Tuesday, February 2, 2010

RCM Day 2: Cook once, eat twice

I am a hater of leftovers, I really am. When I was a teen we would go to Sunday supper at my MawMaw's and she would cook this HUGE southern meal. I loved her cooking and learned a lot of what I know from watching her. She always made sure to make enough to last for almost a week for 1 adult + 2 kids. My dad would pack all the leftovers up in containers and take them home. For 3-4 nights out of the week that is what we would have for dinner while the other 2-3 nights he would cook. And then it would be Sunday again.

This led to me never save food, learning how to cook exactly what we need for each meal and not any extra's. Trial and error as I was accustomed to very large servings! Those times I did save leftovers they never got eaten and would get tossed later on in the week.

Now that I have gotten older (and thusly lazier) I can appreciate a good leftover every now & then. In fact I know some things are better the next day (chicken n dumplins!). So now I am working on rewiring my brain to cook once, eat twice. I have a few things I can make double batches of or a meat I can cook today and use in another recipe tomorrow. Here are a couple of my favorites!

Boneless skinless chicken breast -- when cooking for dinner night #1 cook a few extra and save in the fridge. The next day you can use that chicken in fried rice or sesame noodles. Another leftover chicken fav is to shred it, mix with taco seasoning and have chicken fajitas. A juicy tender beef roast is also good for double duty, night 1 you have your roast & potatoes & veggies. Night 2 beef roast sandwiches, or like the chicken shred and make beef fajitas! My absolute favorite meal for double batching and freezing for later has to be lentil rice burgers. They are cheap, easy and the kids LOVE them! The recipe I am going to post makes about 6 burgers, I cook the full bag of lentils and add 4 cups cooked rice to make about 20-24 burgers. We eat the 1st half fresh that night and wrap the leftovers in wax paper to freeze. Also including the home made burger bun recipe, it really compliments the meal and is super easy!

Lentil Burgers
1 cup lentils, dried
1 cup brown rice (white also works, just less nutritious)
5 cloves garlic
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 inch ginger, peeled
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne
olive oil for browning

Prepare rice and lentils according to package instructions; drain lentils well. Place cooked rice, lentils, and remaining ingredients except for olive oil in a food processor and blend until smooth. Allow to rest in the fridge for at least four hours.

Heat olive oil (enough to coat the pan) in a cast iron skillet. Shape "meat" into patties and fry a few minutes on both sides, until well browned.

Serve as hamburgers!

Basic White Bread Recipe from Breadtopia
For KitchenAid Stand Mixer


1/2C (4 oz.) milk
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 (1/4 ounce) packages active dry yeast or 2 teaspoons Instant Yeast (.34 oz.)
1 1/2C (12 oz.) warm water (105F to 110F)
5-6C (1# 13 oz.) unbleached bread flour


1. Combine milk, sugar, salt, and butter in small saucepan. Heat over low heat and stir until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Cool to lukewarm (less than 110 F).
2. If using active dry yeast, dissolve yeast in warm water in warmed bowl and let stand for 10 minutes. If using Instant Yeast, just add it to the flour and mix it in before adding liquids.
3. Add lukewarm milk mixture and water to 4 1/2 C (1# 6 oz.) flour. Attach bowl and dough hook. Turn to speed 2 and mix 1 minute. Continuing on speed 2, add remaining flour, 1/2 C (2.5 oz.) at a time (slowly so it doesn’t fly out of bowl), until dough clings to hook and cleans side of bowl. Knead on speed 2 for 2 minutes longer, or until dough is smooth and elastic. Dough will be slightly sticky to the touch.
4. Place in a greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm place, free from draft, until doubled in bulk, about an hour.
5. Punch dough down and divide in half. Shape each half into a loaf and place in a greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Cover; let rise in warm place, free from draft, until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
6. Bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes. Remove from pans immediately and cool on wire racks.

For Hamburger and hot dog buns, divide the dough into 2-1/2 oz portions and shape into a ball. Allow to rest for 5 minutes and then flatten with the heel of your hand and place on cookie sheet dusted with cornmeal. Allow about 1” between rolls for expansion/proofing. For hot dog buns, shape into about 5-6” long tubes with seam down. Brush with whipped egg white/water mix and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds. Bake at 400° F for 12-14 minutes or until 200°F.

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