I love Thanksgiving dinner so much that having it again the next day is just perfect, even after having a turkey sandwich for lunch. I could probably be talked into having it again two days later. But, there is a limit to how many times I can have the exact same dinner, even if it is one of my favorites.
So let’s talk about how to use those leftovers in a creative way. You worked so hard on that meal. It would be insane to just let it sit in the fridge and eventually go bad. Plus, it’s always fun to think of new ways to use an “old” dish.
Kale. Did you know about this dark green vegetable 5 years ago? Maybe you did. I hope so! But, if you didn’t, you probably do now.
It has become quite the favored little treat.
Yes, I consider kale a treat.
In light of its popularity, let’s plan a party around it. Invite your friends, your co-workers, your in-laws… Let’s have a Kale Party!
Your table could feature: Kale and lemons in old canning jars, mismatched vintage china (totally ok if it’s chipped or imperfect – it has a story), a burlap table runner, rust or dark green napkins, heavy silverware, hand cut wine glasses, large antique bowls and serving platters, and cast-iron soup pots and skillets. Simple, rustic elegance.
Here are some menu ideas for your first Kale Party:
Appetizer/Snack for your guests to munch on while you (calmly) finish any last minute preparations – Spicy Kale Chips
I’ve just scratched the surface here. There are so many things you can do with kale. I mean, really, I’d be happy with some raw kale drizzled with excellent olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, a dash of cayenne, and a sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Serve that with a side of Crispy Potatoes and I’d gladly call it dinner. (Great, now I’m hungry. And I’m wishing we were having this for dinner tonight instead of the Spaghetti that I have planned…)
I think that you will most definitely agree that kale is a wonderful thing. Go call your friends… it’s time for a Kale Party!
I think I would like to enjoy some burgers and hot dogs, some potato salad and coleslaw, some onion rings and french fries. We’re going to a BBQ this afternoon, so I’m guessing I will get my wish.
Are you going to BBQ today, this weekend, sometime soon? Maybe you need some ideas for your menu. I’m on it.
I love a good burger. This burger might be a little messy, but it’s oh so good. Yes, there’s an egg on it. Try it. Just trust me. If you’re not into bacon and egg on a burger, that’s cool too. Here are twoother favorites.
Cabbage isn’t really in season right now, but, if you’ve just gotta have Coleslaw, here’s one I like.
If you like the idea of hearty salads, Taco Salad is always delicious. Or, the Tomato Corn and Quinoa Salad that I made for this week’s episode was really tasty too (and it’s what I’m bringing to the BBQ that we’re going to).
And then there’s dessert. I’m more of a savory than sweets person, but I do still enjoy dessert once in a while. And I know there are many who would much prefer to eat dessert than the main course. I’m glad we’re not all the same. If you want simple, may I suggest some really good quality Vanilla Ice Cream (I’m partial to Trader Joe’s French Vanilla) with a spoonful of homemade jam over each helping? Or, Roasted Berries and Apriums over that ice cream, or Aunt Sue’s Chocolate Fudge Sauce… If you’d like something less ice creamy, more tarty, how about a Pluot Tart with Black Pepper! Or a Strawberry-Balsamic Tart… I don’t think you’ll be sad about any of these options really.
Whatever you do, however you celebrate summer, the 4th, Canada Day, and just being alive, I hope you eat well, enjoy your family and friends, and have a great time!
There are many reasons why I learned to love to cook. One of them is a friend named Sheila.
I am not the only one whose love for cooking was initiated by her. Not even close.
Sheila and I were roommates for four years during the time that I worked at a small Bible School in Texas. I left in 2006 when I moved to California to get married. We see each other every couple of years. We talk, we message, we leave notes on Facebook. It isn’t enough, but it suffices to keep us close, even though many miles separate us.
Sheila got married over the weekend. I was there to celebrate with her.
It’s times like this that get me feeling reflective and emotional (ok and, as evidenced by the above photo, silly and giggly…).
In Texas, Sheila was the Head Chef. But, on her days off, someone else had to cook. Sometimes that someone was me. This was not something I was super comfortable with…
One lunch, I was cooking for the usual 75 or so people. I was making Hot Chicken Chili. Sheila always had her menus planned, food bought, instructions ready for those of us who filled in. As instructed, I cooked the chicken with the seasonings, I added the onion, then all the other ingredients except the beans. I turned to her instructions. They said to use the beans that were in the plastic grocery bag on the shelf. I got them out, looked at them skeptically. I called her and left a message asking if she really did mean that I should use the two bags of dried beans that had been in the plastic bag. I didn’t hear back, so I dumped them in. All of them. Dried beans…
And then she called. “You didn’t use those beans, did you?”
“Yes. Both bags.”
“You’re going to have to pick them out.”
There was another bag of groceries that I hadn’t seen. The one with the canned beans. Oh!
My friend Jodi came into the kitchen at that point. It’s a good thing she did. I was about to have a meltdown, since I only had about 45 minutes until lunch was to be served.
We picked out each bean.
And now I know, dried beans need to be soaked overnight and then cooked for hours and hours.
Sheila taught me a lot more than the difference between dried and canned beans. I think her love for cooking just kinda rubbed off on me. I look up to and admire her. I call her when I need help with substitutions in baking. I use her recipes for French Bread and Potato Pan Rolls, because they are my favorites. And I try to hold back tears when she says that she’s really proud of me and what I’m doing with the show and my blog. You know that feeling when someone you really admire, who is a trained chef, who really actually knows what they’re doing, tells you that you’re doing a good job? It’s pretty incredible.
She’s very special to a lot of people. She’s starting a new chapter in her life and we’re all watching in anticipation to see what will happen next.
Sheila and I have accumulated many many hours of laughter over the 12 years that we’ve been friends. Making this short cooking show episode a looooooong time ago was a big source of laughter. Before, during, and many years after. It’s mostly just us laughing at ourselves, but still showcases our mutual love for food.
Recipe type: Main, Dinner, Casserole, Pasta, Tuna, Fish
There’s no canned cream of mushroom soup allowed in this Tuna Casserole!
2 C cooked rotini rice pasta
1 shallot, chopped
1 watermelon radish, grated
2 carrots, grated
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 C mushrooms, chopped
⅔ C peas (frozen)
1 t dijon mustard
1 t lemon juice
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 T cornstarch
½ C water, divided
1 C pasta water
½ t dried basil
½ t dried parsley
1 t garlic sea salt (or regular sea salt)
1 can tuna
⅓ C parmesan cheese, grated (plus a little more for topping)
Cook pasta. While it cooks, heat pan, add shallot, carrots, radish, and mushrooms, and ¼ C water. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, peas, tuna, and seasonings; cook 1 minute.
Whisk cornstarch with ¼ C water, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and dijon. Pour over veggies, bring to a boil and cook for a minute or two.
Stir in cheese.
Add pasta water and stir.
Taste and adjust seasonings.
Let sit for a few minutes before serving so pasta can soak up the sauce.
Serve topped with a little bit of parmesan cheese.