are picked and then pickled (try to say that three times fast).I always thought Niçoiseolives were a variety, but I found out today that they’re really called Le Calletier.Niçoise is just the method of curing them.
I adapted this recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook. They suggested using whole canned tomatoes, and then squeezing them out and chopping them up. That’s too messy for me. You can use crushed tomatoes, purée, or even tomato sauce in a pinch.
Traditionally, this recipe also includes anchovies.However, I am a fish wimp. The strongest fish flavor I like is salmon.Also, anchovies were $32 a pound.Nope. Not happening. Nuh uh.
The other great thing about pasta puttanesca is that you can use canned tomatoes, jarred capers, dry pasta, and spices you probably already have sitting on your shelf.
Shakshouka doesn’t roll off the tongue when you try to say it. Maybe it’s a Middle Eastern market? Or a new folk dance? It is Middle Eastern spicy poached eggs, either Tunisian or Israeli (depending who you ask, or which ingredients you use). Make it with onions and bell peppers, it’s Israeli. Serve it up with feta or potatoes and it’s Tunisian.
This shakshouka for one recipe is actually two recipes that I mind melded together (one from column A and one from column B) to get what I wanted.
Also, for some reason, I thought it had spinach. So, I washed and chopped 1/4 C of spinach. Only to find there was no spinach in either recipe. I added it anyway. Why waste perfectly good spinach?
The real recipe ingredients are poached eggs, tomato, onions, bell peppers, and some cayenne for kick.
I’m calling it lunch here, but it works well as a light dinner too. You can put the whole thing together in only 20 or 25 minutes.
So, easy, and no fussing. The hardest part is making sure you don’t break the egg yolks.
Serve it with lots of crusty bread to sop up the sauce.
After all the soup, turkey, and holiday food, it’s time for something a bit simpler. Until, of course, the next holiday comes along. The market had some beautiful Campari tomatoes on sale, right next to the fresh mozzarella. I couldn’t resist. So, I put that together with some basil, leftover roast chicken, and a fresh loaf of ciabatta bread. Voila! The chicken caprese panini sandwich.
This is more of a guide than a recipe. There’s not a lot of measuring.
I started with leftover roast chicken, so I didn’t need to make the chicken. If you already have cooked chicken, just pop it into the sandwich. Some leftover rotisserie chicken would work nicely. All you have to do now is grill the bread, melt the cheese, and add the tomatoes and basil.
If not, see the substitutions and variations section below for ideas on how to cook the chicken,
The bread does tend to slurp up the olive oil, but really it’s worth it! The sandwich gets golden brown, and the cheese is gooey and melty. It’s your favorite childhood grilled cheese sandwich for grownups!
Do use the fresh mozzarella if you can get it. It’s far more flavorful (and I think it melts better) than the pre-packaged kind.
Turn a caprese salad into a full lunch with some chicken and grilled bread.
2 T olive oil
2 slices ciabatta bread (or a small baguette, you want something crusty)
1/4 C shredded cooked chicken
1-2 slices fresh mozzarella
1 Campari tomato (or half a small beefsteak tomato), sliced
2-4 basil leaves
Heat the oil in a small frying pan
Add the two slices of bread, side by side.
Let the bread cook until it turns golden brown (about 3-5 minutes).
Add the cooked chicken and the mozzarella cheese. Put the second slice of bread on top of the first one, to make a sandwich. If you like freshly cooked tomato, add it with the cheese. If not, slide it in after you remove the sandwich from the pan.
Cover the pan and let the sandwich cook for 30 seconds or so until the cheese melts.
Add the tomato (if you haven't already) and the basil.
Substitutions and Variations for Chicken Caprese Panini Sandwich
Saute some mushrooms (do that first) and add them to the sandwich at the end.
Start with fresh chicken breasts (season with salt/pepper/balsamic vinegar/olive oil) then gently cook in olive oil
Or, season the chicken with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Cook that in a bit of olive oil
Add some avocado
Get an extra serving of veggies and put in a few spinach leaves
Or, try cooking it in the broiler instead (less oil needed)
Chopped Israeli salad isn’t quite what you might assume. It doesn’t have lettuce or carrots. It’s not even eaten when you’d expect. Israeli salad isn’t for lunch or dinner. Instead people eat it for breakfast with eggs, hummus, pita bread, fish, and olives. Not being much of a standard American breakfast person, I approve!
Of course, all of those things make a great lunch too, especially on a hot day whenyou don’t want to get anywhere near a stove or an oven. I adapted this recipe from a comment on Tori Avery’s web site.
She had a recipe for Israeli salad, and a commenter, Schelly Talalay Dardashti, pointed out that there’s a Persian version called “salad e-shirazi.”
She said it calls for red onion and parsley (neither of which I had). However, I did decide to follow her suggestion and use lime juice instead of lemon juice and add mint.
Make sure to use either Persian cucumbers or English cucumbers (rather than the standard kind). The Persian (or mini) cucumbers are shorter and thinner than standard cucumbers and usually sold in sealed packages. The English (or hothouse) cucumbers are the long, skinny ones individually wrapped in plastic wrap.
They’re easier to cut up and you don’t have to peel them! Also, the standard cukes tend to be more bitter.
I cut everything up, mixed it together, and left it out on the counter for a couple of hours (there’s nothing to spoil quickly) so that the flavors would blend.Also, if you put tomatoes in the fridge, they start to lose their flavor.
You can serve this salad with the pita and etc. I mentioned above for a light meal or as a side dish with a sandwich or some eggs. You can make plain scrambled eggs, a frittata, or keep the Persian theme going and serve it with Persian eggs. I added about 1/4 C of eggplant I had left over (recipe here and it’s even for one person).
There’s no picture of the eggs because I was hungry and started eating before I remembered to take one!
You can squeeze the lime with your hands, but it’s a bit messy. It’s much easier (and neater) to use a reamer instead. And since it’s made by Oxo, it’s comfortable to use. Tip: Leave the fruit out to get to room temperature (or zap it in the microwave for 5 seconds). It will juice more easily.
You can use a sharp knife to cut up your salad, but it’s even easier with a salad chopper. The double blades chop the salad, veggies, cheese, etc into tiny little pieces. And it takes a lot less effort. Just rock your hand back and forth.
The source of this recipe for chicken with olives and tomatoes will probably surprise you. It’s a North African recipe from a Jewish cookbook. You probably think of lox and bagels and matzo balls when you think of Jewish cuisine, but it’s really far more varied than that. This is just one example. My recipe for Moroccan chicken and bean soup was adapted from the same cookbook.
This recipe looks a bit complicated, but it really isn’t. The flavors of the chicken, olives, garlic, and a bit of ginger make it rich and delicious (with a hint of spiciness). It’s not a quick meal though, so save it for when you have more time (or on a weekend).
Try to use pitted olives, it will make the whole thing much easier!
North African chicken recipe with olives, tomatoes, garlic, and ginger. It's probably not what you expect from Jewish cuisine!
1T olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 chicken thigh
2T pureed tomatoes (or tomato sauce)
tiny pinch powdered saffron
3/4 C water
5-6 green pitted olives
squeeze of lemon juice
Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the onions. Cook them until they wilt.
Add the garlic and the ginger and stir thoroughly.
Next add the chicken, turning it regularly, and cook for a minute or two until they get slightly brown.
Add the tomatoes and the saffron to the pan..
Season with salt and pepper (not too much salt, because the olives are salty)
Pour in the water (it should just cover the chicken)
Cook on low heat for about 30 minutes.
Turn the chicken every ten minutes or so and check to make sure the water hasn't evaporated. Add more water if necessary.
While the chicken is cooking, heat some water in a small saucepan. When it comes to a boil, add the olives. Cook for 30 seconds or so. Then drain them and add to the chicken mixture.
Cook for another 10 minutes.
Add the lemon juice and the coriander and serve.
A note about the saffron. I realize it's hideously expensive. Someone brought me a container of saffron threads rom the Middle East (where it's dirt cheap), so I don't mind so much. The powdered version is a bit cheaper though.
Soak this in a bit of hot water before you use it. Saffron adds a flavor that’s hard to describe, as well as beautiful reddish-yellow color. Use it for Moroccan dishes (like this one), or for Indian food. Just a tiny bit will do the trick.
Buying pre-pitted olives saves a lot of time (and waste). Use this for this chicken dish, serve them with an antipasto platter, or put them in pasta. Or, add some olive oil, garlic, and rosemary, and marinate them. Serve that with a cheese platter.
This is part cookbook and part travel diary. The author includes brief histories of the communities that created the dishes, and how they adapted local cuisine to suit religious restrictions. There’s recipes for the expected kugel, split pea soup, and chopped liver. But then it goes off to Spain, Baghdad, and India. From there you get leek meatballs, eggplant fritters, chicken with rice croquettes, borekas, lamb with raisins and almonds, and pumpkin kofta curry.
I have been making my spicy stovetop chili recipe the same way for years — until last week that is. There was a blizzard raging outside and I figured chili would keep me (and the apartment warm). The recipe has evolved since I first started making it, but I’ve been consistently using kidney beans, green and red bell peppers and threw in some chopped jalapeños and a couple of spoonfuls of salsa.
However, I didn’t have any of those ingredients on hand and had no intention of going outside to get them! So, I improvised. Instead of kidney beans I used cooked small white beans (which I had leftover from making this delicious garlicky bean dip). If you don’t have soaked beans ready, use this quick soaking method to speed up the process, or just use half a can.
That solved the bean problem, but there was still the question of adding more heat. I did have plenty of sriracha sauce and ground cayenne, so I used that and added a pinch of cinnamon to balance it out.
The chili came out so well I think I may make it this way going forward. Less chopping!
This makes about 3 or four servings. You can make it for company, eat it several times in one week, or freeze individual portions for later use.
Spicy stovetop chili you can have ready in a little over an hour.
2T vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb grass-fed beef*
1/2 can crushed tomatoes
1 T tomato paste
1 tsp cumin
1T chili powder
1/2 cup white beans (soaked and cooked), or about 1/2 can
2 squirts sriracha sauce
1/2 tsp dried coriander
1 generous pinch cayenne powder
1 generous pinch ground cinnamon
Heat the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add the onions and cook on low heat until soft.
Add the garlic. Cook stirring for a minute or two.
Add the meat and brown, stirring so it browns evenly.
Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, and the beans. Add the sriracha and the spices.
Simmer on low heat about 60 minutes.
Adjust seasoning as necessary.
Serve in bowls, and top with sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese.
*I used grass-fed beef because I think it tastes better. If you can't get it, or you disagree, use the regular kind.
Also, if the tomatoes are a bit sour, add a pinch of sugar.
Substitutions and Variations for Spicy Stovetop Chili Recipe
use kidney beans instead of white beans
replace the sriracha with Tabasco sauce
add a teaspoon or two of salsa
add jalapeño peppers to taste
add about 1/4 each red and green bell pepper about 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time (so they keep a bit of crunch)
use 2/3 pound beef and 1/3 lb. pork
Calphalon Stainless Steel Dutch Oven, 5-quart Dutch ovens are great for chili, for large pots of pasta (or pasta sauce). They can be used on the stove or in the oven for baking. This one has a glass lid (which I like because you can see if the water is boiling without getting a facefull of steam. It also has measuring lines (to make it easy to tell how much water or food you’ve added, as well as a built-in colander (handy for pouring out the water when you make pasta).
The Chili Cookbook If you really love chili, and are willing to be creative with it, this is a great resource. It’s got chili with ingredients you might not normally associate with chili, as well as lots of classics. There’s different sorts of beans (or no beans at all), vegetarian options, even one with lobster and corn! There are also recipes for huevos rancheros and even instructions on making your own chorizo. I better stop now, I’m about to start drooling over my keyboard.