Land & SEAsonings, Mermaid Recipes, Recipes, Spices

Reinvent Your Restaurant Week Leftovers

This coming Friday starts Kansas City’s Restaurant Week (January 11-20). Restaurant Week is an annual post-holiday tradition across the country in various cities for special lunch and dinner pricing. Diners can visit their favorite or new restaurants for a lower price. And restaurants can create revenue during the lull between the holiday and Valentine’s Day period.

I love Restaurant Week and usually am able to go to 2 to 3 restaurants during that time. There is a fun vibe during this time as typically places are sold out, so the participating restaurants are full of customers. The only problem is I end up coming home with leftovers, because I never can eat everything since it’s typically a three-course dinner. And then when the leftovers come home (unless it’s a dessert!) often, they get pushed back to the dark recesses of the fridge. Then when they surface, or I remember they are back there, they don’t look so good after a week or so in the fridge. Unfortunately, they get thrown in the trash, and I shake my head over the waste, mad at myself for not remembering the box in the fridge.

Left-Over Steak & Vegetable Soup

So last year I started doing something different. The next day I turned those leftovers into something yummy. For instance, I love steak, especially rib eye, but can only eat about 3 or 4 ounces. Restaurants typically serve 12 or more ounces. The next afternoon as I thought about fixing dinner on a cold winter January evening, I decided to make soup out of my left-over steak, using my Mother’s vegetable-beef soup recipe.  One left-over steak made enough soup to feed 3 to 4 people!  (Depending on how many vegetables you throw in.)

Ingredients

  • Left-over steak cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 C chopped onion
  • 2 T butter or margarine
  • 2 T oil (Recommend using Avocado Oil*)
  • 3 T flour
  • 1 T of Land & SEAsonings spice mix (instead of paprika, salt and pepper)
  • 2 C beef broth
  • 1 C water
  • 3 celery stalks, sliced
  • 4 sprigs parsley, chopped  
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup cubed potatoes
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup cubed turnips (optional)
  • 1 can tomato paste (6 oz.)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz.)
  • 1/2-1 cup frozen corn (Or peas or green beans or a combination of two or three. You can  use canned vegetables, but it’s so much easier to keep frozen vegetables on hand for recipes like this – besides the frozen will taste better.)

Directions

  1. Using a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat and then add oil. Brown the onions and then mix in the steak cubes. Mix flour and the Land & SEAsonings spice mix together and then mix well over the steak and onions.
  2. In a large pot, combine broth, water, parsley, celery, and bay leaf. Add steak mixture and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes; no need to cook longer per typical soup recipes because the steak was already cooked.
  3. Add potatoes, carrots and turnips; cover and simmer another 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Uncover and add tomato paste and diced tomatoes. Take about a half of cup of frozen corn (peas or green beans) from the bag and thrown in the soup. Add another half cup if desired.  Continue cooking uncovered over medium to low heat for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the bay leaf before serving. Serve with a side salad and your favorite crackers or bread for a tasty dinner (or lunch).

Since then I’ve been trying to use leftovers in a variety of dishes. Your protein item (beef, chicken, etc.) is an especially good starting point. So, if you bring home leftovers during Restaurant Week or any other time, here are just a few things you can make using either steak/beef and chicken (depending on how much you have):

1. Soup
2. Tacos, Enchiladas or Chimichangas
3. Slice and add it to a Salad
4. Frittata
5. Pie – Chicken Pot Pie or Irish Stout Pie
6. Stew
7. Paninis or Sandwiches
8. Stir Fry with Veggies and put over Rice

Tip:  With most of these dishes, try skipping the salt and pepper, chili powder, paprika, etc., and use our Land & SEAsonings spice mix instead. It will boost the flavor and boost the nutrition!

*Working at Midwest Mermaid Muse is teaching me a lot about eating healthier. And Kathy recommends not using vegetable oil. It’s not the healthiest oil since the chemical processing depletes the natural mineral content, and that’s why it has that high smoke point. One recommended alternative is Avocado Oil, sort of the new kid on the block. Much like coconut oil, it is beloved by the clean-eating community and surrounded by that same health food halo. However, unlike coconut oil, it doesn’t have quite as much saturated fat (only 1.6 grams per tablespoon). It is, however, packed with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, and it has a high smoke point (375 to 400 degrees F) and neutral flavor without being chemically processed like canola and vegetable oil. It’s a bit more expensive than those more processed oils, but if you’re interested in avoiding refined foods, want that high smoke point, and don’t mind the splurge, then this is a great alternative.

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