Love Your Leftovers! + Chard, Tomato & Peanut Stew

Do you ever start thinking about the delicious leftovers you packed long before lunch time? I do! Some nights I want to cook new things but often I am relieved to find something edible and ready in the fridge. And I think we conservatively save $1,500/year by my husband taking leftovers to work. Making enough to be able to save that portion or two for the next day feels like free (and very delicious) food the next day!

 

So I’ve written an E-book focused on dishes that do well the next day or the next! The book costs $4.99 (but is free to subscribers to the Seasonal Recipe Collection so if you’ve been fence sitting on that one, subscribe!)

 

These dishes will make you start thinking about lunch long before you should be;)! There are salads–yes, ones that are fantastic the next day–soups, stews, stir-fried noodles, frittatas, curries and gratins. And the flavors span the globe with a deeply fragrant Red Lentil Dal to Stir-fried Ramen Noodles to Chard, Tomato and Peanut Stew.

 

Chard, Tomato & Peanut Stew

This comes together quickly and is rich (though vegan), and fragrant and suitable for many different leafy greens–mustard greens, collards, kale or turnip greens. You could substitute chickpeas for the potatoes or sweet potatoes.

 

Serves 4 +

 

2 tablespoons oil
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon grated or minced fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Jalapeno chili, minced or 1/4- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups canned or fresh tomatoes, diced, or 1 1/2 cups roasted tomatoes, chopped or quickly blended for a smoother stew
2/3 cup peanut butter
4-5 cups water depend in how thick/thin you want the stew
1 bunch chard, washed and leaves thinly sliced and stems finely chopped (or other greens, see headnote)
4-5 small potatoes or 1 large sweet potato, scrubbed and cut into small bite-sized pieces or 1 1/2 cups chickpeas (see headnote)
Salt
1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice or vinegar (to taste)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 scallions, thinly sliced (I didn’t have any for the version above and it was still fantastic)
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

 

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, chard stems, garlic, ginger and hot pepper and stir well. Saute gently for about 7 minutes. Add the tomatoes and stir well. Put the peanut butter in a blender with 1 cup of the water and briefly blend. Add this mixture as well as the remaining water, the chard and the potatoes. Add 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook gently for about 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Cook uncovered to thicken a bit if it’s too thin for your taste. Stir in the lime/lemon juice or vinegar. Taste and adjust with salt if needed.

 

Serve topped generously with cilantro, scallions and roasted peanuts. Feel free to pass your favorite hot sauce as well. Serve as is or over rice.

 

Make Your Own Rules! Aka You’re the Boss & Cooking is More Fun that Way

I just returned from a 4-day camping trip/music festival. First day back was busy and hot. No time for a trip to the store and there was a hungry family to feed & we spent too much money on food at the festival:

 

What did I have on hand?

1 giant zucchini that I should have picked before I left. 1 slightly shriveled peach, 1 quart of cooked rice in the freezer as well as a loaf of bread, a head of lettuce that still had a decently fresh core, plenty of herbs in the garden, red lentils in the pantry, plus 1 onion and a few cloves of garlic, a bit of butter, spices and a can of coconut milk. And a handful of roasted, salted cashews.

 

The Menu:

Zucchini & Herb “Butter” + Toasted Bread

Red Lentil Dhal & Rice w/ Plenty of Mint

Green Salad w/ Peaches, Mint & Cashews

 

The Verdict:

Delicious + enough for lunch the next day + cooking without spending an (extra) dime makes me very happy

 

My “Rules” (for this meal):

  • Don’t hesitate to serve an Indian-inspired dish next to a French-inspired one next to an undefinable salad
  • Rich nuts like cashews can stand in for cheese in salad
  • Nuts are critical pantry staples
  • Grating the zucchini and squeezing out some of the liquid before sauteeing it makes it cook more quickly and have a better consistency
  • A zucchini that looks too big to be good can be delicious sauteed with plenty of butter & herbs
  • Grating vegetables is easy and often leads to creative uses
  • Growing a few herbs pays off big time
  • Fruit is wonderful in green salads
  • Butter & salt make everything better

What are you cooking on the fly these days?

 

Happy summer!

 

P.S. Need more regular tips and inspiration to eat well and spend less? Use discount code SUMMER for 20% of a subscription to the Seasonal Recipe Collection. 

 

Summer Squash Herb “Butter”

–inspired by Food52.com

 

Whenever you have a lot of squash this is the prefect thing to do. Grated, it cooks down quickly, turning into a sweet and savory side dish or spread. Spread it on toast in place of actual butter or add a thick layer in a sandwich with  tomatoes and/or soft cheese. You can use it as a pizza topping or a pasta sauce too.

 

Serves 4 as a side, 2 as more of main with an egg or a hearty salad, etc.

 

About 4-5 medium zucchini or any kind of summer squash (feel free to use less or add extra — cooking times will vary)

1/4 cup olive oil or butter (I prefer butter in this one)

½ a medium onion, minced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano, mint, basil or parsley

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Squeeze of lemon juice or drizzle of vinegar

 

Coarsely grate the squash on the large holes of a box grater. Squash is really the easiest thing to grate so it won’t take much time at all. If you feel like it you can sprinkle the pile of grated squash with a little salt and let it sit while you sauté the onions. Even in just a couple of minutes it will release a bit of liquid. Before adding the grated squash to the pan you can then squeeze handfuls of the squash over a sink to release some extra liquid which will speed up the cooking a bit. But don’t worry if you don’t–it will be just fine.

 

In a deep skillet, heat the olive oil/butter. Sauté the onion for about 3 minutes on medium heat. Add the squash and a few generous pinches of salt and toss and cook and stir over medium to medium-high heat until the squash is nice and soft and almost spreadable, about 15 minutes. If you scorch the bottom, turn the burner down a bit but don’t worry about the browned areas. They will add flavor and be sure to scrape them up and reincorporate. Just before the end of the cooking time add the herbs and incorporate well. Cook another minute or two, taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and a little lemon juice—you don’t need much but just a little brightens it up nicely.