Category Archives: Waste Not Want Not

Making the Most of Leftovers: Easy Pickled Vegetables

Pickled veggies displayed prior to consumption.

Pickled veggies displayed prior to consumption.

Given that I’m not a morning person, I usually prepare the day’s lunches the night before. Tonight I was making Thai spring rolls, and had some sliced green peppers left over. And given that I have a waste not, want not philosophy when it comes to food, you know I had to use them up somehow. So I made some pickled vegetables!

Want to make some too? They’re the work of a few minutes only!

Easy Pickled Vegetables

  • 3 small carrots, sliced thinly
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1/2 green pepper, cut in thin strips length-wise
  • pinch mustard powder
  • 1 c. water
  • 1/2 c. white vinegear
  • 1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
  • pinch black pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • pinch of hot pepper flakes

Mix vinegars, water, and all spices (so everything but the veggies) in a bowl and heat in the microwave for 3 minutes. The pickling brine should be nice and hot when you pour it over the chopped vegetables in a large bowl. Make sure to press down the veggies so that they all get bathed in the brine; I stirred and pressed down gently with a potato masher, repeatedly for about 5 minutes. Then I scooped the veggies into sterilized jars, making sure to top up with brine to cover all the veggies in the jar. Let them sit for at least overnight. And then voila — condiment time!

Stirring the veggies with the pickling juice.

Stirring the veggies with the pickling juice.

I used these quantities and ended up with just the right amount to fill three half pint jars. Given that I fully expect to eat these pickled veggies within a few weeks, I only sterilized the jars in the microwave. I’ll keep the jars in the fridge until used, but had I done a quick water bath, they would be properly canned and could stay on my cupboard shelves for several months. But they’re too tasty to last that long!

Now, what shall I use these pickled recipes on? I shall probably use it as a topping for veggie burgers, sandwiches, and salads. I’ve used previous batches on pizza, which was surprisingly delicious with crumbled feta. Mmm…now I want to eat! Maybe I’ll just eat one of the Thai spring rolls that I had leftover from tomorrow’s lunch prep. Yes, that’s what I’ll do!

Next Post: Cherry Pie, a la Francais! Followed by homemade copycat oreos. Chocolate-dipped copycat oreos. So. Good!

Post-Pub Edit: Do link-ups work? Bloggers say that they increase blog traffic, and hey, I’m all for that! So this is now my contribution to Christy Jordan’s latest link-up.

Waste Not, Want Not: Schoolhouse-Style Dinner Rolls

Yummy in my tummy! Easy-peasy dinner rolls.

Yummy in my tummy! Easy-peasy dinner rolls.

I’m currently in the middle of making a three-layer brownie and ice cream dessert (post to come!) but had to take some time out to talk about my new favourite dinner roll recipe. Have you heard of Schoolhouse Rolls? Or Schoolroom Buns? Until recently, I hadn’t. But I was googling ways to use up milk powder, and  came across very similar recipes for said rolls/buns.

Apparently in the U.S. a few decades ago (readers of a certain age will remember, I’m sure), school cafeterias used to make fresh rolls for the school lunches. There are many recipes out there claiming to be the one definitive schoolhouse roll recipe, but what they have in common is the use of milk powder as an ingredient.

Roll 'em up and set 'em to rise!

Roll ’em up and set ’em to rise!

And milk powder is something I have lots of! My mother-in-law made some delicious hand-made milk candies for our wedding a year and a half ago (Time! It doth fly!), and we still have TONS of milk powder leftover. I never use milk powder, but I hate wasting food, so I had to find a way to use it all up. And this recipe is the best way ever!

I started out with some of the recipes found online but modified them to what I had in the house. I ran out of white sugar and shortening, so I subbed in icing sugar and butter. And while the buns were great, it made for a verrrry light and squooshy dough, so I added in an additional cup of flour.

I made them and told the DH that I had made some changes. His reaction, verbatim: “I don’t know what you did, but they are SOOOOO good!” Further evidence of deliciousness. I had made a pan of these and left them out one evening to cool. The next morning I got up and half the pan had disappeared.

Pan o' freshly baked buns!

Pan o’ freshly baked buns!

Want to make some easy rolls yourself? Let’s!

Schoolhouse-Style Dinner Rolls (makes one dozen buns)

  • 2 1/2 tsp. (traditional) yeast
  • 1 c. warm water
  • 2 tbsp. icing sugar
  • 1/4 c. milk powder
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 3 c. flour
  • 3/4  tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt

Butter pan. Mix yeast with warm water and wait 10 minutes until foamy. Mix in rest of ingredients with a dough hook (because it’s easier than by hand). Form into 12 equal rounds. Place in buttered pan and let rise in warm place until double in size. Bake in a 425 degree oven until tops are golden and crusty (about 20 min, give or take). Enjoy!

Served for lunch with homemade strawberry rhubarb jam!

Served for lunch with homemade strawberry rhubarb jam!

The buns freeze and defrost well, and have a lovely light crumb despite being nice and dense. You can do an egg wash on top, although usually I don’t bother. If you modify the recipe, let me know what you come up with!

Next Post: More French Foodie Fun with Fruits!

Crunchy, tasty, and Low-Fat: Baked Zucchini Coins

Low in fat, high in flavour and crunch!

Low in fat, high in flavour and crunch!

A few weeks ago, I made zucchini coins for dinner. I had some sliced zucchini in the fridge, leftover from when I made my Four-Layer White Lasagna with Oven-Roasted Vegetables. Incidentally, that’s how I make a lot of kitchen decisions: what’s in the fridge? What will go bad if I don’t use it soon?

The DH does the food shopping in our family, and while I can and often do make lists for him, I also find unexpected things in the grocery bags. Which makes cooking an adventure! Like the container of what I think is guava paste, that we have in our fridge. Or the giant rock-hard circle of what I assume is brown sugar, that is in our cupboard. And various jars of things that struck his fancy. Given that I have a waste not, want not philosophy, I will eventually get to using them. But today’s recipe is about using (up) zucchini! (Anyone who’s ever had a bumper zucchini crop, take note!)

Think of them as healthy fries, but low-fat and with nutrition. Definitely tasty, and healthy too — this is how to eat your fries and still feel energized after!

Baked Zucchini Coins

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 c. breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

 Slice zucchini into rounds. Beat egg in a bowl and set aside. Mix breadcrumbs and spices in another bowl. Dip each piece of zucchini into the beaten egg, and then into the breadcrumb mixture. Place on a cookie tray. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes and then flip over and bake until golden on both sides. Serve warm with ketchup and enjoy!

Pro-Tip: Make these super-duper low-fat by only using egg whites. Seriously low-fat, while not losing any of the taste.

Tasty, yes? The flavouring is totally up to you. Add more spice, add in parmesan cheese…whatever strikes your fancy! And then post your flavouring in the comments so we can ooh and ahh, and try your version! *grin*

Next Post: Lemon Meringue Tartlets, baby! Easier than you think.

Post-Pub Edit: A modern version of the Que Sera Sera question: “Will I ever go viral?” I’m doing my bit by joining in a recipe link-up, up at Christy Jordan’s site over here. I do love that site!

Tasty Tapas: Veggie Croquetas

Warm and crunchy and lightly seasoned!

Warm and crunchy and lightly seasoned!

Ok, finally I have a chance to post that last tapas recipe I’ve been writing about, my yummy Veggie Croquetas! I actually grew up thinking that croquettes were Dutch, as I had only eaten them in Holland, when I went there on a trip with my family. Apparently, though, a number of different cultures have their own version, and the Spanish version uses béchamel sauce (white sauce) as a base. So that’s what I did!

Croquetas seem to me to be basically a way to use up leftovers, so I tossed in some taco-seasoned soy meat (the same seasoned meat that I used for the Easy Empanadillas) with some mashed potatoes, béchamel sauce, and green beans from my freezer, shaped them into log shapes, and rolled them in bread crumbs, before frying them up in a frying pan of oil. Low-calorie, these are not! But they are tasty! Want to make some?

Let’s get frying!

Caveat Eat-or {sic}: I realized when writing this recipe that I have somehow misplaced the quantities that I used when making up this recipe. So I’m going to give you the basics for the béchamel sauce, and then leave you to add in enough of the remaining filling ingredients to your taste. Feel free to substitute in what you want — use up those leftovers! As long as the filling is firm enough to hold its shape when cooking, it’s all good.

Veggie Croquetas

Béchamel Sauce

  •  2 tbsp. flour
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 1/2 c. milk

Filling

  • seasoned ground meat (soy, baby!)
  • green beans, finely chopped
  • mashed potato

Coating

  • bread crumbs
  • enough oil to fill a frying pan an inch deep

Melt butter in pot, and add in flour, stirring to cook the flour. Slowly whisk in milk. Voila, you’ve got a béchamel sauce going on!

Making the croquetas: it's really not that hard.

Making the croquetas: it’s really not that hard.

Mix béchamel sauce with the seasoned meat, the chopped green beans, and the mashed potato, to form the filling. Heat oil. While oil is heating, form filling into small logs (or whatever shape you want!) with your hands and set aside. Roll each croqueta in the bread crumbs, making sure to coat thoroughly. Fry in the oil-filled frying pan until golden brown on each side. To cool and drain off any excess oil, set on a cookie cooling rack covered with a paper towel. Serve warm, or cold, and feel very Spanish and cultured!

Cooling them slightly on a cookie rack. The one on the right is shaped the best.

Cooling them slightly on a cookie rack. The ones on the left and the right are shaped the best.

And that’s the last of my tapas party recipes! To recap, I made Super-Fruity Sangria; Easy Empanadillas; today’s recipe, Veggie Croquetas; and my Caramel Toffee Flan. Was a fun and tasty time — I do love a good themed dinner!

Next Post: Hmm. Not sure! I have a Brandy Ball recipe that someone gave to me that I want to try out; two different fruitcake (what? I love fruitcake!) recipes that I might turn into a Christmas Fruitcake Smackdown; a recipe for chocolate-mint homemade oreos that I want to try out; and then I want to make a batch of cookies for the DH’s work. I have some bok choy that is starting to wilt in my fridge, but I’m kind of miserable with a cold right now, and craving comfort food, so the chocolate-mint oreos are winning! I’m thinking of dipping them in chocolate for that extra yumminess! What do you think? Let me know in the comments!  

Waste Not, Want Not: Leftover Wine to Jelly!

Serve with a cheese plate. Eat with gusto!

Serve with a cheese plate. Eat with gusto!

I have to admit, I’m not a big drinker. I know the thing in edjumacated social media is to be all, oh my gosh, the wine, I love wine, I want wine, I need wine, give me wine, etc. etc. I like wine. I do. But I’m just not a big drinker. My sweet tooth permeates even my drinking so really, I prefer a sweet wine. A nice ice wine? That’s a bottle I can finish all by myself. If it’s not sweet though, I’ll stop at a glass or so. Which means unless the DH feels like imbibing several glasses, we end up with leftover wine.

Hold up, I can feel readers rolling their eyes. Leftover wine? Oh, the horror! I know, I know. But after a day or two, the wine just is past prime drinkability (or so I’m told). And I only use a splash or so when cooking so we end up with dregs of bottles sitting around which I end up saving for…wine jelly! Because wine jelly can be made using leftover wine of any kind. As is evidenced by this post in which I mix (gird yourselves) red and white wine.

It turned out super-tasty!

I mixed red and white wine and the world did not end! Score!

I mixed red and white wine and the world did not end! Score!

Wine Jelly

  • 1 pkg. pectin
  • 3 c. wine (I mixed red and white)
  • 3 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. fresh lime juice

Mix everything but the sugar in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Add the sugar and bring back to a rolling boil. Boil for one minute. Skim off any foam if seen. Pour into sterilized jars and process in a boiling water bath for 10 min. Set aside and when you hear the seals pop, they’re ready!

Some skimming action. Very important actually. Otherwise it'll mar the beautiful ruby glow of the jelly.

Some skimming action. Very important actually. Otherwise it’ll mar the beautiful ruby glow of the jelly.

I’ve made a batch before with leftover red wine and served it at a wine and cheese evening I hosted and it was so popular, I sent home guests with the remainder of the batch. (It’s so gratifying when people like your cooking, isn’t it? Gives me the warm and fuzzies!)

Do you guys have any other suggestions about what to do with leftover wine? Let me know in the comments!

Next Post: I’m thinking Pumpkin Gnocchi. Or maybe Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls. Mmm…