All you need for this recipe is your leftover dinner and a few eggs. That’s it! Once you’ve made your first leftovers omelette, you will be addicted to the simplicity and deliciousness of this meal.
Eggs are such a versatile and nutritious food, that we like to use them as many ways and as often as we can. This recipe is the same concept as egg muffins, but instead of a greased muffin tin and a hot oven, all you’ll need is a pan on the stove and a spatula. Most anything you had for dinner (or even lunch) the day before will go well in your omelette today. I have made omelettes with leftover curry, stews, casseroles, steak and potato meals, fish, chicken, pork, lamb, and a wide variety of vegetables.
Leftovers Omelette Recipe
Step 1: Warm some butter or oil in a pan over medium-low heat. Put your leftovers in the pan.
Depending on the size of your leftover meat and vegetable pieces, you may not even have to chop them up before putting in the pan. If I’m making a small omelette, sometimes I will just chop the leftovers with kitchen scissors straight into the pan – no cutting board needed. As you can see in my leftover roasted vegetable omelette above, I have small pieces of pumpkin, strips of capsicum (red pepper), and larger pieces of broccoli and fennel. That is the way I made the vegetables to go with my dinner the night before. I might have also put some leftover lamb in the omelette, but we ate it all at dinner.
Step 2: While your leftovers are warming in the pan, beat your eggs in a bowl.
As always, only use the best eggs you can find, from free-roaming, pastured chickens. The egg provides great flavour and nutrition, and most importantly here, it holds all your leftovers together nicely. I recommend about 2 eggs per person, but this may vary, depending on how thick you’d like your omelette and how big your leftover pieces and pan are. You also don’t have to beat the eggs a whole lot. Sometimes it’s nice to just mix them lightly and then you can see the egg’s yellow and white colors separately in your omelette.
Step 3: Pour the eggs into the pan. Tilt the pan around or use your spatula to spread the egg evenly to the edges of the pan.
Use a nice sized pan, and don’t worry about making too much. That just means that you will have a new type of leftovers for your next meal or snack! Omelettes are not just for breakfast. They are quite yummy cold and therefore make a simple, healthy packed lunch. And since there really are no rules about eggs only being for breakfast, why don’t you whip up a quick leftovers omelette for dinner?
Step 4: Cut, flip or cover your omelette to finish the cooking.
There are a few ways to finish cooking the omelette after the bottom and edges start to firm up: 1/Use your spatula to cut the omelette into quarters, then flip each quarter. My daughter calls this pizza omelette. 2/ Flip the whole omelette over – this only works with very small omelettes. 3/ If you have a cover for your pan, put it on and the egg will finish cooking inside in a few minutes.
Add salt and pepper to taste, and if you like a cheese omelette, simply grate your raw cheese over the top of the hot omelette and it will melt right into it. Delicious!
– 450 g (16oz) spinach – 1/2 cup nuts or seeds – 2 crushed garlic cloves – handful fresh basil (or other herb)
– 2-3 eggs
Forget expensive energy bars, sports bars and meal replacement bars that are full of manufactured powders and other non-foods. Here you have a bar that is full of nutrients and it’s made from real food in your kitchen for a fraction of the cost. We all know how nutritious spinach is, then you’ve got protein and nutrient-rich eggs, garlic which boosts immunity in so many ways, and the healthy fats of nuts or seeds. This is a true health bar.
Mark Sisson calls this recipe Spinach Bread in his Primal Blueprint Cookbook, as you can cut it into bigger slices and use as a bread substitute to hold your meats, veggies or tuna salad, like a sandwich. We love it mainly as a snack or side dish, but have also enjoyed scooping up our scrap salads or leftover stews, or sopping up soups, like you would with bread slices. Small cut spinach bars are also great to serve with an avocado or hummus dip, instead of crackers. All my friends and clients who are mums say the best thing about these bars is that it’s the only way their kids will eat spinach. I think this may even be true for some grownups. Any way you slice it, it’s Paleo, it’s primal, it’s nutritious, easy and delicious.
– Mark Sisson’s original recipe calls for pine nuts and basil, which give the bars a pesto flavour. I find pine nuts too expensive, and therefore use whatever nuts I have on hand. I have tried almonds, walnuts, cashews, and brazil nuts. Lightly toasting the nuts in a fry pan or toaster oven gives them more flavour. To make the bars nut-free so Kaiya could take them to her daycare, I even did a batch once with sunflower seeds, and they came out great. Experiment and see what you like.
– Same goes for the basil. If you don’t have any on hand, as is often in winter, try using a different fresh herb or just omitting the herbs altogether. I once tried using thai basil from my friends garden, and it was an all new taste sensation.
– I recently found another version of this recipe on cravingsgoneclean.com where you don’t have to wilt the spinach first, if you want to try that one out too. I’m going to give it a whirl, so let’s compare notes!
– Using organic baby spinach leaves will usually be more expensive than a full bunch of organic English Spinach, so I recommend the latter, but you can use either one.
Spinach Bars Recipe
Step 1: Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Rip spinach leaves away from ribs/stems (not necessary if using baby spinach) and put in a pot. Rinse lightly and shake most water off.
Step 2: Cook spinach in the covered pot over med/low heat for a few minutes, just until wilted.
Step 3: Wrap the cooked spinach into a tea towel, cheesecloth or paper towel and squeeze out all the excess moisture.
Step 4: Pulse the nuts, garlic and herbs in a food processor until nuts are crumbled well but not completely broken down.
Step 5: Add to the food processor your wilted spinach, salt and pepper to taste. Pulse for 10 seconds.
Step 6: Stir in the eggs. Pour mixture into a shallow pan, like a slice pan or pie tin, and spread evenly.
Step 7: Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
Step 8: Let cool, then slice into squares, rectangles or triangles of your desired size.
What nuts and herbs did you put in your spinach bars? Did you eat them as bread, snacks, or both?
I used to think that the term healthy party food was an oxymoron.
How can you use healthy and party in the same breath?
Haven’t we all had a party throw us off our healthy eating goals?
Or felt like a party-pooper for not partaking in all the rich, sugary, processed party food?
Well it doesn’t have to be like that anymore.
First of all, getting healthy (instead of just skinny) is getting more popular, as people are realising how much better life is when you have good health. So you are not the only party-goer who wants to eat real food. Secondly, now that we’ve ditched the low-fat diet myths and embraced Primal diets, we have much more delicious and filling choices for our party menus!
Here are some of our favourite party food ideas, most of which would best suit casual get-togethers and kids parties, but can also be fancied up for a stylish cocktail party or any occassion. Either way, these party dishes can all be made very inexpensively, so your party doesn’t break the bank.
When you are trying to think of what to make for a party, just think of Primal food basics: animal food and plant food. Animal food is red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, wild game. Plant food is vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.
Meats, Chicken, Fish & Eggs
Let’s start with some delicious animal food party dishes that are so simple to make. A good quality wholesale butcher is your best bet for getting grass-fed/free-range meats at cheaper prices. Never buy caged eggs, and always look for wild caught fish, even if you use canned fish.
Mini sausages (chipolatas)
A party favourite with kids and grown-ups alike! Some toothpicks are all you really need to serve these with, but you could also easily do a homemade ketchup or chutney, or a good-quality mustard for dipping the sausages. If you want a more sophisticated presentation, try skewering the whole sausages lengthwise, or use lemongrass to skewer diagonal slices, as shown above.
Chicken wings or drumettes
Just as easy as sausages, and all you need are lots of napkins. These can be baked in a 350F oven in 20 minutes, or you can turn the temp down and cook long and slow for up to 1.5 hours to make nice and crispy. For flavour, google a baked chicken wing recipe, or try my favourite simple coating of sesame oil, olive oil, cider vinegar or rice vinegar, soy sauce, grated ginger, and an optional touch of honey. Mix it all in a bowl, then simply brush it onto your wings before baking.
These can be as simple or fancy as you wish, depending on what you mix the meat with before rolling into balls. For basic meatballs, all you need is ground meat, one egg, onion, herbs and spices. No need for breadcrumbs or fillers; the egg in your mixture works well at holding the small balls together. Most recipes call for browning the meatballs first, before finishing in the oven. But if you are short on time, you can do the whole thing in the oven: 375F for 20 minutes should do it.
A good quality canned red or pink salmon can be used as a shortcut to fresh fish. Most recipes call for forming the mixture into patties and pan-frying, but it’s even easier to just spoon the fish cake mixture into a greased mini-muffin tin and cook in the oven for about 25 min on 350F (180C). Instead of breadcrumbs as filler, here is a great fish cakes recipe using almond flour, and another one using coconut flour. You can vary the taste with different ingredients, such as garlic, chili, ginger, lemongrass, fresh dill/parsely/cilantro, and ground spices.
Salmon Fish Cakes
1 can salmon (8 oz)
1 tbs. coconut flour
1/2-1tbs lime or lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
optional:1 tbs. mustard
Beat 6 eggs in a bowl with choice of fillings: diced meat and/or veggie leftovers, herbs, raw cheese, seasoning. Bake in a buttered muffin tin for 20 minutes on 180C (350F). A mini-muffin tin is even better for party sized egg muffins and for little kids. Some favourite fillings include roasted pumpkin, bacon, leek, capsicum (bell pepper), sausage, and olives. Here are more ingredient ideas for egg muffins.
This is an oldie but a goodie, and loved by kids and adults alike. It’s nothing more than hard boiled eggs with the yolks fancied up and restuffed into the egg. Google a recipe or just improvise. No need for mayo, but if you use it, best to make your own. Otherwise, mustard and seasonings work great, and you can dress the eggs up by topping with diced or slivered raw red capsicum (bell pepper), avocado and bacon, or just some fresh dill.
Fruit & Vegetables
Now for the plant foods. There are endless possibilities for enticing party presentations with all the colourful fruit and vegetables!
Fruit skewers and platters
These can be as simple or fancy as you wish. Simply peel, cut and skewer the fruits or arrange on a platter. If you’re feeling creative, make designs or do a colour scheme.
Raw veggie sticks and platters
The more types of veggies you use, the more colourful your platter. Try carrots, celery, cucumber and capsicum (bell pepper). You can also use purple or yellow carrots, various colours of capsicum, and jicama, if you can find them. Serve with homemade dips like babaganoush, hummus, beetroot hummus, (kids love the colour), guacamole, olive tapenade, or sweet potato and cashew dip. Google a dip recipe! For kids parties, you can arrange the fruit and veg into shapes on the platters, or do something like these clever Sesame Street faces.
‘Ants on a log’ is a very fun dish that especially appeals to children but can easily be fancied up for adults. For the log, celery is most popular, but carrots and banans sliced longways also work well. The traditional filling is nut butter, topped with raisins for the ‘ants’. If you don’t want to use nut butter, try hummus or another homemade dip, or tuna or chicken salad for a more filling dish. Variations on toppings (ants) include diced banana, strawberry, berries, shredded coconut, dried cranberries, olives and sun-dried tomatoes.
Slice zucchini, capsicum (bell pepper), and eggplant, brush with olive oil and cook under a grill (broiler) or on the barbeque until soft. Add more flavour by adding crushed garlic, ginger and/or herbs to the olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste and lay colourfully on a platter. Asparagus, green beans, mushrooms and tomatoes also work well, and olives, pickles and dried tomatoes add a nice touch.
Put 1/4 cup certified organic popcorn kernels in a pot with 2 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Cover and shake every couple minutes until popping starts, then turn heat down slightly and keep covered until popping starts. Pour over some melted butter, sprinkle on some sea salt and you have a healthy version of a very popular snack! You can also get creative with your toppings, like adding ground cumin, coriander, paprika and cayenne to the sea salt and butter for a spicy popcorn.
Making your own sushi allows for great versatility. You can make them with cooked vegetables, raw vegetables, rice, quinoa, meats, chicken, fish – it’s up to you. Cut your sushi rolls into small slices and you have a filling and healthy finger food everyone will love. Here’s how to roll your own sushi plus lots of great ingredient ideas for all different types of parties.
Party Sweets & Cake
For desserts, think “better bad” choices. For example, your coconut macaroons will still have sugar in them, but by making them yourself, you can choose to use good quality sugars, such as real maple syrup, coconut sugar or rapadura. You may want to make a cream cheese frosting for your cupcakes, which is not a great choice because it’s pasteurised dairy. However, it’s a much better choice than commercial frostings loaded with fake ingredients, and it’s only a small amount that each person will have. These are both better bad choices.
Thanks to the current Paleo and Primal food revolution, there are hundreds of delicious better bad desserts on the internet. Elana’s Pantry is particularly popular for her gluten-free, grain-free, low-sugar and raw treats.
These delectable bite-sized treats can be made many different ways, depending on your tastes and dietary restrictions. Start with our recipe for raw cacao balls, then try different versions using dates, various nuts and seeds, and even liquor. If you don’t have raw cacao, use minimally processed cocoa. As an alternative, dried apricots and shredded coconut make delicious apricot balls.
Morning Glory Muffins
Instead of cupcakes for Kaiya’s 3rd and 4th birthday party, we made morning glory muffins with yoghurt cheese and honey icing. Soooo yum!
2 1/2 cups almond flour or almond meal
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups carrots, peeled and grated
1 large apple, peeled, cored and grated
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup raisins
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons honey (optional)
1/2 cup coconut or olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 180C and grease a standard-sized muffin pan.
2. Combine almond flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add carrot, apple, coconut and raisins and combine well.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, honey, oil and vanilla extract together.
4. Pour the wet mixture over the dry ingredients and mix very well. The batter will be very thick.
5. Spoon the batter out into muffin pan and place on upper or middle rack of your oven for 40-50 minutes.
6. When a toothpick inserted into the top of a muffin comes out clean, the muffins are done.
7. Cool muffins in the pan for 8-10 minutes and then remove to a rack to finish cooling.
Cream Cheese Frosting – with no icing sugar! For about 12 cupcakes
1 cup softened cream cheese (or yoghurt cheese)
8 Tbsp softened butter
2-4 Tbsp Honey (depending on how sweet you like)
1 tsp. Vanilla
Beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy (or just mix with a spoon!). Beat or mix in honey and vanilla.
Recipe from: helium.com
For kids parties, the best strategy is to keep things simple. A platter of watermelon slices, some popcorn and grapes are loved by all! The same can often be said for adults as far as simplicity is concerned. People love to go to a party and find recognizable and wholesome food. Don’t you agree?
Do you have a favourite healthy party food recipe?
One of my favourite tips for eating well when time poor is cooking a lot of food at once, and making the most of the leftover food for several more meals. However, most of us don’t want to eat the same meal three times in a row, as it just gets boring! The family starts complaining “Are we having leftovers…again?”, and the pressure is on to cook something new. There are several ways of getting around this though. My favourite tips for creating new meals with leftover food in just minutes are featured in this series ‘Loving Leftovers’, starting with The Basics of Lovin’ Leftovers. This is one I like to call Same Food, New Dish.
Start with Transforming Leftover Vegetables to New Dishes
Last night you made baked potatoes or sweet potatoes in the oven, but you are not a big fan of eating cold baked potato in your packed lunch.
So you take Same Food: baked potato or sweet potato, and make a New Dish: potato salad
– Simply chop up the leftover baked potato and put into a big bowl.
– Then do the same with things like red onions, green onions, fresh herbs, dried herbs, and even any raw or leftover cooked veggies you may have on hand like chopped capsicum (bell pepper), green beans, or peas. Avocado is delicious here too!
– If you have leftover bacon, chicken, ham, or hard-boiled eggs, simply chop and add to the bowl to make a complete meal of your potato salad.
– Lastly, simply toss with a homemade dressing of olive oil, choice of vinegar, and mustard if you like, plus sea salt, pepper and fresh herbs if you have some on hand.
Like most leftover creations, this dish comes out different every time you make it, depending on what leftovers you have to throw in and how much time you have to add more ingredients. Thus you keep your taste buds and your family happy with variety, without the time-consuming venture of a new recipe and new ingredients.
Other leftover vegetable ideas:
Same Food: baked sweet potato/potato/pumpkin. New Dish: mashed potato or pumpkin
– Chop up leftover sweet potato, potato or pumpkin and put into a pot on the stove.
– Over warm to medium heat, add in things like butter, raw milk or cream, homemade stock, green onions, smashed garlic, spices, herbs. Mash up and stir together.
Again, you can make this different every time. One night you can add heaps of ingredients and gourmet it up, and another night if you’re shorter on time, just mash with butter and salt.
Same Food: roasted or steamed cauliflower. New Dish: cauliflower mash or cauliflower rice.
– Same as mash potato but mash cauliflower is especially good with butter, ground cumin and caraway seeds plus a sprinkle of fresh parsley or coriander.
– The only difference between cauliflower mash and cauliflower rice is how smooth the texture is. Use a hand masher or food processor for desired consistency.
Leftover Meats are Quickly Changed to a Different Dish
Just like with vegetables, the easiest way to transform your leftover meats is to add something to it and maybe chop it differently.
Same Food: leftover chicken fillets New Dish: chicken parmigiana
– Put leftover chicken breasts or thighs on oven tray.
– Top with a layer of tomato paste or homemade pasta sauce, then herbs and spices, then grated Raw Parmesan cheese.
– Heat in a toaster oven or under oven grill until the meat is warm and the cheese is melted.
Leftover meats simply need a new paste or sauce.
*Yesterday’s grilled pork cutlets are transformed by topping with a simple apple and red onion chutney made by sauteeing the two ingredients in a fry-pan with water and cinnamon for about 10 minutes until apples and onion are soft.
*Yesterday’s grilled rump steak is made anew when topped with a herb and vinaigrette (oil and vinegar) sauce bashed up in your mortar and pestle in 4 minutes.
*Other easy sauces to throw in a pan with leftover meat are tomato based sauces and curry or asian sauces.
– If you’re pressed for time, simply dice the leftover meat and toss in a fry pan with a spoonful of tomato paste, some tomato puree, plus garlic, onion, herbs and spices as you like.
– For an Asian flavour, simply saute diced meat with a good quality curry paste (or asian spices and fresh grated ginger) and maybe some coconut cream.
– If you have time and are feeling creative, Google an easy sauce recipe.
Same Food: one-pot bolognaise or meat chilli. New Dish: bolognaise or meat chilli stuffed capsicum (bell peppers) or tomatoes
– Cut tops off capsicum (bell peppers) or tomatoes and clean out seeds and membranes, fill with bolognaise and heat in oven.
– When almost done, melt grated raw parmesan cheese on top (optional).
Capsicum works best if lightly grilled or blanched in boiling water before filling. This New Dish works for most types of one-pot meal like curries and stews, and it looks impressive.
By using my Loving Leftovers trick of Same Food, New Dish, you will spend less time cooking but still have the same amount of high-quality meals. With just a bit of fore-thought, you can plan your bigger cooking days around your personal schedule, so that on quieter days you are cooking and on busy days, you are eating leftovers. Just ensure that you always cook large quantities the first day, so you have leftovers to manipulate into your new dish creations tomorrow. When anticipating a very hectic day, you can whip up your new dishes the night before so you have a nutritious and delicious breakfast, packed lunch and easy dinner on hand. The rest of the family will think you were cooking all day instead of serving leftover food!
What is one of your favourite same food, new dish creations to serve in your home?
When I talk about what we’re eating, and show pictures and descriptions of our meals, everyone exclaims, “You must spend all day in the kitchen!” Well, I do prioritise time in the kitchen as essential for my family’s health, but I still go to work, to the beach, play with my daughter, and have a life out of the kitchen. The trick is that when I do cook or prepare a meal or dish, I make a lot of food. That is, at least 2-4 more servings than we are going to eat right away. Then, I make the absolute most of the leftovers! Sometimes we eat the same exact meal again, especially when it’s an amazingly tasty dish, but often I get creative with the leftover food and make new dishes out of already cooked food. Leftovers is no longer a word to moan at; it’s the key to eating well without cooking all day every day! To get you started, here are the basics of Lovin’ Leftovers.
– PAN-FRY: Toss in a pan over medium heat. Works best for saucy, wet leftover foods like slow-cooked casseroles, stews and curries.
– TOASTER OVEN: About 5 minutes under medium to high heat works best for bulky leftover food like large vegetable chunks, chicken legs, lamb shanks, fish fillets. If the meat or veg is very thick, cut in half or slice thinner so leftover pieces will heat more evenly.
– GRILL: Same as toaster oven, but there is more room so you can re-heat larger quantities for more people.
NOTE: Leftover chicken should only be re-heated once before consuming. Fortunately, there are many delicious options for eating leftover chicken cold!
One-Pan Leftover Meals
One of the simplest ways to make an array of leftover food look like an entirely new dish is to chop and mix together in a pan or pot. The English have a famous One-Pan Leftover Meal called Bubble & Squeak. But you can do it with any leftover food!
1/ Chop or cut (with kitchen scissors) any leftover meat and veg into a pan on the stove.
2/ Add new herbs, spices, mince garlic and/or ginger, tomato paste, tomatoes, spinach leaves, or whatever you desire.
3/ Pan-fry until warm and you have a whole new meal!
– Chopped leftover chicken thigh and pumpkin, plus some cherry tomatoes, a small spoon of minced garlic, and some fresh coriander or parsley. Beautiful!
– Chopped leftover roast lamb, sweet potato and zucchini, plus a large spoon of tomato paste, bit of minced garlic, dried rosemary and thyme and a handful of diced tomatoes. Mix in pan until warm, then stir through some baby spinach leaves. Easy gourmet!
Salads with Leftovers
1/ Tear some leafy greens directly onto your plates/bowls or into a large bowl. Vary your meals by using different greens each time:
mixed lettuce, baby spinach, rocket, etc.
2/ Chop or cut (with kitchen scissors) any leftover meat and veg onto the greens.
3/ Add optional extras like: avocado, raw veg, nuts, red onion, tomato, etc.
4/ Drizzle olive oil and vinegar over your salad, add cracked pepper and toss.
NO-GREENS SALADS aka SCRAP SALADS: These are great for packed/picnic lunches!
Example: Mix chopped leftover chicken, beef or sausages with beetroot, pumpkin, avocado, red onion, nuts, fresh herbs and a quick dressing. Delicious and nutritious!
DRESSINGS: Oil and vinegar (and even a squeeze of lemon or lime) is the quickest option, but in just a couple more minutes, you can mix up a unique dressing.
– Put desired dressing ingredients in a small jar and shake vigorously. Or put ingredients in a small bowl and stir vigorously with a fork.
– Measurement ratio suggestion: 1-2 parts vinegar to 3 parts oil.
DRESSING INGREDIENTS IDEAS: Olive oil, sesame oil, walnut oil, minced or grated garlic/ginger, lemon juice, vinegar (balsamic, red wine, apple cider vinegar), chopped fresh herbs, dried oregano, Dijon-type mustard, shallots/green onions, soy sauce, and yoghurt.