Sometimes I get in the mood for mixing things up a bit with any leftovers I may have in the refrigerator or maybe preparing something differently so I can get a few more meals out of it.
There are a zillion recipes for using your leftover vegetables or that roasted chicken you bought from the market, but I like to play with the unusual. Take for example onion dip...not my favorite food as I have an aversion to raw onions, but you could use it to coat a boneless chicken breast, then bread and bake. I’ve stuffed chicken breasts with guacamole, cheeses, leftover stuffing, or pancetta and tomatoes, the options are endless. My Dad, and now myself, love to take homemade cranberry sauce and use it on turkey sandwiches. Deviled eggs can be chopped up and made into egg salad – served on your favorite bread or rolled up in a lettuce leaf (bathing suit season is only a few months away...). This is an old one, but my mother used to use leftover mashed potatoes and make salmon croquettes – not really seen much anymore as a ‘patty’ has replaced it, but stretch your imagination a little and make those potato patties with tuna, chopped vegetables, or any leftover meats. Add plenty of seasonings, dip in breadcrumbs if desired and fry or bake.
Following are two recipes that I came up with recently that turned out deliciously! I’ve also included my recipe for turkey loaf burgers. I used to just make a turkey meat loaf but it would be gone in a few days. Now I take my pound of turkey, make a loaf mix and shape it into burgers to freeze so I am not eating the same thing all week. I’m sure if you look into your refrigerator you can find something leftover to play with. Enjoy experimenting!
Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Leftover Spinach-Artichoke Dip
Spinach Artichoke Dip (whatever recipe you use)
Whole chicken breasts (amount depends on how much dip you have)
Salt and pepper to taste
Flour, egg and breadcrumbs for dipping
Olive oil if sautéing
Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Cut a slit horizontally in the breast and stuff with a tablespoon or two of the spinach artichoke dip. Carefully dip into the flour, then egg and then your breadcrumbs to coat it completely. Secure with a toothpick if needed. If frying, heat some olive oil in a sauté pan and when hot, place the stuffed breasts in and fry, turning over after the bottoms are nicely browned and continue frying until done. If baking, preheat your oven to 350°. Place the chicken in an oiled baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes until chicken is done. Use either of these 2 methods of cooking for anything you might stuff your chicken with. Note – I also think this spinach artichoke dip would be yummy stuffed in a pork chop!
Sage Butter Grilled Cheese
So this came from me seeing the leftover sage butter I had made to baste my turkey with on Thanksgiving.
Whole grain bread
Your favorite cheese for sandwiches
Sage butter (just a mix of softened butter and dried sage left to sit until melded)
Make your sandwich with slices of your favorite cheese. Heat a sauté pan large enough to hold your sandwich, add the sage butter and when bubbly place the sandwich in the pan. When the bottom is evenly browned, turn and continue cooking until the other side is done. This was surprisingly good and I imagine any flavored butter could be used. Mix up the cheeses too!
Stretch that Pound of Turkey -
Make Loaf Burgers
1 lb. of ground turkey
Salt and pepper
1/2 of a red pepper, diced small
1/2 of a yellow pepper, diced small
1 small shallot, chopped
1/4+ cup of breadcrumbs
Enough ketchup, BBQ sauce or spaghetti sauce to moisten
Place the ground turkey in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the remaining ingredients and mix. As with a ground beef meat loaf you don’t want it to be to dry or wet a mix.
Form meat loaf into patties and wrap individually in saran wrap. I then place them all in a zip lock bag and freeze. When in the mood for a burger, thaw one out and either fry in pan on the stove or bake in the oven until done. I eat them with veggies on the side, but you can always place it on a bun with lettuce, tomato or anything else you enjoy on a burger. One pound of turkey makes 4 burgers. (Or you could make meatballs and get double the amount).