9 Even-better-the-next-day Recipes With Lots of Yummy Leftovers

“Hooray, it’s leftover day!!”

Not a refrain I’d expect to hear very often. It conjures up images of microwaving sad containers of frozen mystery meals from who knows when.

But with the recipes below, there are always smiling mouths happy to re-eat what we enjoyed the night before.

Cooking once and eating twice also saves time and energy for whoever is the chef in the house. Bonus!

I hope you enjoy these, and I’d love to hear what your favorite leftover recipes are too. 🙂

#1: Paqa’s Best Banana Muffins

The kids here call my mom Paqa, which I’ve heard means Wise Elder in Peruvian. This is her recipe for the moistest, yummiest banana muffins we’ve ever tasted. At Paqa’s house there is always something delicious to eat!

#2. Zuppa di Fagioli (Italian Bean Soup)

There’s nothing like a bowl of good old-fashioned comfort food: beans, rice, veggies, and a delicious broth. It tastes like being in an Italian grandmother’s kitchen. Even better if you soak your own dry beans the night before!

#3. Stovetop Cassoulet

This is a warm, comforting, sausage and bean casserole from the south of France. I had a craving for it on a sweltering hot day, so I invented a stovetop version rather than firing up the oven and heating up the house. It’s amazing served with your favorite freshly baked biscuits or crusty bread.

#4. Sesame Chicken with Soba Noodles

“Chicken and sobas!” is the frequent answer to “What do you guys want for dinner?” at our house. It’s a spin on a baked chicken dish I had at a retreat once, mixed with a yummy warm soba noodle salad and a side of veggies. Today’s veggies are the British treat of cauliflower cheese.  

#5. Red Lentil Dal

The first spoonful goes into our mouths and immediately all the muscles in our face and shoulders relax. There’s a dreamy “wow that’s good” look spreading around the table and we settle into our bowls as though they hold delicious, precious treasure. Yes, it’s dal night

#6. Family Lasagna Night

Lasagna takes a bit longer to make than other pasta, but the prep time is actually not that long and the comforting nourishment is worth it. Side benefit: the whole house will smell delicious as it bakes away in the oven! This recipe makes enough for 4-5 people to have 2 dinners (leftovers are just as good as the original, if not better).

#7. Mennonite Seven Layer Dinner

I learned to make this casserole after enjoying it at my husband’s grandmother’s house. The seven layers are potatoes, onions, carrots, rice, peas, sausages, and tomato soup, with some salt and pepper for seasoning. It smells amazing in the oven and is a very comforting dish for all ages.

#8. Pasta with Lentil Mushroom Balls

We had fun deciding what to call these. They’re not meatballs, so are they plant balls? Bean balls? Vegan balls? Neatballs? Despite all the laughs, they’re actually very delicious. Lentils, mushrooms, and a bunch of yummy sauces and spices make for a hearty and nourishing topping for your favorite pasta.

#9. Chocolate Zucchini Cake with (Vegan) Cream Cheese Frosting

It’s zucchini season again in California, so we’re back to our favorite zucchini fritters and creamy zucchini pasta. But wait, zucchini chocolate bundt cake too? How versatile is this vegetable? I think this is my new favorite way to eat chocolate cake. Many thanks to Isa for inspiration.

Many blessings from our home to yours for a wonderful weekend and week ahead. Please let me know if you try any of these recipes and how they turned out for you.

Happy cooking!
Maitri Alexandra 🙂

Vegan Malai Kofta with Zucchini and Garbanzos: #184 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

Malai kofta is a classic Indian comfort food – think of tender dumplings in a creamy sauce. This recipe is a plant-based delight that blends cashews, coconut milk, and spices to create a rich sauce without all that dairy in it. The dumplings have garbanzo beans, almonds, and zucchini in them, and we added some peas and rice noodles to round out a complete and satisfying meal. Thanks to Isa for inspiration.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($15 total for 6 servings)

Kofta:
1 can chick peas – $0.99
1/2 cup ground almonds – $0.63
1 large zucchini, grated – $0.58
1 tsp cumin – $0.28
1 tbsp ginger – $0.70
1 tsp garlic powder – $0.28
1/2 tsp salt – $0.03
Pepper to taste
1 cup ground up Hawaiian sweet rolls or other breadcrumbs – free

Sauce:
1 cup cashews, soaked for 2 hours – $2.00
2 cups vegetable broth – $1.00
1/2 large onion, chopped – $0.25
4 cloves garlic – $0.15
1 tbsp ginger – $0.70
1 tbsp curry powder – $0.70
1 tsp cumin – $0.28
1 can coconut milk – $1.99
1/4 cup crushed tomatoes – $0.20
1 tsp salt – $0.05
1 lemon, juiced – $0.20

1 tbsp coconut oil to cook kofta – $0.55
1-2 cups frozen peas – $1.00
1 package fresh pad Thai noodles – $2.99

Directions

1. Make the kofta: mix all the ingredients in a medium bowl, stir well to combine, and refrigerate the mixture for half an hour to firm it up. Shape them in your palm into about 18 oval shaped balls. Return to the fridge until you’re ready to cook them.

2. In a blender, add all the sauce ingredients and blend together until relatively smooth, then pour it into a large pan.

3. In a large pan, heat the coconut oil over medium high heat. Cook the kofta for several minutes, turning them around gently with a form to brown as many sides as possible.

Add the peas and fresh pad thai noodles to the sauce and warm to a boil. Follow package directions for how long the noodles need to cook.

Serve the kofta in bowls over top the noodles and curry sauce. Enjoy it hot from the stove. You’ll be left with a very warm and happy tummy.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness:  3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 18/18 (maximum score!)

If any of you amazing cooks tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

9 Nutritionally-Balanced Recipes to Keep You Happy and Healthy

When someone in our house is having a hard day, the way I like to help best is by making a healing, nourishing meal for all of us.

Here are some go-to recipes I pull out for whenever we need some extra tender loving care.

I hope they bring you comfort, extra health, and happiness too.

Wishing you ease and strength in your day today.

#1: Lentils and Greens with Goddess Dressing

There are a million ways to assemble a rice bowl, and this one is especially delicious. You cook lentils, rice, and celery together, top it with sauteed farm fresh onions and greens, then drizzle with a divine lemon tahini vegan dressing. It will help you feel amazing!

#2. Green Peas and Ham Risotto

Instead of green eggs and ham (that’s another recipe to come for avocado scrambled eggs), how about green peas and ham? This risotto uses a mix of blended and whole peas to create the vibrant color and luxurious taste. I hope you try this for lunch or dinner sometime, it’s a treat!

#3. California Pad Thai

Noodles are always a favorite around here. This is our California-inspired version of pad thai, a traditional stirfry favorite from the streets of Thailand.

#4. Five-Layer Dip from Jan and Nick

This amazing dip recipe comes from my in-laws in Canada. It’s a crowd-pleaser, super easy to make, and nutritious too! We like to have it at home for lunch or a snack, but it’s also a great potluck idea for the holidays.

#5. Coconut Cranberry Spinach

This is a fantastic spinach dish originally from Tanzania (called mchicha wa nazi). It has spinach, onions, and cranberries simmered in coconut milk, and I threw a bit of roasted chicken in too. We served it over rice, but it would also make a nourishing meal on its own. It’s too good not to try it!

#6. Mashed Cauliflower Potatoes with Mushrooms

Here is a healthy version of mashed potatoes with gravy, a classic comfort food. We mash cauliflower in with the potatoes for a lovely moistness, then smother it in a vegan mushroom gravy that satisfies even the folks who are used to meat and dairy-based gravies. 

#7. Healing Lentil Soup

Lentils and turmeric are both superfoods, filled with nutritional benefits for the human body as well as our mental health. This is a comforting soup that mixes in some potato, onion, and sage for a lovely dinner. I like to have it with some stir-fried greens on the side. It’s a meal that makes my whole self smile.

#8. Asparagus Leek Potato Soup

In the spring and early summer, we can get fresh asparagus delivered in our farm box. One of the treats I like to make when this happens is a creamy asparagus and potato soup with leeks and sage. It’s a comforting, nourishing bowl of healing goodness.

#9. Moroccan Chicken Couscous

What happens when you marry couscous, or little balls of pasta, with oranges, lemons, cumin, chicken, and a bright array of vegetables? Kind of a party in your mouth. My kids’ reaction: “Wow! My tongue is so confused. Can I have some more?” I hope your family enjoys this healthy and tasty couscous creation too. Feel free to improvise with whatever veggies you have on hand!

Many blessings from our home to yours for a wonderful weekend and week ahead. Please feel free to forward this to a friend who might need a bit of extra TLC today.

Happy cooking!
Maitri Alexandra 🙂

Fudgiest Plant-Based Brownies: #183 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

Some days you just need a good fudgy brownie to hit the spot. This recipe is made without dairy or eggs, and is arguably more satisfying than a traditional non-vegan brownie – everyone here gobbles these up with gusto. It’s also super quick to throw together for a serious chocolate emergency. Thanks to Karissa for inspiration.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($5.50 total for 9 good-sized brownies)

1/2 cup melted margarine – $1.24
1½ cup brown sugar – $0.52
1/3 cup soy milk – $0.12
3 tsp vanilla extract – $0.60
1 cup flour – $0.16
3/4 cup cocoa – $0.83
3/4 tsp baking powder – $0.01
1/4 tsp salt – $0.01
1 cup chocolate chips – $1.00

Directions

1. In a small bowl, mix the melted margarine and brown sugar together until it turns into a thick cream. Stir in the soy milk and vanilla.

2. In a larger bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and chocolate chips. Then pour the liquid mix into the dry mix and stir until thoroughly combined.

3. Pour the brownie batter into a greased 8×8″ glass pan, being careful not to eat too much of it en route. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes, then remove from the oven. Drink in the fresh-from-the-oven brownie smell and appreciate life. See how long you can let them cool before you dive in and start indulging. Happy chocolate enjoyment!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness:  3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 1 = eat rarely
  • TOTAL: 16/18

If any of you amazing cooks tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Cauliflower Tikka Masala: #176 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

We love the creamy curry-ness of a good chicken tikka, but now we’re eating more of a plant-based diet. What to do? Fortunately Jamie Oliver came to the rescue with the inspiration for this cauliflower tikka masala recipe. Very comforting comfort food, and healthy to boot.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($12 total)

Blend:
1 can coconut milk – $1.99
1 tomato – $0.99
2 heaping tbsp cashews – $0.24
1 tbsp apricot jam – $0.16
1 lemon, squeezed – $0.20
1/4 tsp paprika – $0.07
1 tbsp curry powder – $0.70
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped – $0.08
1 tsp ginger – $0.28

Sauté:
1 tbsp olive oil – $0.10
1 onion, chopped – $0.50
2 cloves garlic, minced – $0.15
1 head cauliflower, chopped into bite-sized pieces – $2.49
1 bunch collard greens, chopped – $1.99
1 bunch chard, chopped – $1.99
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Put all the “Blend” ingredients in a blender and process until it makes a smooth simmer sauce.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat, then add the onions. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions start to soften, then add the garlic and cook for 3 more minutes to start to brown the garlic. Next add the cauliflower, the greens, and the simmer sauce.

3. Bring to a bubbly boil then turn the heat down and let it simmer for about 10 minutes until the cauliflower is soft and the flavors have all melded together. Cook the rice during this time too, using one part rice and two parts water, with a bit of salt.

Serve the cauliflower tikka hot over rice, and enjoy the melting comforting sensation of filling your body with this healing treat of a meal.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness:  3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 18/18 (maximum score!)

If any of you amazing cooks tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Restorative Coconut Ginger Dal: #104 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

If you’re feeling a bit under the weather, or if you just want an extra healing, nourishing meal for your body and spirit, this is the soup for you. You can leave out the chard if you prefer, but we had some on hand from our farm volunteering, so I threw it in. This dal freezes very well too.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($10 total for a large pot of soup)

2 tbsp olive oil – $0.20
1 onion, chopped – $0.50
2 tbsp curry powder – $1.40
1 tbsp ginger – $0.70
2 cups red lentils – $1.69
6 cups water – free
5 medium potatoes, diced – $0.90
2 carrots, sliced – $0.46
2 celery stalks, sliced – $0.20
1 cup raisins – $1.00
1/4 cup tomato paste (1 small can) – $0.89
1 (14 oz) can coconut milk – $1.99
20 leaves of rainbow chard, chopped up – free from the farm
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until it starts to get soft, stirring frequently. Then add the curry powder and ginger, and mix to thoroughly coat the onions.

Once that’s all nicely combined, add the lentils (dry) to the pot and stir briefly to cover the lentils with the onion and spices. 

2. Add the water, potatoes, carrots, and celery next. Cover the pot and let it simmer for 1/2 an hour until the lentils and veggies are soft. 

Then add the tomato paste, raisins, coconut milk, and salt/pepper to taste. Mix well.

3. With the cover removed, simmer for 10-20 more minutes over medium low heat. If you’re adding chopped greens, put them in here and let them wilt while the soup simmers.

You want the dal to be a nice thick soup, not watery at all. Taste for spices and serve hot. Store any leftovers in the fridge or freezer. We like to freeze lunch portions in individual containers so they’re easy to grab from the freezer for school or work.

Enjoy, and feel better soon! 🙂

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings:  3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 18/18 (maximum score!)

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Dad’s Porridge: #100 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

Growing up, porridge was the one recipe I got from my wonderful Dad. And the dad in our family now makes porridge for us too (as well as a lot of other yummy things!) It’s a super simple, comforting breakfast to start the day off on a nourishing foot.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($1 total)

2 cups water – free
1 cup rolled oats – $0.12
1/2 cup raisins – $0.50
1 tsp cinnamon – $0.28
1/4 tsp salt – $0.01
Milk, soy milk, maple syrup, brown sugar, or whatever toppings you like (or eat it straight up like I do)

Directions

1. Put the water, oats, raisins, cinnamon, and salt in a medium pot over medium heat. Stir with a wooden spoon and bring to a boil.

2. Once it starts to bubble, turn the heat down to low, stir well, and let it simmer for about 5-10 minutes until you get to your desired thickness. We like it pretty thick to hold our toppings.

3. Serve in individual bowls and eat straight, or top with whatever milks, sweeteners, fruit, or nuts you like.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings:  2 = 4-6 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 16/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Red Lentil Dal: #40 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

The first spoonful goes into our mouths and immediately all the muscles in our face and shoulders relax. There’s a dreamy “wow that’s good” look spreading around the table and we settle into our bowls as though they hold delicious, precious treasure. Yes, it’s dal night! 

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($8 total)

1 lb red lentils – $1.69
6 cups water – free
½ 28 oz can crushed tomatoes – $0.80
1 tbsp canola or light olive oil – $0.10
1 chopped onion – $0.50
4 cloves chopped garlic – $0.15
1 tsp sesame seeds, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp curry powder, 1/2 tsp mustard, 1 tsp paprika, 2 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp salt – $1.96
1 tbsp sugar – $0.06
1 bay leaf – $0.14
1 lemon, juiced – $0.20
1 bunch collard/kale leaves, chopped – $1.99
2 cups cooked basmati rice – $0.47

Directions

1. Rinse red lentils several times with cold water until water runs clear, then drain. In a medium pot, mix rinsed lentils with 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until lentils are soft. Occasionally scoop any foam off the top of the water as it cooks. Turn off heat once lentils are cooked and set aside. 

2. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly so garlic doesn’t burn. Next, add all the spices. Cook and stir for 2-3 minutes.

Add the cooked lentils and lentil cooking water to the onions and simmer for at least 10 minutes. Add lemon juice and tomatoes and cook for 5-10 more minutes. Taste and adjust salt or spices  if necessary.

3. Stir in chopped collards and rice, then remove from heat, or simmer until you’re ready to eat. Also ok to serve rice or naan on the side. Excellent as leftovers!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings:  3 = >6 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 18/18 (maximum possible score!)

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Healing Adasi Lentil Soup: #22 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

Lentils and turmeric are both superfoods, filled with nutritional benefits for the human body as well as our mental health. This is a comforting soup that mixes in some potato, onion, and sage for a lovely fall or winter dinner. I like to have it with some stir-fried greens on the side. It’s a dinner that makes my whole self smile.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($5 total)

1 onion, chopped – $0.50
2 tbsp canola oil – $0.20
2 garlic cloves, minced – $0.08
1 tbsp turmeric – $0.70
2 1/2 cups green lentils, washed – $1.69
3 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped – $0.54
1 tsp sage – $0.28
Salt and pepper to taste
4 tbsp butter or margarine – $0.62
1/2 lemon, squeezed – $0.20

Directions

1. In a large pot, heat the canola oil on medium heat and add in the onion. Cook for about 5 minutes until it turns translucent, then add the garlic and turmeric and cook for 2-3 more minutes.

2. Stir the washed lentils into the mix and cook for another 2-3 minutes, to coat the lentils in all the yummy spices, then stir in the chopped potatoes.

Add enough water to cover everything in the pot, bring to a boil, then put the lid on the pot, turn down to a medium-low simmer, and let it cook for about 30 minutes.

3. After everything is nice and tender, take a potato masher and mash up everything in the pot. Add the salt, pepper, sage, butter and lemon, and stir until combined. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve and enjoy your healing creation!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings:  3 = >6 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 18/18 (maximum score!)

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!