Tag Archives: leftovers

Recipe: Chana & Cauliflower Masala

I’ve recently realized that a lot of Indian food is actually quick and easy to make. This chana and cauliflower masala is another Indian dish adapted from frugal feeding; at least two more of his Indian recipes are on my list to try.

monochrome but delicious

monochrome but delicious

“Chana” means “chickpeas” in Hindustani, so this is a vegetarian stew-like dish made with chickpeas — I added cauliflower for even more health and texture. The dish has a nice spice profile and is great for a quick, warming Friday or other weeknight dinner. It’s also easy to double the recipe for more people. As has been the case in the past, this dish is more flavorful the next day, after the flavors have had time to blend and mellow. Serve this over rice — or not, as it’s hearty enough to stand alone — and feel free to stir in some plain yogurt to cut the spice and add some tang.

Chana & Cauliflower Masala (adapted from frugal feeding; serves 4-6)


  • optional: 1 cup rice + 2 cups water
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp neutral oil (I use sunflower oil)
  • 2 tsp whole cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1-inch size piece of fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • to taste: salt
  • optional, for serving: dollop plain yogurt


  • Put the rice on to cook, if using.
  • Place a medium pot of water on the stove over high heat. When the water boils, add the cauliflower and cook 5-10 minutes or until it is firm-soft. Drain and set aside.
  • Sauté the onions in oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until they are translucent.
  • In a separate, small skillet, toast the cumin and coriander seeds until they are fragrant, then grind them with a mortar and pestle. Add these and the other spices (through ginger) to the onions in the large pan and cook on low for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add the tomatoes and water to the pan and let simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add the chickpeas, garlic, salt, and cauliflower to the pan and bring the mixture to a boil, then let simmer for 10-15 minutes or until it thickens to your liking.
  • Serve over rice — or not — and with or without a dollop of plain yogurt.



Recipe: Dianne’s Sweet Potato Casserole

My mom makes this classic family recipe every year for Thanksgiving. I don’t know where the original recipe actually comes from — I just know it as Dianne’s delicious sweet potato casserole.


There are no marshmallows on this. While marshmallows have their place in s’mores, I believe they have no place A) at Thanksgiving, and B) on top of sweet potatoes. You are welcome to disagree with me on that front.

Sweet potatoes are such incredible things on their own that they hardly need doctoring up (see marshmallow comment, above), but this casserole adds just enough to take them above and beyond your normal weekly pan of roasted root vegetables.

I got this recipe from my mom and made the sweet potatoes for a small Thanksgiving-in-London gathering at Sarah and Joe’s. The dish got good reviews all around and I was pleased that it tasted just like it does when Dianne makes them. The cinnamon and cardamom, along with a healthy dose of orange juice, give the potatoes a warming, autumnal flavor with a bit of zing. This sweet potato casserole is quick to put together — you can even make it the day before Thanksgiving and bake it or just reheat it on the day. It also makes great leftovers.

Dianne’s Sweet Potato Casserole (serves 8-10)


  • 3lbs/1.5kg sweet potatoes (about 3 large ones), peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 2/3 – 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup pecans


  • Preheat the oven to 375F (190C).
  • Put the sweet potato chunks in a large pot and add water until the potatoes are just covered. Bring to a boil and let simmer until the sweet potatoes are soft/mashable, 15-20 minutes.
  • Drain the sweet potatoes, then mash them in the pot.
  • Add everything but the pecans to the sweet potatoes, and mix until thoroughly combined.
  • Pour the sweet potato mixture into a casserole dish  (I didn’t have one so used a springform cake pan) and arrange the pecans on top.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, then let cool slightly before serving.


Recipe: Five-Spice Spinach & Vegetable Stew, aka “Friday Stew”

This soup/stew smacks of health. I’ve called it “Friday stew” because I basically threw in all the vegetables we had left in the fridge. Thanks to the spinach, it ended up a bright-ish green color. But don’t let that turn you off: it tastes delicious, especially with some plain yogurt (or cheese, if you’re F) stirred in.

pre-blending (leave it this way if you prefer)

pre-blending (leave it this way if you prefer)

Spiced with REWE’s Inseln der Südsee (a mixture of Chinese five-spice, chilies, ginger, cumin, coriander, green pepper grounds, lemon zest, and powdered garlic) — a gift from Maya — the soup acquires a soft spiciness with a slight tang. A squeeze of lemon at the end brightens it all up.

Feel free to make this with any combination of vegetables you have lying around. You can blend it or not; the blended texture is pleasantly thick and reminiscent of daland tastes great cold or reheated on the second and third days.

Five-Spice Spinach & Vegetable Stew, aka “Friday Stew” (makes enough to serve 5-7 people generously)


  • 2-4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2-4 tbsp Inseln der Südsee OR roughly:
    • 20% Chinese 5 Spice
    • 5-10% chili powder or red pepper flakes
    • 5-10% ground coriander
    • 5-10% ground cumin
    • to taste: powdered ginger, garlic powder, salt, pepper
  • 4 carrots, peeled & roughly chopped
  • 1 potato, peeled & roughly shopped
  • 2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 kg frozen spinach
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • for serving: plain yogurt


  • In a medium pot, boil the rice in 3-4 cups of water until it is tender, 20-40 minutes.
  • In a big pot or Dutch oven, sauté the onions and garlic over medium-high heat until they begin to soften. Add the spices, stir, and cook a few more minutes.
  • Add the carrots, potato, and celery to the pot, stir and let cook for a few minutes.
  • Pour in the stock and bring to a boil, then let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the spinach and simmer, stirring occasionally, for another 10 minutes or until the potatoes and carrots are soft.
  • Take the pot off the heat and puree everything using an immersion blender. If you’re using a regular blender, puree the soup in batches. Alternately, leave it chunky!
  • A few minutes before serving, stir the rice and lemon juice into the soup. Serve with a dollop or two of yogurt on top.


Recipe: Classic Buttermilk Biscuits

Sunday evening, after a brisk but sunny afternoon at the ZSL London Zoo in Regent’s Park, F and his visiting friend S made a delicious British beef, leek, and mushroom stew. Naturally, I offered to make biscuits, since stew practically begs for some kind of carb to dredge through the broth.


I thought about making these biscuits (but not these, which are best enjoyed on their own) — which have been delicious every time — but we had a lot of buttermilk in the fridge so I opted for a classic buttermilk biscuit, courtesy of smitten kitchen. The fluffy, buttery biscuits were the perfect complement to the hot, brothy stew. They’d be great alongside my mom’s beef stew, too. Don’t discount day-old biscuits, either — spread a bit of soft cheese onto one for a nice afternoon snack.


In my mind, buttermilk biscuits are supposed to be savory, so I used a minimal amount of sugar in these. Feel free to add more if you like sweeter biscuits. These would also be great with some minced chives or scallions mixed into the dough.

Classic Buttermilk Biscuits (adapted from smitten kitchen; makes 6 medium-large biscuits)


  • 280g (2.25 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 15g (1 tbsp) baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 5 g (3/4 tsp) salt
  • 125g (9 tbsp) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk


  • Preheat the oven to 200C (400F) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients (through salt).
  • Add the chunks of butter and use your fingers to work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  • Stir in the buttermilk until a shaggy dough forms. Use your hands to finish forming the dough.
  • Tear off chunks of dough and gently form them into rounded patties, then place them on the baking sheet.
  • Bake the biscuits for 12-15 minutes or until they are golden brown. Serve warm with your favorite stew.


Recipe: Mushroom & Leek Quiche

This mushroom and leek quiche is no ordinary quiche…it is a delicious, indulgent, deep-dish quiche.


The following recipe was inspired by smitten kitchen’s “over-the-top mushroom quiche.” Ours isn’t quite as over-the-top as Deb’s, but since F and I had never made quiche before, we looked to smitten kitchen for some general guidance in crust-making, egg and milk proportions, and cooking time.

The crust turned out perfectly. Flaky, buttery, just barely browned. It’d be just as good for a sweet pie — apple, berry, you choose. If you need proof of the crust’s goodness, just look at the tower of butter that went into the dough:

Leeks and mushrooms, with the help of some thyme, come together beautifully for a smooth, fall-like flavor. The silky egg mixture binds everything together, and a bit of cheese on top and underneath lends a hint of salty richness. This quiche is equally as good warm and cold — enjoy it for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner.

A few notes before you start cooking: The quiche takes some time from start to finish, so you’d probably be smart to do it on a weekend or another day when you have at least three hours to spare. That said, much of the time is inactive, for dough chilling and quiche baking. Many people swear by par-baking quiche crusts, but we didn’t do it and thought the crust was perfect — just the teensiest bit soggy but otherwise golden and flaky. For the milk, feel free to use any combination of cream/milk/half-and-half that you prefer; we used mostly semi-skimmed milk and it was a little watery, so next time we might just use whole milk. Quiche is already indulgent, so why not?

Mushroom & Leek Quiche (with some help from smitten kitchen; serves 6-8)


  • Pastry Crust:
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 225 grams (1 cup / 2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, in small chunks
    • 1/4 cup (60 ml) water, ice cold
  • Quiche Filling:
    • 3 leeks, sliced thinly
    • 3-4 cups mushrooms, sliced thinly
    • olive oil, for sautéing
    • 1-2 tsp dried thyme (use more if using fresh thyme)
    • 6 eggs
    • 3 cups milk and/or cream (we used 2.25 cups semi-skimmed milk + 3/4 cup single cream)
    • to taste: salt, pepper, nutmeg
    • 1-2 cups grated cheddar cheese (or other melty cheese of choice)


  • Make the crust: Whisk together 1 cup flour with the salt, then cut in the butter with a mixer or your fingers until a dough starts to form. Work in the rest of the flour, then the water (you may not need the entire 1/4 cup). Form the dough into a flat, round disc, then wrap it in plastic wrap and chill it in the fridge for at least an hour.
  • When the dough has chilled, prepare the crust: Lightly oil a springform cake pan. Cover your surface with flour and put the disc of dough on it. Sprinkle the dough with flour, then carefully roll it out into a 16″ round. Gently roll the dough onto the rolling pin, then carefully unroll it into the springform pan. Press it into the bottom and up the sides of the pan, then chill in the fridge for 20 minutes, while you prepare the vegetables.
  • Preheat the oven to 325F (160C).
  • Prepare the vegetables: Slice the leeks and mushrooms, then sauté them in olive oil over medium-high heat until soft, 5-10 minutes. While the veggies are cooking, whisk together the eggs and milk/cream. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste. Grate the cheese.
  • Assemble the quiche: After the crust has chilled for 20 minutes, take it out of the fridge and sprinkle half the cheese over the bottom of it. Fill the crust with the leeks and mushrooms, then pour in the milk-egg mixture.
  • Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top, then pop it in the oven for 1.5 hours (you may need to cover the quiche with tinfoil halfway through, so the top doesn’t burn). Let the quiche cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.


Recipe: Warm Tahini-Citrus Couscous & Kale Salad with Baked Sweet Potato

Today I bring you a totally original recipe — that’s right, an inspiration from my own mind (though I’m sure others have had similar inspirations).


Couscous salad tastes great warm or cold. It easily stands alone as a full meal, but you could also enjoy it alongside some kind of protein main. The salad gains texture and chew from kale, color and flavor from cherry tomatoes and sweet potato. Tahini-citrus dressing rounds it off with creaminess and zing — they aren’t mutually exclusive.

photo 3

You do have to prepare the separate components before mixing everything together, but I can’t stress enough how easily and quickly it all happens. Plus, if you’ve made my garlic-sautéed kale, you’ll notice that this uses just that! Feel free to customize to your tastes, and if you don’t have enough time to bake a sweet potato, just leave it out and your lunch will be ready even sooner.

Warm Tahini-Citrus Couscous & Kale Salad with Baked Sweet Potato (serves 4 generously)


  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • Salad:
    • 1 cup dry couscous + 2 cups boiling water
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 3-5 garlic cloves, peeled & sliced thinly
    • 1 large bunch kale, roughly chopped
    • 1.5 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Dressing:
    • juice of 1 lemon (or lime! I used one half of each)
    • 2-3 tbsp tahini
    • 2-4 tbsp olive oil
  • to taste: salt & pepper


  • If using sweet potatoes, poke them a few times, place in a baking dish, and pop them in the oven at 400F (200C) for about an hour, until they’re soft.
  • Make the couscous: Put the dry couscous in a small pot and pour the boiling water over it. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
  • Make the kale: Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes, then throw in the chopped kale and stir until it’s coated with oil. Cover and let cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes or until the kale is relatively soft.
  • Meanwhile, whisk together the lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Add the halved tomatoes. When the couscous and kale are done, add them to the bowl and stir to combine.
  • When the sweet potatoes are ready, you can roughly chop them and add them to the salad or just have them on the side.


Recipe: Cheesy Baked Pasta with Broccolini & Sausage

smitten kitchen for the win — yet again. Almost every recipe of Deb’s that we’ve tried has turned out well. I know I’ve waxed poetic about smitten kitchen before, but it’s true.


And this baked pasta is no different. Decadent and cheesy, yet surprisingly light. So delicious that F and I couldn’t help having seconds. Nutmeg-y béchamel enrobes pasta, cheesy pockets of mozzarella, and little nuggets of sausage with broccolini on top — what’s not to love?

In all honesty, F prepared this while I was out and about — kudos to him for excellent execution, as always. He makes a mean béchamel and, sauce lover that he is, made a bit more than the original recipe called for. We used caramelized onion sausage, which added a pleasant and subtle sweetness to the dish. Instead of chopping the broccolini (which we used instead of rabe), we lay the stalks whole on top of the pasta before covering everything in parmesan and baking it.

This is basically grown-up mac and cheese, and totally counts as a one-dish meal, though we had some green beans and a salad on the side for good measure. The flavors are reminiscent of broccoli-cheese soup; this is like the deconstructed version. Go make it now, and you’ll understand what I mean.

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Broccolini & Sausage (adapted from this recipe; serves 6 generously, or two with lots of leftovers!)


  • 1 lb pasta of choice (we used whole wheat spirals)
  • 2 bundles broccolini (or broccoli rabe or regular broccoli)
  • 1 lb / 450g / 6 pork sausages, casings removed (we used caramelized onion; feel free to use Italian and/or spicy ones)
  • 200g parmesan, grated
  • 250g mozzarella pearls (or large mozzarella balls, chopped)
  • 3 cups milk (we used semi-skimmed)
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • to taste: pepper & nutmeg


  • Cook the pasta as directed. Five minutes before the pasta is done, add the broccolini to the pot. When everything is done cooking, drain the pasta and set the broccolini aside.
  • While the pasta is cooking, remove the sausages from their casings and cook in oil over medium heat, about 5 minutes or until browned. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 200C (400F).
  • Make the béchamel: Melt butter over medium heat in the pan you cooked the sausages in. Stir the flour into the melted butter until smooth, then cook for 1 minute. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking constantly. Season with salt, garlic, pepper, and nutmeg, then let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Combine the pasta, béchamel, sausage, mozzarella, and half the parmesan. Stir and spread into a large baking dish. Arrange the broccolini stalks on top, then sprinkle the rest of the parmesan over everything. Bake for 15-25 minutes or until the top is browned and crispy.


Recipe: Simple Chicken Biryani

We’ve discovered that it’s way cheaper per pound/kilo to buy a whole chicken, roast it, eat some, then create another tasty dish with the leftover meat. In the past, we’ve used leftover chicken for buckwheat noodle salad and borshch, among other things. This week, I wanted to try something new. After scouring a few of my favorite food blogs, I settled on this Fragrant Chicken Biryani because we had almost all of the ingredients and it would make enough to feed us for another meal or two. And since roasting a whole chicken is pretty darn frugal, I thought it appropriate to use one of frugal feeding‘s recipes.


At its most basic, biryani is a spiced rice dish with vegetables and/or some kind of meat. The technique is simple: Sauté onions and spices, cook some rice, add some meat or veggies, stir them all together, then pop them in the oven for 20 minutes. Voila: a one-dish meal!


I followed frugal’s original recipe pretty closely, though we used more chicken and added leftover roast potatoes, which led us to adjust the spice measurements. We used brown rice in place of basmati. The biryani tasted delicious — F couldn’t stop nibbling at it, and each of us had a second helping. “Fragrant” is definitely a great way to describe this dish; turmeric lends a pleasant yellow color, coriander keeps things bright, red pepper flakes give it a kick, and the cinnamon deepens the flavors. You’ll love it.


[Back to frugality for a second: the 1.9-kg chicken we roasted, which cost about £8, fed us (generously) for 6-7 meals: Sunday dinner for each of us, Monday lunch for F, and Monday dinner as biryani with 1-2 portions leftover.]

Simple Chicken Biryani (adapted from this recipe)


  • sunflower or other neutral oil, for sautéing
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • to taste: fresh ginger, grated
  • 1.5 cups rice (I used brown rice, but traditional biryani calls for basmati)
  • 2-4 cups leftover chicken, shredded into bite-sized pieces
  • optional: 1-2 cups roasted potatoes, cut into small cubes (we had leftovers)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • handful of fresh coriander, minced


  • Start your rice cooking by covering it with 2cm (~1 inch) of water and bringing it to a boil, uncovered. Let it boil until most of the water is absorbed, then put a lid on the pot and turn the heat to low until the rest of the water evaporates.
  • In a pan over medium-low heat, sauté the onions and spices in oil, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes.
  • Stir the potatoes and chicken into the onion mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, over low heat until the rice is done.
  • Preheat the oven to 150C (300F).
  • When the rice is cooked, add it to the pan with everything else. Add the lime juice, and stir until combined. Pop the pan in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
  • Stir in some fresh coriander before serving. Feel free to serve some raita or other yogurt sauce alongside.