Wow...what a week. Between late work meetings, and other birthday type activities throughout this week, I haven't had much time for cooking. Of course, that hasn't stopped me either. I honestly don't think that there is anything that I enjoy more than coming home and putting together a delicious meal. I admit, I did consider getting sushi take out one of the nights to provide a review for you guys, but the idea of making something from scratch was just TOO appealing to pass up. Sushi review to come another time :-).
I had a bee in my bonnet this week to try out some Greek inspired cuisine (ok I just wanted an excuse to eat olives) so I put together two quick and easy meals loosely reminiscent of the Greek style of cooking. Tuesday night I kicked it off by heading to trusty Trader Joe's and picking up a jar of what they called Artichoke tapenade, Kalamata Olives, fat free Feta cheese, mushrooms, grape tomatoes, Spinach and ground turkey meat. Obviously, I was also running low on food in the house. I did, however, have a yellow pepper, a random jalapeno, a red onion, garlic and a collection of fresh Parsley, Oregano and Rosemary. Leftover groceries are always strange in our house.
I started by crushing three cloves of garlic and slicing and chopping maybe an 1/8th of the red onion. I added this to a hot pan with tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, a little salt and pepper. As the garlic and onions started to turn translucent, I added two tablespoons of the artichoke tapenade to the pan. Then I got lazy. I started to realize that my pan was too small for all of the turkey meat, but I wanted to cook it all for leftovers for lunch. So, refusing to dig out my huge saute pan, I just added it all to the too small pan. It worked, the meat cooked- but word to the wise- just dig out the bigger pan if this happens to you- it is SO much easier to stir things.
After the meat was cooked it became a lovely fun time of adding all sort of ingredients as I wished. I started by adding a few small Baby Bella mushrooms thickly sliced. I covered my small pan since it was rather full. Then I added a handful of grape tomatoes, and chopped sprigs of parsley, rosemary and oregano, I put the cover back on and got out the olives. I ate a few olives- ok I absolutely decided to make a Greek themed dinner so I could buy olives. I'm not ashamed. Once I was finally able to pull myself away from the jar I added about a handful to the pan with the rest of the ingredients, as well as a bit of the juice they lived in, and a 1/2 cup of dry white wine I had on hand. I placed the cover back on, and cut the yellow pepper into bite size pieces. I wanted the peppers to maintain their crunch just a bit, so I added them about a minute before I took the pan off the heat, just before the tomatoes were going to burst.
Making this even easier, I added spinach to a Tupperware container, as well as a sprinkle of feta cheese, some more chopped herbs and then added the turkey mixture to the container and tossed. The heat from the turkey wilted the spinach and all was right with the world.
This was a delicious meal- that honestly could not have been any easier! The flavors blended really nicely giving that Mediterranean feel, and the textures were a lot of fun as well. The tomatoes were cooked to that moment just before they burst so each bite of one was a bit of an explosion in ones mouth of sweet tomato, paired with the salty olives and Feta cheese. I had this cold for lunch as well the last two days and have really enjoyed it at both temperatures. I will definitely make this again when I'm running short on time...or I just want olives.
Last night- having many leftover ingredients, and once again without much time to spare- I made a quick dish with similar flavors, but entirely different. I started with a pork chop that I lightly seasoned and then grilled in my grill pan until done. In the meantime I added two tablespoons of ricotta cheese, a tablespoon of the artichoke tapenade, olives, parsley and garlic powder to a container and used my immersion blender to create a puree. Luckily I also had a beautiful Farmers Market tomato on hand, and, that same red onion.
When the pork was done and had rested about 10 minutes, I sliced it thinly, laid the slices out on a plate with some slices of tomato, spooned the puree on top and then sprinkled a little red onion over the top.
Another quick, incredibly easy, delicious meal on a weeknight where time was not on my side. This had many of the same flavors as the nights previous dinner, but was a completely different application. It's always nice to find different uses for the same ingredients -especially tasty ones. It cuts down on waste without getting bored of the same thing over and over again.
What are your favorite twists on "leftover" ingredients?