The Fresh Letter Menu for April 9th, 2021

Leftover refresh ideas for the win.

Hi there,

When I wrote to you last week, I didn’t have high hopes for the amount of cooking I’d get done while preparing to move (this weekend!). I’m happy to report I exceeded my low expectations and ended up spearheading dinner multiple nights this week. What inspired my unexpected bout of cooking gusto, you ask? Leftovers, my friend, leftovers. We were fortunate to have a lovely and inordinately large meal for Easter last Sunday and were left with spiraled ham that I turned into a creamy, mustard-y pasta dish, leftover lamb shank that became a Greek-ish grain bowl, and a plethora of roasted vegetables that I remixed into (what else?) a chopped salad.

Is repurposing leftovers into a new meal really cooking, though? I think so! You’re getting a meal you’re excited to eat on the table, so who really cares if you’re taking some minor shortcuts here and there. We’ll talk a lot about this leftover refresh concept during our meal prep class with Abigail next weekend and I hope to see you there! Use code SUNDAY for a discount when you...

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Since leftovers are top of mind, today’s suggested menu includes recommendations and strategies for refreshing them into totally new and exciting meals. Let’s get into it:


Mains

Chickpeas and Kale in Spicy Pomodoro Sauce (V, GF) These broth-y chickpeas are gorgeous as they are, but next day, you could stir them into a bit of cooked short pasta, add them to a casserole dish, top with some mozzarella and parmesan cheese and bake off until the cheese is melty, browned, and bubbly for a lovely vegetarian pasta bake and a meal that feels brand new.

Greek Lamb Burgers with Mint Tzatziki Sauce (GF) Take a page out of my book and refresh these lamb burgers next day as a Greek-ish grain bowl. Crumble them and serve with your grain and veggie sides of choice. I dished mine up with a quick cucumber salad (diced cucumbers, thinly sliced red onion, red vinegar, salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar), basmati rice, and a slaw.

Cheesy Lentil Bolognese Bake (Veg, GFO) This may sound a bit strange, but you can turn most casserole recipes into a delicious stew the next day—we’re basically reversing what we’ve done to the Chickpeas above. Sauté some onions, carrots, and celery in a bit of olive oil and add a scoop or two of your pasta bake to the pot. Use the back of your spoon to break it up, stir in salt, dried herbs of choice, a few cups of your broth of choice, a can of san marzano tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Cook it for 20-30 minutes and adjust to taste with salt and maybe a few splashes of balsamic vinegar. Use GF pasta to make this dish gluten free.

Sides

Vibrant Tasty Green Beans(V, GF) These beans would be an excellent addition to any chopped salad. Read more about my formula for a perfect chopped salad here if you missed it.

Herbed Maple Mustard Slaw (V, GF) Use this slaw as a side for the Greek-ish grain bowl I mentioned above, or turn it into a satisfying spicy sausage stir fry. Slice your sausage of choice on a bias, add it to an oiled hot pan and sear on both sides. Stir in the slaw and cook until it’s slightly wilted. Adjust with salt and a splash of apple cider vinegar to taste and serve with some crusty bread or rice and enjoy.

Edamame Crunch Salad (V, GF) This salad would make the perfect mix in for a next-day fried rice. In an oiled pan over medium heat, add the salad and cook until the greens and cabbage are wilting. Stir in cooked rice of your choice, a little soy sauce or GF Tamari, and if you want a protein boost, make a little empty spot in your pan and crack an egg-or-two into it and scramble, then stir into the rice.

Suggested Pairings


I hope today’s menu serves as a little inspiration to get creative with your leftovers. I’m excited to share more meal prep refresh ideas with you in class on Sunday, April 18th. We’ll spend two hours cooking together and you’ll come away with 8-10 exciting, flavorful meals and tons of tips and tidbits for keeping your meal preps feeling fresh and interesting. Abigail has a very tasty banana bread recipe up her sleeve for us (she interviewed me in her newsletter this week, if you’d like to hear a bit more about my thoughts on meal prep and preferred road trip snacks) and is also such a plethora of food knowledge—it’s a joy to collaborate with her and I think you’ll love learning from her too! She’ll be stepping in as guest tipster in Monday’s newsletter and I’m excited to see what fun recommendation she’s got in store for us. But in the meantime, you can…

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Okay, that’s all from me this week. As always, keep in touch. Let me know if you’re refreshing your leftovers by responding to this email or tagging/DMing me on Instagram! And if you’re not already a paying subscriber, but liked what you read today, you can…

With love and a *tip* of my chef’s hat,

Erica

Want more? I’m so flattered! You can also follow me on Instagram or check out my blog where you can find my tip-laden e-book collection.

GF: Gluten Free, V: Vegan, Veg: Vegetarian, VO: Vegan Optional. GFO: Gluten Free Optional, VegO: Vegetarian Optional