December 30, 2016
I spend the first couple weeks of January digesting the holidays - and using up leftovers from the big feasts, most notably turkey, cheese ends, leftover ham, bread and enough turkey stock to take up most of my freezer space. (I put the surplus in a bin outside, which works well only until a chinook blows in.) I also every year vow to eat more soup - it’s typically loaded with veggies, makes use of whatever is in the fridge and takes awhile to eat, forcing me to be more mindful - and filling me up at a proper pace.
It’s the time of year everyone slows down and tries to eat more economically, stretching their grocery budgets after all that holiday spending - and we always try to eat more healthfully after all that holiday indulgence. Every new year I vow to eat more soup - it’s warm and comforting, yet tends to be healthy, and a great way to increase your daily dose of veggies. One of my hands-down favourites is a Mexican chicken soup with lots of lime - it’s perfect when you have the sniffles - everyone seems to be coming down with something this week - and isn’t loaded with cream and noodles like some soups tend to be. I also adore soup made with spicy sausage and chickpeas - it has just the right amount of spice, and is hearty enough to feel like I’ve had a real meal. It’s even better after a day or two in the fridge, so I’ll likely make it on the weekend and reheat it as needed (adding fresh cilantro and avocado on top) through the week.
We also love eggs in our house - and a frittata is another one of my favourite economical meals; a baked Italian egg pie, it’s like a quiche but without a crust, and has the same characteristics as an omelet, but is much less finicky since you cook everything together at once in the pan. The eggs bind together any combination of ingredients you like – scraps of meat, cheese ends, vegetables (even roasted and other cooked ones), potatoes, herbs, cooked pasta – anything that goes well in an omelet makes a great frittata, and it’s a great way to use up leftovers, or salvage veggies that may be starting to go limp. If you want to wing it, the basic proportions are 1 to 1 1/2 cups filling for every 5-6 eggs. Honestly, any form of leftover food will work in a frittata, from roasted squash to stuffing (really!).
Since we’re heading back to school this week - and still have turkey and cranberries to turn into sandwiches - I’ll start making my almost-famous sandwich bread again - a recipe that came from Julia Child, but is now our go-to classic white bread. My son calls it his “favourite bread”, and it’s soft and comforting, perfect for sandwiches (especially turkey), peanut butter toast on rushed weekday mornings and french toast on chilly weekends when you’re getting to the end of the loaf.
Happy 2017 everyone!
Spolumbo’s Italian or chorizo sausage
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I’m a fan of the roast chicken. Not only is it simple, versatile and delicious, it makes the best leftovers.