Festive “Confetti” Breakfast Hash – Using Up Holiday Leftovers

So, we’re a few days after Christmas festivities and boy, do I have a lot of leftovers. For the most part, it’s a little baggie of this and a small container of that, mostly leftover from the veggie, meat & cracker trays I made for my Mom’s dinner on Christmas Day. Today, I was hungry and knew that some toast and peanut butter wasn’t going to “do it” for me, so I started taking stock of what I had in the fridge and freezer. Here’s what I found:

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Jamie Oliver-inspired cooking: slow-cooked beef stew

Jamie Oliver-inspired Slow Cooked Beef Stew in a bowlI have always made stew the same way: saute onions in some oil, then brown some flour-covered beef in batches, deglaze, add the rest of the veggies and liquid and bake for an hour or two, then try to thicken it up on the stove-top with a flour-slurry, because it just  never seemed to thicken in the oven.

I’ve never been happy with this so I’ve been poking around, looking for a better technique.

Then I stumbled across Jamie Oliver’s recipe for Jools’s favourite beef stew. In it, he talks about how it’s really not necessary to brown the meat in batches, as so many chefs would have you do and that he actually prefers the taste and texture of  the stew when he doesn’t pre-brown. He simply sautes his onions, then throws in the floured, seasoned meat, the liquids, vegetables and then brings it to a boil on the stove before throwing a lid on it and forgetting about it in the oven for 3-4 hours. Let me tell you, when I followed these instructions, I preferred the outcome. The taste and texture was indeed better than any stew  I’ve made in the past and the meat was perfectly tender (it’s been tough in the past).

So here’s what I did this time around for my best ever slow-cooked beef stew…

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Just what the doctor ordered: potato-leek soup

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So, I’ve been sick since New Years Day though I finally seem to be on the mend. The problem is that when I’m sick, we tend to eat horribly and rely on takeout a lot. This probably isn’t helpful to the recovery process as takeout isn’t exactly the most nutritious food out there

So I mustered up some strength and tore apart the fridge, taking my cutting board and veggies into the living room to chop and prepare while sitting down as much as I could. (Standing for long periods of time just won’t do when you are lightheaded.)

Luckily, there were lots of veggies to choose from including leeks, which is something new to this household. I’ve wanted to try them out for a while and just thought to pick them up with the last grocery run. And when you’re ill, what’s the first thing you generally want to eat other than toast or crackers? Soup!

Now, I haven’t had any stomach problems with this illness, so I didn’t need it to be broth-based, so here’s what I did…

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Satisfying Sides: Roasted garlic herb potatoes

Roasted garlic herb potatoes as a side dishAlthough I’ve cut right back on how many potatoes I eat these days, I still allow myself to have them from time to time — just in smaller portions. I’ve also been craving fries. So what a great way to get my potatoes and my fries craving taken care of than to roast some mini potatoes up in the  oven and have them as a side dish?

Here’s what I did:

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Low-carb adventures: vegetable barley soup

A large bowl of vegetable barley soupIn my quest for low carb-friendly comfort foods, I got thinking about the things  I loved when I was a child. One of those things was my mom’s beef barley soup. It was to die for! I miss that soup and wanted to capture that again, except that I had no beef in the house for  it. Broth, yes. Meat, no. Well, why not make  it without the meat? Despite there being no meat in it, I found this soup to be insanely satisfying and filling. Next time, I might even add some more veggies, like broccoli and cauliflower to add some texture to it. Here’s what I did:

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My totally fake slowcooker “Stroganoff”

Egg noodles in a sauce of ground beef "stroganoff".There are going to be people who look at this and say, “That’s not Stroganoff!!” and I will say, wholeheartedly, that they are correct. This is more of a Stroganoff-inspired dish that was more about using up some ingredients in my fridge before their best before dates and less about being authentic.

Here’s what I did… Continue reading