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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Using Leftover Food

Left-over foods that you would normally throw out are like free food if you can re-purpose them.  Here are two examples from my own kitchen.
Broccoli Stem Soup
I don’t really like eating the stems of the broccoli; when I cook broccoli, I just like to eat the smaller ‘twigs’ and the florets of the broccoli. The large ‘trunks’ of the broccoli can be tough.  However, I found a way to use them that is delicious: broccoli stem soup. 
First, ‘peel’ the broccoli stems to remove the tough outer skin.  Chop the peeled stems in small pieces.  Heat up approximately 3-4 cups of water in a pot.  Before it starts boiling, add a pouch or cube of chicken or vegetable broth concentrate. Add the broccoli pieces and let simmer until the broccoli is soft.  Take the pot off the heat and, using a stick blender, puree the broccoli and broth together.  Put back on the heat and add roughly 1-1.5 cup grated cheddar cheese (any kind you like; you could probably use Cheez Whiz if you wanted).  Let the cheese melt, stir well, taste and adjust seasoning (salt and pepper to taste).  Et voilĂ , great homemade soup!!
Crumb Muffins
This is a great recipe that uses cereal, cracker and cookie crumbs, or any combination of these.  Whenever you have a few bits of cereal at the bottom of the box or bag (you know when the cereal becomes like a ‘powder’ at the end) or cookie or cracker crumbs, pour them inside a plastic jar or container and seal it.  When all the crumbs together reach 1 cup, you are ready to make muffins.  Do NOT use bread crumbs, cake crumbs, or anything soft or moist crumbs (I tried, it doesn’t work).
First, soak the 1 cup of crumbs in 1 cup of milk, until the crumbs are soft and have absorbed the greater part of the milk (15 + min; you can do this in the fridge and leave for the day).  Add 1 cup of flour, ¼- ½ cup of sugar ( ¼ if using cereal or cookies; ½ if mostly crackers), 1 egg, ¼ cup vegetable oil, and 2 tsp baking powder.  Now, add some ‘bits’: ½ cup chocolate chips, ½ cup raisins, or ½ cup of nuts.  Also add a flavour: 1 tsp vanilla or ½ tsp cinnamon, or 1 tbsp coffee syrup.  Grease a 12-cup muffin mold (or use paper cups in the muffin pan) and fill to 2/3 each muffin holder.  Bake at 3750F for 20-25 min.  Remove from the oven and let cool 10 min before removing from the muffin pan.  Enjoy!  These can be very healthy if you use healthy cereal crumbs for your base and they freeze well.

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