13 Leftovers That Taste Better Cold – Bon Appétit

13 Leftovers That Taste Better Cold – Bon Appétit.

Sometimes leftovers just hit the spot when you need a quick snack, lunch or are on a midnight forage through the refrigerator. Bon Appetit has put together 13 items that tastes even better when they are cold so you know what to look for when you really want something fast. Check it out!

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Posted by on August 20, 2014 in Cooking, Cooking Websites, Leftovers, Snacks


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Loving the Cold Lentil Salad with Cucumbers and Olives

Lentils are one of my favorites when it comes to beans. They are so versatile and add such great taste and texture to a wide variety of dishes. Of course, lentil soup is always a good choice, but I also like to make lentil salads. Lentil salad is a great summertime dish because you can serve them warm, room temperature or cold and they still taste great. I came across this recipe from The Kitchn not that long ago for a simple cold lentil salad with cucumbers and olives to give it a bit of a Mediterranean flair. you can make this one pretty quickly and it goes well with all kinds of dishes.

Cold Lentil Salad with Cucumbers and Olives

2 cups lentils

2 garlic cloves, smashed

2 bay leaves

1/2 tablespoon whole grain mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 medium cucumbers, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces

1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, roughly chopped

3/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint, roughly chopped

1 cup ricotta or feta cheese (optional)

Combine the lentils, smashed garlic and the bay leaves in a large pot and cover the ingredients with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the lentils are just tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain the water and remove the smashed garlic cloves and the bay leaves and discard them. Refrigerate the lentils until they are cold, at least 30 minutes to 1 hour.

While the lentils are chilling, make the vinaigrette for the salad. In a small bowl, whisk together the whole grain mustard, the salt and the sherry vinegar. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking the mixture constantly as you add the oil, until the dressing has emulsified.

Combine the chilled lentils, the cucumbers, the Kalamata olives and the mint in a large bowl. Pour the vinaigrette over the lentil salad and toss everything to evenly coat all of the ingredients. Dot the top of the salad with ricotta or feta cheese, if using, just before you serve the salad.

That’s all there is to this salad and it tastes great. I love the mix of the cucumbers, olives and lentils and the vinaigrette has great flavor to it thanks to the mustard and the sherry vinegar. I have found that the salad actually gets better in flavor over a couple of days, though if you are going to add the mint to it you should add just enough to what you are serving so it does not go limp when you store it and lose some of its flavor. I did not use the cheese on my salad as I didn’t have either kind on hand, but I think the feta would add a nice touch to the overall flavor of the dish.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!


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Posted by on August 19, 2014 in Beans, Cooking, Salad, Side Dishes


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Wrap it Up – Salmon Baked in Paper (Salmone in Cartoccio)

I don’t buy salmon very often even though it is really good for you and I love the flavor. The fact is that, in my opinion, farm-raised salmon has some ethical issues and it just doesn’t taste that good. I hold out for the wild-caught salmon, but the problem is that most of the time it is just too expensive to buy enough for a meal for the three of us. If I can catch it on sale at the fish market and it looks good, then I will make the investment and get some. This was the case last week when I came across some wild salmon for $14 a pound, a lot cheaper than the usual $19 a pound or more, so I decided to get some and make it for dinner that night. I found this simple recipe from Williams-Sonoma for salmon baked in paper and decided to give it a try. The recipe calls for 6 portions, but I simply cut the recipe in half and made it for the three of us.

Salmon Baked in Paper (Salmone in Cartoccio)

3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped

2 shallots, finely chopped

2 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram or oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for oiling paper

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

6 skinless salmon fillets, each about 6 ounces and of uniform shape

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, stir together the chopped tomatoes, shallots, marjoram or oregano, lemon juice, the 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, salt and pepper.

Rinse the fish and pat it dry with paper towels. Cut 6 pieces of parchment paper into about 12 inch squares. Fold each sheet in half, open the paper like a book and brush the paper to one side of the crease you have made with olive oil. Place a salmon fillet on each oiled side of the paper. Spoon the tomato mixture over the fish, dividing it evenly among all of the packages.

Fold the parchment paper over the fish. Tightly seal each package by folding the edges over several times and creasing the paper firmly. Place the packages on 2 baking sheets.

Bake the packages in the oven until the salmon is opaque throughout, about 15 to 17 minutes. To check for the doneness of the fish, carefully open a package and pierce the fish with a knife.

Slide the packages of the fish onto individual plates and allow the diners to open their own packages individually.

It is a very simple dish that comes out with great flavor, especially this time of year when you can use fresh, local tomatoes as part of the meal. It is an easy combination and the fish is cooked to perfection, cooking in the paper just right with all of the flavors sealed in. I think you could do the dish with any type of fish that you like and just adjust the cooking time according to the thickness of the fish you are using. All in all, it is a very easy and elegant dish you can make any night of the week. I served this with some white rice and some of the black bean and mango salad I had.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on August 18, 2014 in Cooking, Dinner, Seafood


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12 Make-Ahead Burger Toppings – Photo Gallery | SAVEUR

12 Make-Ahead Burger Toppings – Photo Gallery | SAVEUR.

There are fewer things better than having a great burger right off the grill. The flavor you get from grilling your burger is unlike any other method and I could eat them all day long myself, but having some great condiments to go on your burger makes things even better. If you want to go beyond the typical store-bought items and try some things of your own, Saveur Magazine has put together 12 great burger toppings that you can make ahead and have ready for your next barbecue, outdoor party or just to enjoy for yourself. Check it out!


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The Perfect Summer Dessert – Strawberry Chiffon Pie

It’s no secret that I really like Cook’s Country magazine. There are usually a half a dozen recipes or so with each issue that I end up trying out and loving, so it was no big surprise when I got the August/September issue that I found a bunch of stuff that I wanted to try out. At the top of list though was the strawberry chiffon pie that I saw. With strawberries still in season I had plenty of them on hand and the recipe seemed so easy that there was just no way I was going to pass up the chance to give it a shot and I am glad I did. It was easily one of the best desserts I had made in a while.

Strawberry Chiffon Pie

For the Crust:

1 (5.3-ounce) box shortbread cookies, broken into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted

2 tablespoons butter, melted


For the Filling:

2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin

2 tablespoons water

12 ounces strawberries, hulled (2 1/2 cups), plus 8 ounces strawberries, hulled, halved, and sliced thin (1 1/3 cups)

3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) plus 2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 egg whites

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 cup heavy cream, chilled

For the crust, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9-inch pie plate. Process the cookies, sugar, and salt in a food processor until they are finely ground, about 1 minute. Add the almonds and pulse until they are coarsely chopped, about 8 pulses. Add the melted butter and pulse until everything is well combined, about 10 pulses. Transfer the crumb mixture to the pie plate. Using the bottom of a dry measuring cup, press the crumbs evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the plate. Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the crust halfway through baking. Let the crust cool completely on a wire rack, about 30 minutes. The crust can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature for up to 24 hours.

For the filling, sprinkle the gelatin over the water in a small bowl and let it sit until the gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. Process the hulled whole strawberries in a food processor until they are completely smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer the strawberry puree  to a fine-mesh strainer set over a medium bowl and press on the solids to extract about 1 cup of juice; discard the solids. Whisk 3/4 cup of sugar, cornstarch, salt, and the strawberry juice together in a small saucepan.

 Bring the juice mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook the mixture until it is slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Off the heat, whisk in the gelatin mixture until it is dissolved. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, stir in the lemon juice, and let the mixture cool completely, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

 Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites and the cream of tartar on medium-low speed until they are foamy, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium-high and whip the whites to soft, billowy mounds, about 1 minute. Gradually add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and whip until  glossy, stiff peaks form, about 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk one-third of the meringue into the cooled strawberry mixture until it is smooth. Fold the remaining meringue into the strawberry mixture until only a few white streaks remain.

In the now-empty mixer bowl, whip the heavy cream on medium-low speed until it is foamy, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to high and whip until stiff peaks form, about 1 to 3 minutes. Gently fold the whipped cream into the strawberry mixture until no white streaks remain. Fold in the sliced strawberries. Spoon the filling into the crust and spread the filling into an even layer using the back of a spoon. Refrigerate the pie for at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours before serving.

The taste of this pie is phenomenal. You get a nice, fluffy filling that is very light and teeming with strawberry flavor. It does remind you a lot of strawberry ice cream in flavor but the texture is much lighter and then you get the pieces of strawberry inside it as well to top things off. If you wanted to skip making the crust yourself and save some time, you could easily use your favorite store-bought crust instead (shortbread, graham cracker or a Nilla wafer crust would all work well) and you can make this elegant dessert that tastes phenomenal in no time at all. I would be curious to see how well it works with frozen strawberries instead of fresh so you could make it any time of year. I may have to give it a try sometime.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!


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Posted by on August 15, 2014 in Cooking, Dessert, Fruit, Pie


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Copy That! A Copycat Recipe of Chili’s Chicken Crispers

When it comes to family restaurant chains in our area (and there seems to be many more than we need, in my opinion), Chili’s seems to reign as the one that we frequent. Sean has always liked the food at Chili’s since he was little and is well-known throughout our family for his affinity for their cheese fries. Almost as much as he likes those, he and Michelle also both prefer the classic chicken crispers that you can find on their menu. I decided recently that I was going to try and find a copycat recipe for this particular recipe and see if I could make them at home and if they would even be close to what you get at the restaurant. I found the recipe on Chili’s at Home, a blog that features their recipes, and it seemed pretty easy to do so I gave it my best shot.

Copycat Chili’s Chicken Crispers

For the Batter:

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup milk

3/4 cup chicken broth

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

3/4 cup self-rising flour

1/4 cup cornstarch

For the Chicken:

Vegetable oil or vegetable shortening for deep frying

10 chicken tenderloins

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

For the batter, combine the beaten egg, the milk, chicken broth, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Whisk the ingredients until they are well combined. Add the 3/4 cup of the self-rising flour and the cornstarch, whisking into the mixture until the batter is smooth. Let the batter rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

To cook the chicken, Heat the vegetable oil or shortening in a deep fryer or large Dutch oven until the oil registers 350 degrees on a deep fry or candy thermometer inserted into the oil. Place the all-purpose flour in a medium shallow bowl. Coat the chicken pieces with the dry flour and then dip the chicken into the batter, making sure to coat it completely. Allow the excess batter to drip off and repeat the process with the remaining chicken. When the oil has reached the proper temperature, place 3 pieces of the battered chicken into the hot oil and fry the chicken for about 6 to 8 minutes or until the chicken is well browned. Drain the fried chicken pieces on a paper towel-lined plate and repeat the process with the remaining chicken. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

Just a couple of things about this recipe. First, if you can’t find self-rising flour near you, you can easily make your own. Take 1 cup of all-purpose flour and whisk in 1 1/4 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and you will have your own self-rising flour. Second, you don’t have to use chicken tenderloins for this; I only had some boneless chicken breast on hand, so I cut them into small strips and used those, so we actually ended up with more than 10 pieces. I have to say that I think this recipe is pretty much spot on. The coating seemed exactly like what you get at the restaurant. I read elsewhere that Chili’s actually uses an MSG as an ingredient, so the chicken broth is a solid substitute to give you the flavor enhancement without the MSG. The coating is light and crunchy and the chicken is cooked through perfectly. I served this with tater tots and the obligatory corn on the cob. You could easily make your own favorite dipping sauce or use whatever you like to dip them in. I actually made Chili’s avocado-ranch dip to use, which is one of our favorites as well, but you could just use ketchup, honey mustard, barbecue sauce, hot sauce or whatever you like best.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!




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Posted by on August 14, 2014 in Appetizers, Cooking, Dinner, Eating Out, Poultry


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Step Up your Pulled Pork Leftovers with Pulled Pork and Pineapple Tacos

Pulled pork is one of those great meals to serve when you know you are having a crowd over for dinner, but it can also be great for a weeknight meal for the family and then give you plenty of leftovers to do something with. You certainly have your options when it comes to making the pulled pork itself. You can make it in the oven, smoke your own on the grill or smoker if you have one or even make it in the slow cooker to save you some time, energy and prevent the kitchen from overheating in the summer months. However you decide to make it, once you have the leftovers you may get a little tired of having pulled pork sandwiches or pulled pork over rice. Sure you can always whip up a batch of pulled pork nachos, but I decided to take some of what I had leftover and make use of this recipe from Kelsey Nixon of the Cooking Channel. While her recipe calls for the use of leftover shredded pork, I liked the way it worked with the pulled pork instead and decided to use it that way.

Pulled Pork and Pineapple Nachos

1 1/2 pounds of cooked pulled pork (in the oven or the slow cooker)

Corn or four tortillas, warmed

2 cups fresh pineapple, cut into a 1/2-inch dice

Fresh cilantro sprigs, for garnish

Shredded red cabbage or coleslaw, for garnish

Pickled red onions, for garnish

Guacamole, for garnish

Sour cream, for garnish

Shredded Mexican cheese, for garnish

In a large saucepan, warm the pulled pork over medium heat until it is re-heated through. Warm the tortillas individually in a medium skillet set over high heat for 30 seconds to 1 minute or take a stack and wrap them in plastic wrap and heat them in the microwave for 1 minute until warmed through. Top the warmed tortillas with some of the pulled pork and the fresh diced pineapple. Add the other garnishes that you like, such as guacamole, sour cream, cilantro, coleslaw or shredded cabbage, shredded cheese or pickled red onions and serve. Let each person make their own tacos as they like it best.

This can’t get much easier and is a great use of your leftovers. The pineapple and pork go together really well and you get such great flavor from the spices of the pulled pork. I even added some of the black bean salad with mango I had made the day before to the dish for some extra freshness and bite and it really worked well. You could try this with any type of pork you may have leftover, such as tenderloin or chops and just cut them into thin strips and re-heat them lightly with some spice and you can have great tacos from that.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!


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Posted by on August 13, 2014 in Cooking, Dinner, Fruit, Leftovers, Pork, Uncategorized


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