Leftover GF Toast ‘Planks’

Leftover GF Toast 'Planks'

I had a few leftover loafs of gluten free bread from the other nights Gluten Free Peppers and Brats (click photo to be taken to that post) and wanted to share a great way to use up this little odd shaped bread.

I sliced my bread in to planks, melted some butter in a pan, sprinkled in some Penzey’s Sandwich Sprinkle and then laid them flat side down to be toasted in the pan. Add a little more butter and salt when your flip over.

Sometimes, it’s the most simple of techniques is the most tasty! Crispy, buttery, crunchy, salty, on the outside, soft on the inside, …now that’s heaven in a bite!

Serve as an easy side to soups, stews, eggs, or grilled meats. Yum.


Southwestern Black Bean and Corn “Salad”

Grab your cowboy boots and hat, and sidle up to this nummy salad! Trust me, you’ll be looking for a steel guitar and pining for the smell of horses and leather to accompany this scrumptious and versatile salad.

I put ‘salad’ in quotation marks because leftovers are absolutely delicious over the top of grilled french bread -‘Hello Paris!’ , as a ‘Bruschetta’ topping – or is it ‘Ciao Italy’?, or as a chunky dip with sturdy tortilla chips -‘Hola Mexico!’. I’ve served this in organic romaine lettuce or butter lettuce leaves, which is like a vegetarian version of a the Asian lettuce wrap, and it would be a nice punch of flavor in a breakfast tortilla wrap with scrambled eggs. It is so versatile for leftovers, but so delicious, you may not have any ‘left over’!!!

(As always, my recipes are fluid and something you adjust to taste. I will give approximate amounts, but adjust to your own taste. You can double this recipe, but it will make a generous amount for a large group!)

((Try to let the salad rest at least an hour to absorb all the great flavors from the dressing.))

Southwestern Black Bean & Corn Salad

1 can (approx 2 cup if you make your own) Black Beans, rinsed.

2 cups corn. I used leftover corn cut from the cob, from a previous nights dinner, but you can use defrosted frozen.

Cilantro: A nice big handful, chopped. We love cilantro, so add a bit more, and I will add some fresh to leftovers.

Avocado: I slice this over the top of the salad. You can rough chop it and toss in to what you are going to eat, but it gets mushy if kept too long. Better to add it fresh to the portion you are eating.

Dressing: (For 1 cup of dressing which is more than enough to dress the salad.)

1/3 Grapeseed Oil (you can use corn, I don’t because of the GMO’s)
1/3 cup Lime Juice
Approx 2-3 tbsp red or white wine vinegar
1 tsp Cumin
1-2 tsp Ancho Chili Powder (you can use reg chili powder, I prefer the pure chili, but if you don’t have on hand, use high quality chili powder)
1 clove Garlic, minced or put through a press
1/2 tsp Oregano
1/4 cup diced Red Onion
pinch of Sugar
1/2 tsp dijon or stone ground Mustard
salt and pepper
Optional: Smoked Paprika or Chipotle Chili Powder

Whisk all the dressing ingredients together and adjust spices to taste. (It might need more sugar, more cumin, more garlic, ect)

Toss the beans, corn and cilantro with the dressing.

Top with fresh ripened avocados.

While I seem to have covered the globe in serving options, I will personally start with what is closest to my heart. Cowboy country flavored good eats!! Yee Haw!


Leftovers Soup: Turkey-Spinach-White Bean

Leftovers Soup: Turkey-Spinach-White Bean

I know it sounds odd, but it’s what I call it. Leftovers Soup is a yummy and easy way to use up those leftovers so they don’t go bad nor go to waste. This particular soup used up the turkey leg meat from a previously roasted turkey; Turkey stock, made from the bones of previously mentioned turkey; and a half of a Costco container of leftover baby spinach.

I also added onions, celery, carrots (which I always have on hand), a package of mushrooms (which were on sale at the grocery, I can always find a use for reduced price veggies!), and precooked white beans pulled from my freezer.
(When you have time cook up beans and portion the beans in 2cup measurements into quart ziploc bags and freeze. This way you can have the convenience of ‘ready to use’ beans at a far cheaper cost than canned)

For spices I used Alleppo pepper for a bit of spice (you can use red pepper flake), 2 packages of Goya ‘Sazon‘ (it gives the soup that lovely red color and adds a distinct puerto rican flavor-buy it and keep it on hand!), a good heavy handed shake of PenzeysMural of Flavor‘ and a bit of salt & pepper to taste.

I garnished with this soup with parmesan cheese. (Which I buy at the big box retailer and keep in the freezer. I then portion some in a small container to be kept in the fridge)

With leftover soup try to think of combinations that go well together. For example, turkey and mushrooms are a natural pairing. I have a book ‘The Flavor Bible‘ that helps me with ideal food combinations and pairings.

Layer flavor by browning or sweating your vegetables. Add chili pepper flakes to the oil while sauteeing to ‘bloom’ the flavor and temper the heat. Add durable spices (like bay leaf) to the liquid in the beginning of simmering, and add fresh (cilantro/parsley) or delicate spices (tarragon/marjoram) near the end or as a garnish. Add dark meats early to eek the flavor out of them, delicate/white flesh meats near the end. Frozen peas or corn are added at the end also, so they don’t overcook and get mushy.

If using raw lentils, add at the beginning, they take some time to cook. Cooked beans, however, add and simmer just long enough to heat through, otherwise they tend to break apart.

For more of a chowder style soup that is gluten free, make a “slurry” – cornstarch mixed with cold water/stock/milk – and add, cooking to thicken. You may also use arrowroot, but only for dairy free soups. Arrowroot + dairy = slime. Use about 1 tbsp of starch for every 1.5-2 cups of liquid.

Tomato paste really deepens in flavor if cooked with the veggies in the beginning with the oil. Add when the veggies are soft, just before you add the stock, cooking it a bit to take the rawness off. It adds a complex depth and dimension and a bit of thickness to the soup.

Save those meat bones! If you don’t have time to make a simple stock from your chicken or turkey dinner, put them in a ziploc freezer bag and freeze them until you do have time. No need for defrosting, just plop them in with carrots, celery and onions, and simmer and let reduce. The stock can then be used or frozen for future use. As my grandmother taught me: waste not, want not. Use your homemade stocks as one of the layers of flavor foundation for your soup.

Depending upon my mood, what is in the fridge and what I have on hand, I save myself money, prevent food waste and feed my family food that I know is healthy and good for them.

As a side benefit, I always have a little leftover for hubby to take to work for lunch the next day, or an afternoon snack for a hungry child going returning from school and headed out to their athletic activities.

I hope this inspires you to look at those leftovers in a new fresh way: Transform turkey, mashed potatoes, and corn in to a chowder. Cubed leftover meatloaf can be the beginnings of a riff on Italian Wedding soup. Left over beets can be morphed in to a kicked up Borscht topped with healthy greek yogurt garnish. Leftover lamb makes a fantastic ‘curry’ with chickpeas and canned tomatoes.

The possibilities are endless!