With the Autumn Equinox on Sept. 22, summer’s officially over and fall begins; and from days that are longer than nights, we’ll begin the downhill coast to the shortest hours of daylight in the year on Dec. 21 at the Winter Solstice.
Once the days get shorter, they’ll inevitably get cooler, with fewer hours of sunlight, and the yearning for more comfort foods will take over from the desire for salads and lighter fare.
We all tend to be busier in the fall too, with all sorts of clubs, organizations and activities underway again after the summer break, so meal-making has to be done more efficiently, but with no loss of nutrition.
Vegetables generally cook more quickly than meat, so leftover meat is easily combined with vegies to make a quick leftover meal.
For that reason, don’t hesitate to make extra meat on the weekend when you have a little more time for preparing meals, so you have some left with which to make a second meal a couple of days later.
Even an extra steak cooked on the weekend can be simply sliced and tossed with a hearty green salad for a meal during the week, or with noodles and thinly-sliced vegetables for a pasta dish.
Meatballs can be used in a tomato sauce, stuffed into pitas with vegies or in soup.
And, there are endless possibilities with cooked chicken or turkey, from salad or soup, to pasta dishes or fried rice; with sauces or just as a snack or a sandwich.
Leftover roast can become meat pie, or be ground up with vegetables for a shepherd’s pie, as my Mom used to do after our traditional Sunday night rib roast.
This week is the inaugural free, six-day Thrive Health Festival put on by the Central Okanagan Division of Family Practice, using doctors to help empower the community to eat healthy and be physically active.
Doctors will conduct healthy snack tastings at Save On Foods in Orchard Plaza, walks on the Mission Creek Greenway and cycling in Southeast Kelowna, as well as a zumba class at Stuart Park Thursday.
Saturday, there’ll be a health festival at City Park noon to 4 p.m.
There are lots of healthy recipes in my book, Jude’s Kitchen, available wherever books are sold.
Minestrone Soup with Leftovers
This was made with just some slices of leftover cooked bacon, but you could add some leftover hamburger or ground meat from a previous meal, or other thinly sliced cooked meat.
2 slices leftover cooked bacon
2 medium onions
1 c. (250 ml) Savoy cabbage
2 celery stalks
1 garlic clove
8 c. (2 l) beef stock
1 1/2 c. (375 ml) water
1/2 c. (125 ml) elbow macaroni
1 medium potato
1/4 c. (60 ml) parsley
1/4 c. (60 ml) parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
Chop leftover, cooked bacon into dice.
Slice carrots and chop onions. Cut cabbage into thin strips and slice leeks and celery.
Heat a drizzle of oil in a large soup pot and add the onions, then the leeks, cabbage, carrots and celery and stir. Mince the garlic and add once the vegetables have softened a little.
Add the beef stock, bring to simmering and let simmer for about 40 minutes.
Meanwhile in a smaller pot, boil the water and add the macaroni, cooking until just done, not soft. Drain and set aside.
Also, chop the potato into small cubes and peel the tomatoes and chop them up. You could substitute equivalent tinned or canned tomatoes.
After the soup has been cooking for about 20 minutes, add the potatoes, and 15 minutes or so later, add the tomatoes and cooked macaroni, cooking for a further five minutes.
Add the minced parsley and parmesan cheese just before serving and season, to taste, with salt and freshly-ground black pepper.
Leftovers Beef Pot Pie
Some people love leftovers just as they are, but often either you’re missing part of the meal because it was all eaten up, or you just don’t like facing the same meal a second time. That’s where a good pot pie makes its entrance, whether the original meal was a pork, beef or lamb roast or steak or a chicken. I would substitute chicken stock for the beef if making chicken or pork pot pie.
This beef one would be great paired with a nice fruity B.C. VQA syrah red wine like Sandhill or Mission Hill’s Five Vineyards.
1 celery stalk
1 clove garlic
drizzle of oil
1/2 tsp. (2 ml) salt
1/4 tsp. (1 ml) pepper
1 tsp. (5 ml) dried thyme
2 tbsp. (30 ml) flour
1/2 to 3/4 lb. leftover beef
1 c. (250 ml) beef stock
Pre-heat oven to 375 F.
Chop onion, celery, carrots and mushrooms and crush garlic.
Heat oil in a frypan over medium-high heat and add onion, celery and carrots and saute for three to five minutes until soft.
Mix salt, pepper, thyme and flour and add to onion mixture. Stir, scraping bits off the bottom of the pot, for three to five minutes.
Meanwhile, chop up and trim leftover beef roast or steak into small pieces and heat stock.
Add beef stock and simmer for two or three minutes, stirring until thickened. Stir in beef pieces.
Pour into a deep nine-inch pie dish.
Make pastry for the topping and place on top of the pot pie. Cut a few slits in the top of the crust.
Bake in a 375 F. oven for 30-40 minutes or until brown.