Already struggling with your bid to live your best life this year? If your January intentions include a more streamlined suppertime routine, we have help.
Three top chefs offer up these tips. See the full video for how-to’s and ingredients.
Paul Shufelt: Look in the Fridge
Here’s how he does it:
“I call it fridge pasta.”
“Rifle through the fridge, find things that work. I always say, when you’re doing a dish like this: close your eyes and think about how things will taste together.”
To make this version: Start with a hot pan and some olive oil. Simmer together garlic, black forest ham, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, and after a few minutes add pesto and that leftover arugula or spinach you’ve been intending to eat as part of a healthier you in 2020. Splash in some leftover white wine as well.
No wine in the fridge?
“Here’s a great excuse to put some in there,” Shufelt says.
“You’re looking for a little bit of balance — a little bit of brightness, a little bit of acidity, something earthy helps — maybe something a touch on the sweet side, like the tomatoes we’ll finish with.”
The sauce comes together while the pasta is cooking and then Shufelt uses tongs to put the dripping al dente pasta directly form the pot of water into the frying pan without draining in-between.
“A little bit of that starchy water is actually a thickening agent,” he explained.
The final professional touch: finish your fridge pasta with fresh-grated Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil.
Jason Greene: Cook Once, Eat All Week
Jason Greene, Chef de Cuisine at Kindred Food + Drink at the JW Marriott, shows us how to stretch a Sunday dinner into a week of meals.
Chicken four ways: Your Sunday roast chicken forms the base of a week of easy eats.
“Soup is really easy,” says Greene, outlining the first leftovers option. To do it like the pros, roast the stripped chicken bones in the oven first.
Then, make your own stock: boil then simmer the bones with some mirepoix — chef-speak for diced carrots, celery and onions.
“You can even do it in the slow cooker,” advises Greene, adding once you have stock you can toss in more chicken and some leftover pasta from feeding the kids.
“Bang! You’ve got a nice hearty lunch or dinner.”
For the next dish: “Take a little bit of chicken that we have leftover, and just some straight-up tomato sauce, a little bit of cumin and some paprika. That’s it.” You now have taco filling. Greene garnishes his tacos with avocado and marinaded cabbage.
Finally, the leftover stock becomes the base for a sauce for chicken pot pie. Add your leftover carrots from Sunday’s roast chicken dinner, more chicken and some fresh peas. Cover the dish with puff pastry.
Enjoy while congratulating yourself on a stress-free week in the kitchen.
Lindsay Porter: Make Something Unexpected
There are typical ways to re-purpose leftovers, like using leftover roast for beef dips. Delicious — but predictable. London Local chef and owner Linday Porter turns a Sunday staple on its head with a stick-to-your-ribs pasta.
“Comfort food? What’s better than a nice spicy, beefy, shrimp curry.”
“Brown butter, beef, shrimp — really can’t go wrong,” says Porter.
Make it at home: Dice leftover brisket or whatever cut of roast beef you have on hand. Add it to some shrimp sautéing in butter in a cast iron pan.
Porter then dollops in some curry sauce, noting curry powder works as well. Next, comes cooked pasta added to the simmering sauce.
“My biggest tip: save all the juices, no matter what you roast.”
“Pork, your beef, the end of the pan — save everything you possibly can. It’s probably the biggest flavour bomb you can hit any meal with.” And with that, she loads some beef stock into the pan.
Here’s one more way to take the stress out of weekday meals: “If you’re doing a roasted meal on the weekends, you’ll usually have peas, you’ll leftover vegetables — add it to your pastas.”
“It really makes for a quick, easy, delicious meal.”
The crowning touch? Minimal clean up. “When I’m cooking at home, it’s one pan. I don’t want to clean any more.”