Naperville Eats: New life for leftovers
November 30, 2011 1:54PM
Johanna Cook of Naperville mixes some leftover cranberries with butter to make a delicious spread. | Judy Buchenot~For The Sun
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups of leftover roasted potatoes and carrots
1 red bell pepper, diced
Cut leftover potatoes and carrots into large bite-sized pieces. Heat oil in nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add red bell pepper and chopped potatoes and carrots. Cook until potatoes form crunchy crust and serve.
Stuffed Pasta Shells
1-pound box large pasta shells
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 cups leftover creamed vegetables (spinach, broccoli or corn)
1 1/2 cups of frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
8 oounces mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
24-ounce jar marinara sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Add salt to large pot filled with water. Bring to a boil. Cook pasta shells until al dente; set aside.
Heat the oven to 420 degrees.
Mix next five ingredients. Stuff shells with mixture and place in baking dish. Pour marinara sauce over stuffed shells. Top with mozzarella cheese. Bake uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes.
Recipes courtesy of Johanna Cook
Updated: January 3, 2012 9:00AM
One of the challenges of holiday entertaining is dealing with leftovers. What do you do with half a turkey, a bowl of cranberries and other remains of the meal? Johanna Cook of Aurora prefers to use leftovers as ingredients for new dishes.
“Leftover mashed potatoes can become croquettes if you roll them in a ball, coat them with bread crumbs and fry them in a little butter. Baked potatoes make great hash browns if you chop them up, add onions and fry them,” Cook said.
She says leftover meat turns into stir fry with vegetables and a favorite sauce.
“Serve it with some pasta or rice, and it’s dinner,” she said.
Cook combined her leftover cranberries with butter to create a delicious spread for bread.
“Everyone is on a budget, so no one wants to waste good food,” she said.
Cook has an extensive culinary background. She managed several restaurants while studying journalism.
“I fell in love with kitchen operation,” Cook said.
While on leave awaiting the birth of her third child, she decided to combine writing and cooking by creating a website, www.mommacuisine.com.
“My focus is showing busy moms how to make great food with simple ingredients so they can serve delicious meals and create wonderful memories around the table,” Cook said.
In January, she will launch cooking demonstration videos on a YouTube channel through her website. She has been filming the segments with a professional video company. Lillians in Naperville will supply her wardrobe, and she is negotiating with other local businesses for other items.
Although her long-term goal is to have her own cooking show, Cook is happy to share her tips and recipes on her website. She is also a featured blogger for Chicago Parents Magazine and on the advisory board for the Naperville Moms Network.
Along with leftover recipes, Cook also notes a few safety concerns.
“Hot dishes need to be cooled down to 70 degrees within two hours and then down to 40 degrees within four hours to be safe,” she said. “Use glass storage containers as much as possible to avoid the chemicals in plastics.”
She also recommends using refrigerated leftovers within two days.
Know someone who really likes to cook and is good at it? Contact columnist Judy Buchenot at Buchenot@comcast.net.