Showing posts with label leftovers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label leftovers. Show all posts

January 23, 2013

Comfort Food = Mac & Cheese

I love pasta. I'm sure I would have made my grandmother's family proud. Somewhere out there is a distant Italian relative who just shouted 'hurrah' across the ocean.

I have always been a macaroni and cheese kind of gal -- of course as a child, it conveniently came out of a box, and was one of the first things I probably learned to 'make'. Most of my pasta still comes out of a box, but only the pasta itself, and not the packet of orange powder.

When the Sailor isn't home, I tend to eat far too much pasta. He doesn't eat it, nor do I ever expect him to. A friend's father in England often used to say, 'If God wanted me to eat pasta, I would have been born in Italy.' 

The Sailor tends to agree with that line of reasoning. 

So the only pasta dish that gets made when he's home is the occasional lasagna, or some sort of dough stuffed with either potatoes or meat -- a pierogie, for instance. Floating noodles (like in the case of Pennsylvania Dutch Pot Pie*) are also acceptable, perhaps once if not twice a year. 

With temperatures at -19 F this morning (seriously, Old Man Winter -- isn't that a little chilly, even for you?) I was craving comfort food. 

I also wanted any excuse to use this gorgeous 2.5 quart Butterfly Gold vintage Pyrex casserole dish I found last week, at an antique store with a friend (it's the one on the bottom. The top one is a 1.5 quart I found ages ago.)

I had been lamenting not nabbing this piece months ago at the Weekend Antique event I went to, but at $20, I couldn't really justify it. Plus, I already found the refrigerator dishes I wanted that day. Sometimes you need to space out the joy.
But last week, I had just put down several pieces of Butterfly Gold that I didn't really like or want (the divided casserole... a few bowls that I already had...) and then I spied this lovely beast in a corner, for only $4. 

That's right. FOUR dollars! It had a few burn marks on it -- and it came with a clear lid, not the white patterned lid like some of the casseroles did, but I couldn't have cared less. I wanted the actual dish! 

 Turns out 2.5 quarts is just the right size for this classic mac and cheese casserole. 

I based the recipe off of this one from Annie's Eats. After I threw the casserole in the oven, and double checked the cooking time, I realized that I somehow completely skipped an entire main ingredient. 

I didn't add any colby jack cheese. 

(Not only did I not add it, but I didn't make up for it with any other cheese. How sad is that?)

I also had about half the amount of panko bread crumbs the recipe called for in my cupboard, no parsley, and no chicken broth (how is this possible? I ALWAYS have chicken broth somewhere.) Fortunately, I happen to save the turkey juice from Christmas lunch, so I used that instead, along with a little bit of veggie broth to get it up to the required amount. I was pretty chuffed with myself, since I do like to use up what I already have in most cases.

And, I used almond milk instead of regular milk, and quite possibly more garlic -- this dish definitely had some heat.
In my world, classic macaroni and cheese pairs perfectly with stewed tomatoes. But I only had a handful of cherry tomatoes that I needed to use up, so I sliced them in half and tossed them on top of the casserole. 

Regardless of my kitchen mishap with both directions and ingredient lists, the dish was delightful edible. And I have more than enough leftovers for lunch until the Sailor gets home.

I think next time though, I'll definitely try to stick with the original recipe -- with one exception. I will most certainly keep the tomatoes in there.

* For my true opinion on Pennsylvania Dutch Pot Pie, click here.

November 26, 2012

Leftover Turkey Pie

Thanksgiving yields a bounty of leftovers -- no matter how big or small your gathering is, it always seems like there's at least some extra turkey in the end. 

I make two things incredibly well -- my potato salad and real chicken pot-pie. When in doubt, I make and bring either of these two items to pot-lucks or I make them for guests. People have different ideas of pot-pie though.

I grew up in Pennsylvania Dutch country, and the first time I ordered pot-pie in a local restaurant, I looked up from the floating noodles in dismay. My mother must have seen my face, because she calmly explained to me that this was not pot-pie. 

My Chicago-born parents made it clear for me at a very young age that chicken pot-pie has a crust. As the floating noodles were not encased in either a top or bottom crust, it would stand to reason that I never ordered that version of the dish again (although I did finally yield to hometown tradition... and I learned to make the PA Dutch version. It's not bad, but I still don't think they should have called it pot-pie. It's more like chicken noodle soup with chunks of potatoes.) 

Pot-pie to me is pure comfort food, all in one dish. The standard recipe I use calls for carrots, celery and onions, all tossed with chicken broth, milk and a little flour. The recipe also calls for peas, but as the Sailor can't stand them, I always omit them, even when he's not home. This time, I added some leftover spinach that has been staring at me from the fridge for the past few days. And of course, instead of chicken, I used the turkey leftovers from Thanksgiving. Flaky pastry dough tops off the pie. (I'd love to use a bottom crust, but considering the amount of butter that goes into the dough, I usually just put a top on the pie.)

There is no photo of the finished pie because let's face it, it never lasts long around here. 

I still had tons of both white and pumpernickel bread leftover from the stuffing I made last week though, so I decided to make croutons with them while the oven was still warm. The pumpernickel took forever to dry out, and I'm not convinced the cubes are fully dry. They are however, delightful while they are still warm, with a few chunks of cheese. 

(Never mind those mini pumpkins -- they're another leftover on the list...)