Loving the Leftovers

Super Bowl Turned Supper Bowl

Oh, Super Bowl. What can I say…I have little to no interest in watching revoltingly overpaid men who still behave like small children on the playground pushing each other over and then having tantrums when they are not given enough attention/praise/more money. (I do love sports, fyi but prefer the collegiate level, where the players still have a soul)


But you all know this gal well enough by now that if there is food, I’ll be there. And lordy does the Super Bowl incorporate food of all kinds.

Case in point, the spread that my family (of three) put together:

Queso, pita chips, Guac, Roasted Garlic Dip, Mini Crab Cakes, Veggie Tray, Assorted Dips and potato chips, (all with a side of mutt, obvs)

Wait, did you say Roasted Garlic Dip?

This cheesy dip (can you say asiago?) was a find on my first days of Pinterest and I’d been jonesing to make it ever since. Thus, the infamous roasted garlic dip became my contribution to snackfest 2012. (I did sub Greek yogurt and 2% milk for the sour cream and heavy cream respectively, fyi.)

Anyways, fast forward past the horrid lip-syncing half time show, the Giants win, and even the ticker-tape parade in NYC a few days later, and that damn dip was still in my fridge. Time to get creative, because I could not load up yet another cracker, pita chip or celery stick with the stuff, tasty or not.

Before and After

And thus Roasted Asiago Garlic Chicken Penne with Red Pepper and Broccoli was born.

If you too need to get rid of some lingering Super Bowl dips, or just want a really quick dinner idea (seriously, this took me 15 minutes to throw together) carry on my wayward Giants son foodie.

While water boils for the pasta, season boneless, skinless chicken breast (because it thaws quick…don’t forget this meal come together faster than it takes for the Pats to lose their lead) with salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes.

Saute with garlic and red pepper in olive oil.

Steam broccoli florets over the pasta water in a colander until tender crisp. Toss in with the chicken mix.

To make the “sauce” I pushed the chicken and veggies to the edges of the skillet and then added the last 3/4 cup of the roasted garlic dip. (minus the mozzarella cheese topping-it doesn’t melt well) As the cheesy dip melted down I added 2 large cooking spoonfuls of the pasta water.

Mix well to coat the chicken/veggie mixture, then drain the pasta and toss it in too.

Done and done. Just like the NFL season.

Now that is what I call a Super Bowl of Supper.

Love to all,
~the “you bet I cook play off worthy meals out of leftover dips” gal, Jess


Roasted Asiago Garlic Chicken Penne with Red Pepper and Broccoli

Ingredients

1/2 lb penne pasta, cooked according to the box
3/4 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
sea salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes, to taste
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 small red pepper, finely sliced into strips
1 head broccoli, cut into florets
3/4 cup of leftover* Roasted Garlic Dip, mozzarella topping removed

1. boil water salted water for pasta-add pasta and cook according to directions upon boiling
2. while water boils prep garlic, red pepper and broccoli
3. add 2 turns of the pan of olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat.
4. season chicken with salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes
5. when oil begins to glimmer add the garlic and saute for ~1 minute, until garlic is fragrant
6. add the seasoned chicken to the skillet, turning to brown all sides.
7. add the red pepper strips to the skillet, while the broccoli steams over the pasta water
8. when the broccoli is tender-crisp add to the skillet
9. push the chicken and vegetable mixture to the outer perimeter of the skillet, adding the leftover dip to the center of the skillet, adding ~1/4 cup of pasta water to form the sauce.
10. add drained pasta and toss to mix.

*or substitute a mixture of 1/4 shredded asiago cheese, 1/4 cup cream cheese, and 1/4 cup Greek yogurt.

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I cannot wait for the leftovers

Yum.

Love to all,
~the “if I only have 25 minutes for lunch I damn better enjoy every moment” gal, Jess

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Seaonally Confused….

….and it’s not just me, both Mother Nature and my damned taste buds are confused. As in bipolar opposites confused.

See, it’s March, and hello Mother, it is still winter, but we have had highs in the upper 70’s and even 80’s for the last 2 weeks. Not that I’m complaining. Oh no.

But in typical Semi-Abnormal fashion, while everyone one else is jonesing for microgreens, fresh berries and grilled fish tacos I have a craving for squash and hash? (The sweet potato kind, thank you very much. What were you thinking?).

Maybe it’s not my tastebuds that have the problem, but the fact that I still have my Christmas decorations up and a basket of mini pumpkins and gourds spending some quality time alongside an out of control onion on my kitchen counter. Oppsie. 

Whatever the reasoning, this sweet potato, beef and egg hash was just what I needed to satisfy a wacky harvest craving.

If you are having out of season cravings too, give this a whirl!

Start with (for two dinner sized portions):

1 large-ish sweet potato, chopped
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
Leftover Beef Roast with green peppers, shredded (I “borrowed” this from my parent’s kitchen….they made a Spanish roast earlier in the week)
2 eggs
A camera shy spice mix consisting of: sea salt, black pepper, dried garlic and parsley mix, and smoked paprika (<– my serious obsession since the epic birthday shrimp and grits)

Saute the onion and sweet potato in butter (or your “fat” of choice) until the onion is translucent and the potato is starting to soften, then add the spices.

Now comes the only “tricky” part of making hash. Spread out the seasoned veggies evenly on the bottom of the skillet and leave.them.alone. I’m a hands on gal, so this is tough for me.

If you keep your hands to yourself, a lovely brown crust will start to form. Then, and only then, “flip” everything over (I just stir it up, honestly) and let the other side brown for a few more minutes.

Add the leftover shredded beef and pepper. Once the meat comes up to temperature, spread the hash mixture evenly on the bottom of the skillet again. Crack two eggs over the top and cover.

The goal is to “set” the white of the eggs, but don’t overcook the yolks….you will see why in a moment!

Lovely!
I served my hash over a bed of spinach and heirloom tomatoes.

Love the runny egg, ahh. So worth hovering over the stove impatiently!
But, let’s be honest for a moment:

Yeah, you know the condiment queen can’t go without ketchup and hot sauce.

Out of season craving? Done and done. Now if Mother Nature would make up her damn mind!

Love to all,
~the, “I don’t care what the weather is like, if I have a craving I’m going with it” gal, Jess

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Singing the Blues…

 (Please read the following in a sexy, Barry Manolo kind of voice)

Hello ladies. Is a overly brothy soup got you down?

Turn that frown around, and sing the blues, baby.

The blue box blues.

For this successful makeover meal I strained the chicken, veggies and other “goodies” from the soup, reserving the broth for my spoiled pup. I then prepped the mac and cheese per the box instructions and mixed in the soup “guts” with the cheese, etc. I added a little more milk than usual, but I never measure out the milk, so it was probably an extra 1/8 cup, if that?

This might not be the most photogenic meal ever, but it worked for me, especially when pared with a chopped salad and some random tortilla chips.

Another successful meal turn around, and not a moment too soon. I was ready to sacrifice the entire soup pot to the dog!

Love to all,
~the “yes, I found a way to eat two of my favorite food simultaneously” gal, Jess


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Let’s Get Trashed!

I’m really excited to introduce a new “series” on my blog today. As a single gal, who loves to cook, but whose only roommate is a 100lb mutski, I produce far too much food. I have a serious over-cooking problem. I blame it on my Italian/Texan heritage (don’t even get me started on the Irish over-drinking issues.)  Regardless of the root of my issues, I don’t need more tissues, I need more Tupperware!

Here lies the problem, I can only handle eating a meal a maximum of three times. That giant dog I referenced above? Pretty much the best fed dog in Florida. And I might have the highest grocery bill of any single gal in Florida. I’m not exactly proud of either fact.

In the interest of keeping my dog slim and my wallet fat I present to you my newest brewhaha: Loving the Leftovers.

Remember these pretty babies? Tasty as they were, and were again, and well, I just couldn’t look at another roasted zucchini chunk after a week in the fridge.


 No worries. I’ll hide it in a pile of romaine….and tomato, and onion and pepper and egg, a dollop of mayo, oh and a fishstick too! Toto, I don’t think we are in boring roasted veggie land anymore!

Without any further ado, (or bad movie jokes) I give you to, the infamous Trashcan Salad.

This salad is the perfect way to use up any leftover starches and cooked vegetables in your fridge, so bring on the rice, pasta or any other veggie combo. I have been making Trashcan Salad for years, ever since I was inspired by the Rice Salad by Antonia of Top Chef Season 4. In the Uncle Ben’s Instant Rice Quickfire she made a salad of rice, greens and cherry tomatoes, dressed with mayonnaise. Rice and mayo and greens? Amen. Of course Antonia topped her salad with skirt steak….I had fish sticks, it’s a wash, ya dig?

I call round one of Leftover Lovin’ a serious success with a side of garlic toast!

How do you deal with never ending leftovers?

Love to all,
~the “even leftovers taste good when you are trashed” gal, Jess

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