The fridge is starting to look a little bare as we get ready for a cleanup and refresh. Whether it’s because you’re going away, there’s a change of season, or your cupboards and fridge just need a good sorting, it helps cut down on waste if you take one day a week to cook just with what’s on hand.
Here’s what I saw that needed to be used:
3 homemade sourdough buckwheat buns – I keep these in the freezer because with whole grains and no preservatives they spoil easily.
Sundried tomatoes in oil – bought for a recipe; I prefer the dry-packed, as they keep longer without electricity.
Green olives – good for martinis but alas, we are out of gin.
A can of tuna in water.
Kozlik’s Tripke Crunch mustard, which I love but which has, of late, been ignored in favour of Old Smokey.
Some cheese bought “off list” on last week’s market excursion and needing to be finished off.
I chopped the tomatoes and olives, mixed with the tuna and mustard, and spread this on the buns (sliced in half). Next I grated the cheese and put it on top, popping under the broiler just until melt-y.
That’s it! Another weekend use-it-up assignment complete:
We had some roasted tofu in the fridge (for you vega phobics it almost tastes like chicken). The roasted root vegetable and red lentil soup was in the freezer from last week. (Abridged version: cook red lentils, add leftover cooked veg and a little water or broth, purée with a hand blender and a tablespoon of curry powder).
I diced the roasted tofu leftovers, in my fridge for a couple of days, and stirred into the soup. Excellent for a partner or roomie with a cold!
Here’s how to roast the tofu: Press unwrapped firm tofu on a plate by weighting another plate on top with a can for 20 minutes, drain and cut into 1″/2.5cm cubes. Drizzle w soy sauce, sesame oil and grate over some fresh ginger. Bake at 400F for about 20 minutes, turning occasionally until golden brown.
Healthy choices are made out by some to be complicated. They are all about giving up things we love. Instead, let’s think about how we can simplify what we eat.
We have half a leftover roast chicken in the fridge. (Learn to roast it yourself to avoid the excessive salt of the store’s rotisserie version). More on that another day. We also have some beef ragu, some chickpeas, and a selection of seasonal, local veg. This week I’ll post as we work through healthy easy ways to use it all up, and save money, too.
Although we aren’t vegetarians or vegans, I might add that a plant based diet is definitely healthier, IF WE MAKE GOOD CHOICES. So you’ll also see lots of meatless options.
Let’s start with lunch. Frozen whole wheat roti are warmed in the oven for 5 minutes, and stuffed with this mixture (for two):
1 diced tomato
1 chicken breast, diced, skin removed
1 T/15ml light mayo (not salad dressing, avoid added sugar)
1 T/15ml Dijon mustard
Serve with a glass of milk or nut milk.
It’s easy to get on a soup kick in the wintertime, but there are still lots of seasonal salad options, even as the cold weather has taken hold. We are fortunate to be able to get local, greenhouse-grown lettuce until spring returns, but cabbage or kale or other winter-hardy greens would work just as well.
Fill your plate with…
2c / 500ml lettuce, washed and torn
1 pear, sliced
Drizzle with a mixture of 1/2 T or 7ml each
Then grate or crumble 1 oz aged cheddar or other cheese you need to use up since the holidays
And sprinkle with 1T / 15ml chopped walnuts or spiced nuts – (thanks for these @dickiedanger @icfplanetweird) and 1T / 15ml raisins.
Switch out the greens, the pears for apples or citrus, different nuts (or even cooked pulses) and cheese – and your winter salad repertoire will be infinite.
Back in the city, (did I mention we’ve moved?) we have returned to many healthy, happy habits. The first is walking – everywhere. Although we are still eating freshly-prepared homemade food, there’s been a decided absence of baked goods. Generally I only have homemade bread, and we have been busy moving across the country. Somehow, bread making just hasn’t happened at this point, a month in.
This morning my husband commented that he hadn’t been missing the bread at all. So here’s another bread-free, use-it-up recipe, for two.
Bring to a boil:
2 c homemade salt free vwgetable stock
1/2 c sliced onion
1 sliced celery stalk
1 grated carrot
2 t cider vinegar
1 t sesame oil
1 T grated ginger
1-1/2 c cooked brown rice (leftover) into two bowls
Top each with
1/2 can water packed tuna or 1/2 c leftover cooked fish
Pour hot broth and veg mic over
Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.
The nights are cooling and everyone’s talking about back to school…so we are making it a priority to enjoy the harvest, and especially salads! Today’s included lots of homegrown veg, supplemented by other not so local favourites.
4-6c chopped mixed greens
2 diced peaches
1 diced avocado
4 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small cucumber, diced
Dress with (shaken):
2 T Dijon
Zest and juice of half a lemon
1 T olive oil
1 oz feta
1 T toasted no salt shelled sunflower seeds
“Eat your colours” is a great description to get kids to tuck in to a variety of fruits and vegetables. Eye appeal works just as well for us, the “grown-ups”. That’s the whole idea behind today’s Super Sesame Salmon Bowl. (A vegan version could just as easily feature sautéed mushrooms, chickpeas, or seitan).
2 c /500ml broccoli florets and stems cut in coins
1 c /250 ml sliced red cabbage
2 small avocados, diced
1 apricot, sliced
1 ripe tomato, sliced
2 t / 10 ml sesame oil
1t / 5 ml honey
15 ml sesame seeds
1 can salmon
For two, we steamed the broccoli for a minute or so in the microwave in a large bowl with the juice of a lemon. Put veggies (except avocado) in a bowl w the steamed broccoli. Drizzle with sesame oil, honey, and sprinkle in the seeds. Toss lightly.
Add the salmon and avocado and mix gently. Eat and enjoy.
One of our good health mantras is, “Eat Less. Move more.” In truth, it might be closer to “Eat more fresh, plant-based foods and less animal-based and processed foods. Move more.” Somehow that’s just more complicated for folks to understand, accept, and stick with. One thing is for certain, we’ve looked at all sorts of diets and eating styles, and we know that making vegetables the main course of any meal is vital to getting the fibre and nutrients a body needs. So instead of a salmon sandwich, we knew our Friday fish was calling out for a salad.
Today’s lunch includes greens, tomato, carrot, cucumber, and mushrooms. It could just as easily be a combo of the veg you like best. The rules are, strive for colour, things that can be eaten raw, and be sure to get the leafy stuff in there. We split a 7.5 oz can of water-packed wild caught salmon between two of us, and topped the salad with (for two) 2t/10ml each of Dijon, fat free plain yogurt, and pesto whisked together with 3T/45ml lemon juice.
How will you get more veg in your diet today?
We’ve been in “use it up” mode at our house lately, finding creative ways to avoid the grocery store and use what’s on hand. This includes working down things we have in the freezer, in anticipation (hope?) of another season of garden bounty. Also, I was once again fooled into buying bananas. Here in Nova Scotia, even if the bananas look as green as grass, they won’t last more than a day or two. So here’s what we did – enough for last night’s dinner and lunch today…
Dice a large carrot, an onion, and two peeled white potatoes. Put on to boil in some vegetable broth, then simmer 10 minutes til tender.
Chop up half a pound or about 200g of fish, or use leftover cooked fish, and add to the veg along with a couple of large spoonfuls of dried unsweetened coconut and a tablespoon (15ml) of curry powder. Simmer until fish ish opaque and stir in a cup or so of milk.
Heat through…and here’s the surprise: in each bowl, slice in half a banana. Top with the soup and some chopped herbs – we have basil and Vietnamese coriander growing in the window.
It was delish, and we hope you enjoy it.
…I was going to end that title with “in the frozen northland”, but in fact, relatively speaking, we are in the south of our country. However it is most decidedly winter, and that can make local a challenge. Fortunately there is nearly always a hydroponic/greenhouse grower of greens – or a friendly windowsill.
Top a big batch of greens with a simple vinaigrette of mustard, olive oil, maple syrup and cider vinegar. Sprinkle with sliced apples, walnuts, raisins, feta, and…eat up!