So over the weekend, I transformed my tiny Chicago apartment into a fondue wonderland and had a fondue dinner party with friends, which was great, but subsequently left me with a lot of weird left overs.
We had a cheese dip made of white wine and three cheeses, with bread & cauliflower to dip. We also had tenderloin steak cooked in a home made vegetable broth, and then in infused with a little soy sauce, olive oil, and seasonings to dip the steak in.
So you can imagine when I went to cook for the week today, I certainly didn’t want to go grocery shopping because I had so many good foods already! So I decided to make a beautiful casserole with what was remaining.
I decided to keep the left over steak outside the casserole, and cut it into strips the size of bacon so I could cook some steak strips quickly in the morning for my breakfasts. (Steak Strips are a great breakfast option because the thin tenderloin steaks cook in about 3 minutes – just like bacon, and is extremely filling and a great morning boost)
So this left me with the cheese dip, steak sauce mixture, cauliflower, and bread. With some whole wheat pasta that I had in the pantry, and a can of tomatoes, I was able to create enough food for the entire week.
Just as a side note on pasta: Most people cook the pasta with the intent the pasta is the star of the dish and they are adding vegetables and other items TO the pasta. When I cook, I make the vegetables the star, and cook as if I’m adding pasta TO the veggies. This allows for less pasta in the diet, and is a simple mind set change that can lead you to a healthier cuisine.
Step 1) Make the Sauce
- I sautéed some onions in a large sauce pan with garlic. Then, I added the fondu cheese dip to the pan, and let it cook out. It was very thick – so I added just enough of the steak sauce/broth mixture to the cheese to thin it out a bit. To slightly change the taste, I added some cumin, italian spies, and fresh herbs from my window sill.
Step 2) Cook the Starch
- Casseroles need a starch, whether that be rice, grains, or pasta. I used some whole wheat pasta that I had in my pantry. Cook in boiling salted water for about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta before it is fully done as it will be going in the oven later.
Step 3) Choose Veggies
- Casseroles need veggies! I just used whatever I had left in the fridge – some peppers, mushrooms, and onions. I also added a can of diced tomatoes, and sauteed for a short period of time on the stove. This would be a great time to add some diced cauliflower too – but I decided to cook my left over cauliflower separately for a second meal to get me through the week (See next blog post for my cauliflower stretch)
Step 4) Combine ingredients
- I usually combine my ingredients in my pasta sauce pan after I’ve drained the pasta. Add in the sauce, and the veggies, and then pour them in a well oiled/buttered casserole dish.
Step 5) Top With Bread Crumbs
- You didn’t think I forgot about the left over bread did you?? (Although in my case, I did save the bread for my cauliflower soup – if I hadn’t I would have used them here)
- Just take your left over bread, put it in a food processor, and process until they are the consistency of bread crumbs
- Top your casserole with the bread crumbs!
Step 6) Cook the Casserole
- Cover your casserole dish with aluminum foil, or a lid. Cook in 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, uncovering it for the last 10 minutes or so.
Casseroles are great for a weeks meal because they are cheap, and last a long time. I usually let it chill in the fridge for several hours before dividing it into Tupperware for the week – that just makes it easier to cut.