Leftovers Cuisine: Second-Day Beef Stew with Quinoa and Beans

IMGP2033 What’s your leftovers attitude?

Mine is: leftovers are terrific opportunities to create a new, different, interesting, exciting dishes! Really. (Or, at the very least, no cooking the next night.)

For example, early this week, we returned from a week-long vacation in Jamaica (Sun! Sea! Sand! Piña Coladas!), and the spouse decided to make beef stew our first night home. It was basic: beef, potatoes, carrots, onions. After one dinner, we had about 1½ cups left—a slightly thick broth, dotted with a few pieces of beef, etc.

To be honest, it did look uninspiring, BUT…

Those Jamaican chefs had inspired me. They had raised leftovers + vegetables + mix-and-match beans to an art form. One night we had turkey as the main meat, the next day at lunch we had a tasty turkey stew with vegetables and two types of beans. Surely, I reasoned, this type of creation was in my cuisine skill set.

Their cooking also had a second appeal for me because it fit the flexible use-what-you-have-in-the-kitchen approach. My recipe uses tomatoes, carrots, zucchini, chickpeas, lentils, and quinoa. Why? Yup, you guessed it.

The result was delicious and filling, plus the spouse liked it! And he doesn’t always go for my mixtures—unfortunately, his mother cooked basic (meat, potato, veg) and served basic (no mixing) and this has had a lingering effect.

If you try this recipe, please use it as a template rather than a fixed-in-stone culinary creation. Feel free to change ingredients, vary quantities, and use your favourite spices. Continue reading

Lamb Tagine with Chickpeas and Prunes

This main dish—a slowly simmered Moroccan stew made of tender lamb, dried fruit, and aromatic spices—is for a dinner party or special meal. 

Lamb Tagine with Chickpeas, Lemon, and Mint

Lamb Tagine with Chickpeas, Prunes, Lemon, and Mint

Recently, I served it in a four-course dinner that began with a delicate tomato soup served with hot cornbread, followed by the lamb served over rice and accompanied by steamed fresh spring asparagus.  The third course, in the French style, was a salad to cleanse the palate made of mixed greens and tomatoes, garnished with thinly sliced endive, crumbled goat feta cheese, and a handful of dried cranberries.  The finale—the dessert—was a fresh fruit salad of mixed berries accompanied by warm, rich chocolate brownies.

In other words, the menu was gluten-free, dairy-free, and about as diet-conscious as a dinner party can be.  If you’re Weight Watching, Lamb Tagine is a dish for your extra points.

 Printer-friendly recipe

Makes 8 servings of approximately 1 cup


  • 4 carrots
  • 2 tbsp. chicken broth powder, mixed with ½ cup of water
  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • 3 lbs. boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1½-inch pieces
  • 1 cup finely minced onion
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 ¾ cups chicken broth
  • ¾ cup dry red wine
  • Zest of 1 lemon, removed in a long strip
  • 2 cinnamon sicks (each about 3 inches long)
  • 1 ½ cups pitted prunces, halved
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 4 carrots
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves


  1. Peel and halve carrots lengthwise, and cut lengths into 1-inch sections. 
  2. Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil.
  3. Add carrots and cook for 3 minutes.
  4. Drain and set aside.
  5. Heat chicken broth-water mixture in large, heavy pot over low heat.
  6. Sprinkle in paprika, turmeric, coriander, cumin, and ginger.
  7. Cook, stirring, 1-2 minutes (if pot gets dry, add ¼ cup water).
  8. Add lamb and stir to coat with spices.
  9. Stir in ½ cup of onions and all the garlic.
  10. Add broth, wine, lemon zest, and cinnamon sticks.
  11. Bring to boil over high heat.
  12. Reduce heat, partially cover the pot, and simmer for 45 minutes.
  13. Add remaining ½ cup of onions, prunes, and chickpeas.
  14. Simmer for 15 minutes (stew will be thick).
  15. Add carrots to stew and cook until meat is tender, about 15 more minutes.
  16. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  17. Remove lemon zest and cinnamon sticks.
  18. Just before serving, stir in lemon juice and chopped mint.
  19. Remove lemon zest and cinnamon sticks.
  20. Serve over rice.

For Weight Watchers: 14 points for 1-cup serving on the Points plan and 15.5 points for 1-cup serving on the PointsPlus plan.

 (Adapted from “Lamb and Vegetable Tagine” in Ten: All your favorite foods… by Sheila Lukins)

Odd Couple Soup: Chickpeas and Swiss Chard

They said I wouldn't like chickpeas, but I do!

They said I wouldn't like chickpeas, but I do!

Chickpeas and swiss chard…who knew?  They seemed like an odd couple to me, but this soup pulls it off.  It’s rich, hearty, healthy, and adapted here to be low-calorie as well.

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Sautéeing Tip: Most recipes sauté onions, garlic, and other spices in oil to release their flavour and enrich the soup.  My replacement is 2 tbsp. of powdered chicken broth and ½ cup of water.  I heat this to medium high and then add the onions, garlic, etc.  The mixture will thicken as it cooks so I add water as needed to avoid burning. 

 Note: I don’t count this sautéing mixture towards the quantity of broth required.

 Makes six 1 cup servings


  •  1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp. Tomato paste
  • 2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas
  • 1 bunch (8 cups) Swiss chard leaves, finely chopped
  • Salt to taste


  1. Saute onion and garlic in broth mixture (see tip above) until onion is soft.
  2. Add chicken broth, tomato paste, and chickpeas.
  3. Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in Swiss chard.
  6. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
  7. Salt to taste.
  8. Remove 2 cups of the soup and puree it in a food processor or with a hand blender.
  9. Return the puree to the pot and mix in well.

 For Weight Watchers: 2 points per 1 cup serving on the Points plan and 3 points per 1 cup serving on the PointsPlus plan.

(This recipe is adapted from one posted on the blog, Tales from a Veggie Kitchen.)