My late husband never ate leftovers growing up. His mom prepared exactly enough food for that dinner each night and that was that. He told me that he never even heard the word leftover until he went to a friend’s house for a sleepover. They woke up the next morning, and his friend said “all we have are leftovers to eat” and he was like “what the hell is that?!”
So I learned over the years to be super creative with “leftovers.” Meaning if I made fried chicken for dinner one night and there were leftovers (I love leftovers, and um, turns out I think I am feeding a family of six most nights!). So I would have to morph that into something different the next meal, like chopping off all the chicken and making fried rice with it.
I know we are in the thick of our summer weather (hello near 100 degrees in Chicago!) but I find some dishes can stand the test of the seasons, and a Bolognese is that dish for me.
To make it a tad healthier, I bought ground turkey at the discount rack at Jewel. Chicago peeps – the discount meat section at Jewel is the bomb.com. I bought this package of Laura’s lean turkey for only $1.99 a pound, and it normally sells for $7.99 a pound. (Note though t,hat if you do buy meat in the discount rack, either use it within 24 hours or freeze it when you get home).
This is also a great way to sneak veggies into a dish and no one will know they are in there. The secret is to puree the veggies as fine as possible in your food processor.
Healthy Italian Bolognese
- 1 cup carrots
- 1 cup celery
- 1 red pepper
- 4 cloves garlic
- 16 ounces lean ground turkey
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- 20 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- ½ teaspoon seasoning salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
In a food processor, grind the carrots, celery, red pepper and garlic together until chopped fine. Heat a stock pot over medium low heat. Add the pureed veggies to the stock pot, and the remaining ingredients. I usually stir the pot a bit in the beginning, and then let the veggies sweat out a bit, and using a potato masher, mash down the ground turkey. Then simply let it simmer for 30 minutes (or longer!) and be sure to taste to season with more salt and pepper if necessary.
The obvious first meal with this is served over pasta with meatballs.
The second meal is a fried pizza! I make pizza nearly every week, but you can buy store bought pizza dough. I fried the pizza dough, and then topped it with ½ a cup of the Bolognese, topped with shredded mozzarella and broil until the cheese is melty.
Third up? Make minestrone soup! Use 1 cup of the Bolognese, mix with 2 cups of chicken broth, ½ cup of kidney beans and ½ cup leftover cooked pasta. Top with some Parmesan cheese and you have some good eats!
Next is a favorite savory breakfast of mine – one pot spicy eggs and potato. In a food processor, place 2 cups of the Bolognese with two chopped corn tortillas (the tortillas thicken the sauce). Place in a cast iron skillet. Stir in chopped canned potatoes, and then add 4 cracked eggs to each ¼ of the pan, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese, top with a lid and cook for 5-10 minutes – depending on if you like runny eggs or well done yolks (like me – I am team no runny egg!). Top with fresh chopped spinach. Serve with crusty bread for dipping.
And last, but not least, make zucchini roll ups. Slice a zucchini into thin ribbons. Cook the slices over medium high heat, until slightly browned and pliable – about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly. In a small bowl, mix 1/3 cup ricotta cheese, 2 tablespoons of chopped basil, 2 tablespoons milk, ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper and 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Lay the zucchini strips and spread the ricotta mixture over the top, and roll them up. Place 2 cups of the Bolognese in the bottom of an oven safe dish. Add the stuffed zucchini to the sauce, nestle it in, and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
If pizza is your thing, check out our hands on class and learn to make pizza on the grill!
If pasta is your thing, check out our summer pasta classes or even our pasta boot camp.
7/22/18: Pasta Workshop: New Summer Menu
7/30/18: Pasta Workshop: New Summer Menu
7/14/18: Pasta Workshop: New Summer Menu
8/05/18: Pasta Boot Camp
If brunch is your thing, check out these classes!
7/14/18: Bonjour Brunch
7/22/18: Bonjour Brunch
What are your thoughts on leftovers? Are you a fan or not? I like how it pushes you to make different dishes with just one pot of Bolognese – but I have to ask, of all the dishes above, which one would be your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!