‘Tis the season of leftovers. We have parties, we celebrate, we cook too much, and we have leftovers.
Just another reason it’s a great time of year.
Got leftovers? If so, you’re in luck. To make new delicious meals that are quick, healthy, and packed full of antixodiants, just whip up a flavorful sauce for the turkey, add some vegetables on the side, and voila, dinner’s done. And, unlike most leftovers, it’s a whole new meal.
Recipe of the Week: 3 Perfect Sauces for Leftover Turkey (or any protein)
#1: 2-Minute Flavorful Curry Peanut Sauce
- 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt (or for dairy free, full-fat coconut milk)
- 1/4 cup natural Peanut Butter or Cashew Butter
- 1/4 cup green salsa
- 2 tsp curry spice
- 1 tsp dried basil
- ¼ cup water (omit if coconut milk used)
- 1/4 tsp salt (or salt to taste)
- cooked protein/meat such as organic chicken, turkey, baked tofu, lentils, beans, etc.
- Mix all ingredients together, except protein, in a bowl.
- Spoon over protein and continue cooking until heated through. If adding to grilled protein, first warm sauce on stove top or in microwave.
#2: 3-Minute Homemade BBQ Sauce
- 1 cup ketchup (“natural” variety with NO high fructose corn syrup)
- 1/4 cup organic apple cider vinegar OR balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons organic honey
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tsp. chili powder
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- Salt and Fresh ground pepper to taste
- Mix all ingredients together.
- Enjoy over any high quality (organic and/or grazed, if possible) meat, black bean burgers, on BBQ chicken pizza, and more!
#3: 10-Minute Brazilian-Inspired Coconut Milk Sauce
- 1 (14 oz.) can coconut milk
- 1 (14.5 oz.) can organic diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2- 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- Place all ingredients in medium saucepan, mix well, and heat on medium-high to a simmer. Reduce heat and allow to simmer about 5 minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste.
- Add sauce to cooked protein and vegetables.
- If you have a few extra minutes and would like to saute fresh garlic and onions, first saute 1/2 onion (chopped) and 2 cloves minced garlic in 1 Tbsp organic coconut oil (or avocado oil) on medium high-heat. Saute, stirring continually, until soft (about 3-5 minutes). Then, begin with step one and exclude garlic and onion powders).
I’m often asked what’s my number one tip for saving time on dinner. As a working mom of 4 kids 7 years and under, dinners are go-time in my household. The children begin melting down at 5 pm, like clockwork. I begin getting hungry and cranky. And, while I’m set on a homemade whole-food meal, I can’t be bothered with a time-consuming dinner recipe.
I have a secret weapon: flavorful homemade sauces. They work great for leftovers and they work great anytime. If you’re looking for tips to save time on dinner and still have variety, flavor, and high-nutrition, here’s how the 3-step process works:
- Protein: I thaw or have ready my protein source for the dinner. It’s in the fridge and ready to be cooked. This protein source can be meat such as chicken, turkey, grass-fed beef, non-GMO tofu, lentils, beans, etc. When it’s time to cook it, I simply stick the meat in the oven (400 deg F for 30-40 minutes), the slow cooker (if I’m home during the day – 3-4 hours on high), or on the outdoor or indoor grill for just 10-15 minutes. It’s not so much that this doesn’t take some time, it’s that I don’t have to take time worrying about it or wondering what’s for dinner. Simply start cooking, set the timer, and prepare the other portions of the meal. Some of my clients cook several servings of protein on the weekends and refrigerate and freeze them for weekdays. The protein becomes the protein no-brainer.
- Vegetables: We always have ½ plate of vegetables (2+ cups). It’s almost always a big, fresh salad with spinach and greens, broccoli, bell pepper, tomatoes, avocado, olives, and dressing. Since I buy the pre-washed greens, this is easy prep…just wash and chop a few other vegetables in 5 minutes or less. And, in a pinch, I’m not afraid to bust out the frozen vegetables.
- Flavorful Sauce: This is where it gets more interesting. I make a flavorful sauce in 10 minutes or less. Really, this is the only work of the meal. Everything else is the same most days, so it’s here that I’m creative. It’s never overwhelming to simply make a sauce. I can double, triple, or quadruple most sauces and freeze them. I can go for Mexican, Asian, Indian, Mediterranean, or Italian sauces. Homemade sauce can be full of flavor, without the chemical ingredients found in commercial condiments.
Now you can look forward to leftover turkey (chicken, lentils, whatever). Throughout the year, you can also save time by make twice as much protein (such as roasted chicken, etc.) and saving the extra half for a dinner in 2-3 nights. Add a new sauce and be ready for an easier evening. Dinner can be as easy as 1-2-3. And, while this dinner routine may seem a little monotonous, it allows plenty of room for variety with a flavorful sauce. Streamline your meal and you’ll save time, save money, shop more efficiently, reduce stress, and enjoy a healthful, whole-food dinners while reducing inflammation and chronic disease risk. I’m thankful for easy healthful dinners, and I hope you are too!
Fuel Your Ride. Nourish Your Body.