Recipe: Mother’s Day Treat Bread Pudding with Fruit

Second Life Bread Pudding and Fruit
Mother’s Day Treat Bread Pudding and Fruit

So what do you do with the leftover egg mixture after making that Mother’s Day Treat French toast?

Throw it away, you may say.  But what if I say you can easily make a dessert out of it, by adding an extra cup of milk?

You can make a delicious bread pudding out of it!  You can even save some French bread from the toast and use in it.  One effort, two different recipes, one for brunch, one for dessert.  Ultimate cooking optimization!  Gotta love it!

I’m assuming you have already made some Mother’s Day Treat (Freezable) French Toast, and have about a cup of egg mixture left.  You don’t?  No worries!  You can still make this recipe from scratch, following the instructions underlined below. (Or you can choose to make both at once, starting from the French toast recipe, and freeze it all.)  This amount should be enough for a family of 4 for a little dessert after dinner.

Mother’s Day Treat Bread Pudding with fruit

  1. Add 1 cup milk and 1 TBS melted butter into leftover egg mixture from Freezable French Toast. (You should already have about 2/3 – 1 cup left).  Alternatively, mix 2 beaten eggs, 2 cup milk, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 TBS melted butter and cinnamon in a bowl if you are starting from scratch.
  2. Add peeled, grated and drained apple and 1/4 cup chopped dried fruit and/or raisins into the egg mixture.
  3. Break white bread into bite-size pieces and place them in a buttered 5 to 6” baking dish or individual ramekins. (Remove the crust if it’s very thick) Pour the egg mixture and let it soak completely.  Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top.
  4. Place the baking dish into a larger baking pan, and pour hot water into the outer pan to about half of the height of the egg mixture.  Bake in a 375-400F oven until set, and top is golden brown.  Serve warm or cold, with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, or without.

Optional: Omit apples/raisins/dried fruit if you don’t have any.  Or use melted bitter or semi-sweet chocolate instead.

So there you have an easy dessert for Mother’s day (or Mother’s Day prep-day) too!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Project Leftovers: Marzano’s Meatballs & Swiss Chard – Part 2

So you want to know what I did with the leftovers from Marzano….

On the next day, I decided to have some pizza leftover for lunch, and noticed the box of meatballs. Rather than eat it as it is by myself, and deal with my husband’s “Is this it for me?” complaint or dirty look, I decided to make it into soup. Not just one, I need another without meat for him.

So here’s what I did.

Break the bread and meatballs in bite size pieces with a folk.

Add water (or broth) to meatball, swiss chard and tomato sauce leftover.

Cook until hot and season to taste.

Voila! It’s abrondigas and bread soup. It was delicious!

Here’s the thing. I know it may not be traditional abrondigas soup, but I can name my creation with any name I want. Then all of a sudden it’s acceptable. Consider yourself as a fusion home-cook, then you too can do anything you want. It’s so much fun!  By the way, the girls who were eating next to us had a meatball pizza.  YES. Exactly the same meatballs, cut in half and topped them on pizza.  To think about it, if the tomato sauce on their pizza had the same origin as the tomato sauce in my meatballs, I won’t be surprised.

Now for the meatless version for my husband, I mixed it with roasted red pepper puree I made a few days ago to add extra flavor, and stretch it.  You saw how much leftover I had on the photo. I had to do some serious stretching.

The next post is about that.  So stay tuned…
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Project Leftovers: Marzano’s Meatball & Swiss Chard – Part 1

On my last post, I asked you what do you do with your leftovers, and vote.

Mine is definitely re-purpose leftover into different dishes, and sometimes eat is as it is/reheated.

Recently, my husband and I went to Marzano on College Avenue in Oakland.  They have fabulous happy hour starting from 10 pm.  We normally do not eat that late, but on that Friday, I had a meeting in San Francisco at night (without food!  ugggh!) and by the time we got back in Oakland, we were starving!   Since it was already 9:30, we decided to wait and take advantage of their happy hour.

I know no one else does that, but we tend to order way too much when we are hungry.   Their happy hour is great — $6 for various appetizers and salads and $10 for 5 kinds of fire-roasted pizza.   We presumed, “OK, the price is low, so the portion will be small.”   Plus I love varieties, so we decided to go for Fritto Misto, Grilled Sardines, Fire-roasted Meatballs and Swiss Chard, and Quatro Fromaggio Pizza with oyster mushrooms.

When we got the Fritto Misto, we were shocked. It’s HUGE!

Then Sardines.  There were three of them, and were pretty big, each about 5 – 6 inches long.

By now we were already getting full.  It’s almost 10:30!  And in the cazuela, a Spanish clay dish for tapas, my meatball comes.  Big, golf-ball size, and there are 3 of them!  The bad news is that my husband doesn’t eat read meat, so I’m responsible for all three.

Pizza was amazing, and it’s at least 12 inches!  We stuffed ourselves, but end up coming home with one half of this pizza and half of the meatball dish.

YES…  the picture you saw is actually my leftover meatballs taken the next day, because I didn’t have a camera at the restaurant.

Would you like to take a guess, what do you think I did with these leftovers?  I dropped a hint at the beginning.  I love re-purposing leftovers, so they were re-purposed.

I’ll tell you the answer on my next post.  So stay tuned!
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Take the Poll: Leftover Food – What Do You Do with It?

When you have some leftover, what do you do with it?

  • Do you throw it away?
  • Do you eat it as it is (or reheated)?
  • Or do you turn it into something else?

There is a Japanese proverb “残り物には福がある”。 It means “Last, but not least”, “Sometimes lees are better than wine”, and my favorite, “Leftovers bring you good luck”. It’s not just about food, but other things in general.

Sometimes “leftover” has negative connotations, but for me, leftover food is worth the weight of gold.

Take this poll about leftovers:


In the comment section, tell me more — how you feel about leftover in general, what to do with it and why.

Such as

  • “I eat all of my pizza leftover the next day, save everything else, but normally end up moldy, so throw them away.”
  • “I bring my leftover to work for lunch.”
  • “No doggie bags, no leftovers! I eat them all!”

I’d love to know what YOU do with your leftovers.  : )

Thanks and have fun!

How to Revive Leftover Pasta…

Leftover pasta after the liquid treatment

Before.... Leftover pasta

Do you ever eat leftover pasta?  What do you do to revive it?

I love batching something, and use it little by little to create many different dishes later in the week and I even blog and teach people how to do that, but pasta is one of very few things I don’t over-make.  Because, noodles are best when it’s cooked, right off the pot.  The older they get, the stickier they become.
As many of you read on my previous post, I hosted a cooking class party last Sunday at our kitchen, and as a host, I wanted to make sure to be prepared, and have more than enough food.

I got carried away, and served and showed how to make all these dishes:

  • Appetizers
    • 2 kinds of Mushroom bites (one with goat cheese, one without)
    • Mushroom, spinach and feta cheese gozleme (Turkish version of Quesadilla)
    • Crudite with pesto mayonnaise
  • Served during the Class
    • Made Sauteed button mushrooms and Asian mushroom mix (use these as a base)
    • Okara Quiche with chicken, leeks, asparagus, mushrooms, and gruyere cheese
  • Dinner
    • Magic Mushroom Soup
    • Tuna and Mushroom Pasta, Japanese Style
    • Kinoko Mizore Ae (Japanese Mushrooms and Grated Daikon Salad with Ponzu Sauce)
    • Cranberry and Fruit Relish with Whipped Cream

A lot of mushrooms, I know.  But this class was called “Flexipes: Mushrooms and Beyond”, and designed to teach people how to make a large batch of something (in this case, sauteed mushrooms), then turn it into many different dishes throughout the week (or later if they choose to freeze it).   Naturally, a lot of mushrooms had to show up on the menu.   The good news is, when you make them different flavors and treatments, people often don’t feel they are eating only mushrooms — and no one complained.  Phew!

Pretty much all the food was gone, except the pasta.  I forgot the fact that they ate quite a bit of appetizer and okara quiche before dinner, and made extra in case people were hungry.

Well, something I don’t like more than old pasta is throwing away perfectly good food.  Almost all Japanese have “Mottainai” as a motto. “Waste not”, it means.  So, I needed to do something with this pasta leftover.

So I decided to moisten the pasta with a little bit of liquid (I used vegetable broth I had on hand, but you can use other kind of broth, white wine, pasta water, or even water in a pinch), covered and microwaved it.

Of course, it was not quite as good as newly cooked al-dente pasta, but it was far better than leftover pasta without that treatment, or pre-made pasta from store.  And I definitely liked the fact that I was able to eat it just by heating up.  It’s hard to see on the photo, so just try it and see what you think.

In any case, it’s best to mix the pasta with the sauce as soon as you cook it.  Plain pasta without anything starts to stick right away, and will be harder to revive, especially spaghetti.  Even worse are capellini and flat pasta like linguini.

So the best pasta practice is, in my opinion:

1. Make the exact amount of pasta, and eat it right away.

2. If there’s any leftover, make it into pasta salad as soon as possible.

3. Mix the pasta with sauce or dressing right away or, if undressed,

4. As a last resort, sprinkle with a little bit of liquid on top, cover and microwave, and enjoy the time -saving!

So what do you do with your leftover pasta?

Leftover Makeover: Tom Kha Gai

So you cooked some flavorful Tom Kha Gai… and some left over…

How can we transform this recipe into something easy, different and fabulous?

There’s an obvious one and not so obvious one…

Obvious:  Tom Kha Noodle Soup

Tom Kha with Rice Stick

Tom Kha Noodle Soup

  1. Add about 1C of chicken broth (If you still have the stock from making that shredded chicken use it for this) to left over Tom Kha and cook until hot. Adjust seasoning.  In the meantime, boil rice noodles according to the package instruction.
  2. Drain the noodles and place them in a bowl. Pour hot soup over them. Serve with lime wedge and chopped cilantro. Optionally, sprinkle fried shallots if you have any. (Available at Asian markets.)

Not so obvious: Thai curry

Thai Green Curry

Thai Green Curry

  1. Fry sliced garlic, dried red chili in vegetable oil. Add Thai curry powder or paste and cook until fragrant.
  2. Add a combination of vegetables cut in bite-size pieces and cook until vegetables are crisp tender. (pepper, eggplants, green beans, bamboo shoots, If using potatoes, pumpkin, you may want to microwave first to shorten cooking time).  Add water or chicken broth (again, use the one from cooking the chicken if available) to barely cover the veggies. Cook until vegetables are cooked through.
  3. Add the Tom Kha into curried vegetables and cook until hot.  (optional add shrimp). Add a dash of sugar, and adjust the seasoning.  Serve with steamed rice.

These recipes alone may be good enough excuse to make double batch of Tom Kha…If you ate all the chicken in the soup, and only left with soup, try You can add shrimp instead of chicken.

Batch and Fridge: Cooked Shredded Chicken – Tom Kha (Thai Coconut Milk Soup with Chicken)

Thai Coconut Milk Soup with Chicken

Tom Kha Gai - Thai Coconut Milk Soup with Chicken

Besides obvious options of adding cooked, shredded chicken to pasta and salads, you can use them for practically any recipes from around the world.

So this week, I’d like to share with you some easy recipes from different countries using shredded chicken, to add different flavor in your repertoire.

One of my favorite is Tom Kha Gai…  You probably have seen or tasted it at a Thai restaurant.  If you are bored with regular chicken soup, this is a great option.  Plus it has a nice leftover makeover potential for later in the week.

Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Milk and Chicken Soup)

Ingredients:

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 oz ginger (sliced)
  • 2 TBS onion or shallots (chopped)
  • 2 stalks lemongrass (bruised and cut in 1”)
  • 1/2 ts ground turmeric
  • 1c cooked, shredded chicken
  • Optional: fresh sliced mushrooms or canned Straw mushroom
  • 1 c heavy cream (or milk if you want to make it lighter)
  • 2-3 TBS fish sauce
  • 1 fresh green chili (seeded and sliced)
  • lime juice to taste
  • Cilantro (chopped)

Direction:

  1. Heat 1 can of coconut milk until hot. Add lemongrass, ginger, turmeric, onion or shallots, shredded chicken and mushrooms. Simmer about 10-15 min.
  2. Add cream, fish sauce, green chili and cook until heated. Adjust seasoning.
  3. Traditionally they serve lemongrass and ginger slices in the soup in Thailand (and at Thai restaurants), but you may want to take them out at this point.
  4. Serve hot with a wedge of lime and chopped cilantro.

Tips: Lemongrass can be grown very easily in your garden. you can use only bottom few inches for cooking, but cut up the rest and steep in teapot for refreshing and fragrant lemongrass tea!

You have leftover?  Great! We’ll make it over to something fabulous tomorrow… So stay tuned…

Ultimate Leftover Makeover recipe: Second-Life Bread Pudding with Fruit

Second Life Bread Pudding and Fruit

Second Life Bread Pudding and Fruit

 

So what do you do with the leftover egg mixture after making that French toast?

Throw it away, you may say.  But what if I say you can easily make a dessert out of it, by adding an extra cup of milk.

You can make a delicious bread pudding out of it!  You can even save some French bread and use that in it.  One effort, two different recipes.  Ultimate cooking optimization!  Gotta love it! (Or is it just me?)

I’m assuming you have already made some Freezable French Toast, and have about a cup of egg mixture left.  You don’t?  No worries!  You can still make this recipe from scratch, following the instructions underlined below. (Or you can choose to make both at once, starting from the French toast recipe, and freeze it all.)  This amount should be enough for a family of 4 for a little dessert after dinner.

Second-life Bread Pudding with fruit

  1. Add 1 cup milk and 1 TBS melted butter into leftover egg mixture from Freezable French Toast. (You should have about 2/3 – 1 cup left).  Alternatively, mix 2 beaten eggs, 2 cup milk, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 TBS melted butter and cinnamon in a bowl if you are starting from scratch.
  2. Add peeled, grated and drained apple and 1/4 cup chopped dried fruit and/or raisins into the egg mixture.
  3. Break white bread into bite-size pieces and place them in a buttered 5 to 6” baking dish or individual ramekins. (Remove the crust if it’s very thick) Pour the egg mixture and let it soak completely.  Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top.
  4. Place the baking dish into a larger baking pan, and pour hot water into the outer pan to about half of the height of the pudding.  Bake in a 375-400F oven until set, and top is golden brown.  Serve warm or cold, with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, or without.

Optional: Omit apples/raisins/dried fruit if you don’t have any.  Or use melted bitter or semi-sweet chocolate instead.

Batch and Fridge: Whipped Up Sweet Potato Pudding

Sweet Potato Pudding

Sweet Potato Pudding

Would you like a dessert recipe for weeknight that you can whip up in about 20 minutes while you are eating dinner or doing dishes, largely unattended?

I thought so.  Especially if you can use some pre-cooked left over ingredient from dinner. (Don’t worry, I won’t use anything savory.) Once of very few sweets I actually make and eat is flan.  I love sweet potato version more than regular egg and cream version.  It’s healthier too.

What you need is grilled or steamed sweet potatoes left over from dinner before. Make sure it’s cooked tender. With these and hand blender, the prep will be done in a minutes.  Then all you have to do is steam and wait for it to set.

Whipped Up Sweet Potato Pudding

  1. Place 2 peeled, cooked sweet potatoes (about 2/3 lbs), equal amount of milk and cream, or half and half, and puree until smooth with stick blender. 
  2. Add 3 TBS sugar, 2 beaten eggs, and a dash of cinnamon. Mix well.
  3. Strain the sweet potato mixture through a small sieve into heat-proof cups. (It’s filling, so use smaller cups.  It also takes less for them to set.)
  4. Steam about 10 – 15 minutes (depending on the size of the cup) until set. Or place cups in a oven-proof pan filled with hot water (to about half of the height of the cups)and bake in toaster-oven (faster) or oven until set.

Optional:

  • Use soy milk if you are watching calories.
  • Decorate with whipped cream on top.
  • If you have extra time, caramelized sugar before pouring in the sweet potato cream will make it even better. (Make sure to apply some butter all over the inside )especially at the bottom first for easier clean-up.
  • You can use the same filling for sweet potato pie. You may want to use more egg or less milk, since this pudding is pretty loose.
  • To be honest, I thought the sweet potato cream before heated was quite tasty…  If you want to just use it as dessert, be my guest. : ) 

So next time you grill, make sure to bake some extra sweet potatoes… You can eat some for dinner, and you now have an easy dessert later in the week!

Leftover Make-over: Base Recipe – Swiss Chard and Potatoes, Part 2

We made Lidia Bastianich’s “Swiss Chard and Potatoes” (click her for the recipe), and there’s still a lot left.

So what to do with the leftover?

It’s time for Leftover Make-over!

  1. Eat as it is
  2. Potato and chard soup: Add some water/broth and puree with immersion blender – (Optional: add other boiled/sautéed vegetables, cream, mustard etc for variation.)
  3. Spanish omelet (photo): Add beaten eggs, S&P. Cook both sides of the egg/potato/chard mix in small non-stick skillet until egg is set and golden brown.
  4. Frittata: Add beaten eggs, S&P. Cook the mixture in an oven-proof skillet, cook one side on the stove, then put the skillet in the oven to finish it up.
  5. Traditional Omelet with potato and swiss chard: cook beaten eggs, S&P in a non-stick skillet. When the eggs are set, add the potato/chard mix on one side. Flip the other side of the egg to cover the veggies.
  6. Gozleme (Turkish Quesadella): Spread the potato/chard mix and feta cheese thinly on Tortilla. Cover with another one and trill both sides.
  7. Quesadilla: Spread the potato/chard mix, and shredded cheeses on Tortilla. Cover with another and grill both sides.
  8. Grilled Pita Sandwich (photo): Spread the potato mixture, and sliced cheese between half cut pita and grill or pan-fry both sides.
  9. Potato and Swiss Chard Curry: Sautee grated ginger, garlic and chopped onions (faster when you use batched sauteed onions).  Add chopped tomatoes, curry powder and spices and cook down a bit. Add Potato and Chard mix and cook until hot.
  10. Potato and Swiss Chard gratin:  Top the vegetables with shredded cheeses and bake.
  11. Come up with your own recipe and share it with us!

Do you feel like a Kitchen Wizard now?