September 24th 2012

Four recipes for using up those leftovers

Think of it this week: come Friday and the weekend, it’s been a pretty long week. Between work, errands, and family matters, you sort of just want to veg out, sit on the couch, and order some take out.

But there are leftovers looming in the fridge–and you know you should use them.

Here are three recipes that are easy to put together (with some steps in advance) that take advantage of leftovers such as half-cartons of chicken broth, expiring milk, blocks of cheese, leftover chicken, frozen vegetables, eggs, ham, and more.

Suddenly, you’ll look forward to making dinner on Friday night — a dinner that will easily give you enough leftovers, just for the weekend.

Double Cheese Chicken Lasagna

9 whole wheat lasagna noodles
1/3 cup butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups milk
3 shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups ricotta cheese
2 cups cubed or shredded, cooked chicken meat
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Additional grated Parmesan cheese for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles for 10 minutes. Rinse with cool water and set aside.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic until tender. Stir in the flour and salt, and simmer until bubbly. Add the broth and milk, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in 2 cups mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Season with the basil, oregano, and ground black pepper. Remove from heat, and set aside.

Spread 1/3 of the sauce mixture in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Layer with 1/3 of the noodles, the ricotta, and the chicken. Top with 1/3 of the noodles, then 1/3 of the sauce mixture, spinach, and the remaining mozzarella, and cheddar cheese, and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Arrange remaining noodles over cheese, and spread remaining sauce evenly over noodles. Sprinkle with parsley and the rest of the Parmesan cheese. Bake 40 minutes, until tender and bubbly. Cool 20 minutes before serving.

Turkey Vegetable Pot Pie

2 (9 inch) unbaked pie shells
2 cups leftover turkey, chopped or shredded
2 cups turkey gravy
2 cups mixed vegetables (such as peas, carrots, green beans, corn)
2 tablespoons cornstarch or 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup water or vegetable broth

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9-inch pie plate with the pastry. Mix together the turkey and vegetables. Put in the crust. Bring the gravy to a boil. Add cornstarch to cold water or broth, and blend until smooth; whisk into gravy to thicken. Pour gravy over turkey and vegetables. Cover with remaining pie crust. Cut slits in the top to release steam.

Put the pie on a baking sheet and  cook in center of oven until crust is golden brown, approximately 1 hour. Cool 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

Simple Pasta Frittata

1 (8 ounce) package angel hair pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup fresh or frozen (and thawed) corn kernels
1 cup cooked ham or sausage
2 tablespoons of fresh herbs
8 eggs, beaten
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Cook the pasta according to package directions (or use leftover pasta). Heat the broiler to 500 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet suitable for the oven. Add onion and cook until softened. Add the red pepper and corn, and cook until soft, then stir in the pasta, ham, and fresh herbs. Pour in the eggs and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes until firm on the bottom. Move the pan to under the broiler and cook until the top is browned and the frittata is cooked through. Serve warm.

Jamaican Bean and Rice Burgers

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger root
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Jamaican Jerk seasoning
2 1/4 cups cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
2 1/4 cups cooked long-grain white rice
2 cups dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup flaxmeal
6 burger buns, split
Your favourite toppings

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet. Add onions and garlic, cook until fragrant. Add the jalapeno and cook until all ingredients are softened. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl. Add the seasonings, beans, rice, bread crumbs, and flaxmeal. Mix well and form into 6 patties. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the patties until golden on each side, about 5 minutes per side. Serve on a bun with your favourite toppings.

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Andrew's Biography

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Andrew loves art and design, and pursues his studies in his final year at the Ontario College of Art and Design. He loves seeking out new artists and giving them their dues, and in his spare time, focuses on his own abstract sculpture.