Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Leftovers for lunch

I thought I would share some things we serve for lunch around here when Juju isn't at school.  I won't be sharing any photos because generally we eat a lot of leftovers and they aren't so pretty.

Here is what we made for dinner on Monday and Tuesday night that we will be calling lunch this week:

Monday night - homemade turkey meatloaf and brussels sprouts
The turkey meatloaf recipe comes via Ina Garten.  I always knew about it but it wasn't until my friend Missy made it a few months ago and I sampled some that I started making it on a fairly regular basis.  We've actually not been cooking much meat in our house lately but this was an exception.  And a delicious one at that.  The recipe is here.  Ina calls for 5 pounds of meat which is kind of crazy for a family of three like ours.  On Missy's recommendation we only used 3 pounds of meat (which still yields an enormous meatloaf) but did not cut back on any of the other ingredients.  The result is a very flavorful loaf.  Ina calls for all white meat turkey but I am sure the recipe will only be enhanced by using some dark meat as well.

The brussels sprouts came from the Hollywood Farmer's Market.  My recipe is really easy and something I learned by watching Ina Garten roast a dozen other vegetables.  It was also inspired by the amazing brussels sprouts I had at my friend Maggie's wedding last month.  YUM!  These sprouts were really big so I cut each of them in half and some in quarters (I also trimmed the ends).  I put them all in a big bowl with a chopped onion and several whole cloves of garlic (no Dorot this time, I actually had to peel the garlic myself!).  Then I drizzled a good amount of olive oil, salt, and pepper over the top and mixed everything with clean hands to make sure all of the sprouts were coated.  I turned the bowl over onto an ungreased cookie sheet and roasted the sprouts at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.  I know brussels sprouts get a bad rap but these were SO delicious.  Unlike the meatloaf, the sprouts really do taste much better the night they are made and aren't such a great idea for leftovers.

Tuesday night - homemade vegetarian moussaka and spanikopita 
We've been doing a lot of vegetarian cooking these days and have been using this Moosewood cookbook as our bible.  These recipes were actually prepared by my husband who all of a sudden decided he wanted to cook two extremely labor intensive meals at home.  He agreed to clean up the mess so I couldn't argue with that and he's actually a really great cook with more patience than I.  You'll have to buy the book for the official recipes but I did find this spanikopita recipe and this moussaka recipe online which are quite similar to the ones we used.  The spinach for the spanikopita came from the Hollywood Farmer's Market but save your time, money and energy and use the frozen kind, it will probably taste the same.  Both recipes are what my mother-in-law would call pichkarye (peetsch-kar-eye) which translates loosely into pain in the tush so save your time while you can.  But don't leave the cinnamon out of the moussaka if you do try it.  It gave the whole dish a really unique flavor and I never would have expected to use cinnamon in something like this.  Juju enjoyed this meal although truth be told if there are mushrooms in anything, she will eat it.

I grew up in a house where we rarely ate leftovers.  My mom usually made the right amount of food for dinner and my Dad hates leftovers so we didn't see too many.  But these days I am married to someone I like to call "Camp Cook."  My husband is very efficient and conscious of resources in so many aspects of his life (we live in LA and he rides the subway and buses, he find industrious ways to reuse almost anything nonrecyclable that enters our house, etc) and leftovers are no exception.  He finds a way to reinvent leftover foods (much the way the cook at my camp did if there were too many leftovers of one particular thing after a meal) and if he can't, he makes sure to take the leftovers to work for lunch the next day.  I appreciate his interest in not wanting to wasting food (and happy that Juju and I are rarely recruited to be a part of his efforts!)

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