Saturday, February 21, 2009

Leftovers Made into Delicious Lunches

You've probably noticed that one of my budget-conscious strategies is to use fish, chicken, turkey, and beef -- animal protein-- sparingly, rather than as the focus of my meals.

I'm not a vegetarian, though I once was, however I'm very physically active and blood-type O, so I tend to need at least 3-4 oz of flesh protein a day, though some days I'll skip it altogether without consequences.

Try making main meals with less fish or meat, and instead peruse the dishes I post on this blog for ideas on how to build a meal with animal protein as a side to colorful vegetables, grains and pulses.

This one simple tip is a great budget-wise strategy since fish, meats and poultry tend to be the more expensive items on our shopping lists. Also, less flesh protein in your diet is ultimately better for you health.

I haven't addressed lunches yet, but using the Feb 5th grocery list there are a number of lunch options using leftovers. The trick to using leftovers is to jazz them up -- that way you have a completely new meal.

In other words, don't serve for lunch or dinner the next day exactly what you ate the night before; your poor taste buds will be terribly bored.

Here are several examples of lunches using leftovers from meal ideas I've posted recently:

1) My Spicy Butternut Pumpkin Soup will jazz up well with the addition of say, half a cup of cooked millet or rice per person. The grain will create a stew like consistency. Serve with a blob of yogurt on top, and sprinkle with toasted almonds.

2) Leftover Garbanzo Bean Casserole will roll up inside corn tortillas. Just mix in some feta or mozzarella, heat in the microwave or oven, and serve with avocado pieces on top and some crackers or chips on the side.

I suggested you freeze some of the 1.5 liters of turkey stock made with the turkey wings. Stock is great to have on hand because you can make nourishing soups with it. There's plenty of celery and beetroot leftover from the Feb 5th list, so a Beet, Celery & Apple Soup (pic above) would be a great lunch.

Simply chop some celery, a beet, apple, an onion if you have it, and put it all in a pot with enough stock to cover. Simmer till the veggies are soft; season, and then whiz up in the food processor or serve it chunky. Serve with a couple corn tortillas or a chunk of crusty bread and any leftover feta or mozzarella.

Do you get the idea? Making meals with leftovers is fun because you already have something to work with. You just need to be unabashedly creative, adding other ingredients in the fridge and cupboard to make a whole new dish.

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