Turn Those Leftovers Into A Sumptuous Holiday Dinner

Hey-o! Hope you’re enjoying lovely Sundays, Easter or no Easter. Aside from lunch with my grandparents it’s been a little lonely here… I went to campus to get a book from the library (which was closed… I don’t understand how school can just shut down) and it was like the beginning of an apocalypse movie- there was no one around!

Anyway, before I left to meet my grandparents, I had a date stuffed with almond butter.


Everywhere was packed for lunch, so we went to Macaroni Grill. The only thing I’d heard about the restaurant was that they had singing wait staff, but luckily that wasn’t the case, and I was pleasantly surprised.

I got an iced coffee, my staple spring drink. It wasn’t too strong, so I didn’t end up needing the milk.


They brought out some garlic bread for the table. It was on the oily side, but still tasted pretty good.


For my entrée, I got seared scallops. They were supposed to come with arugula, but spinach was just as good. It also had toasted walnuts, cabbage, onions, and feta.


I asked for the dressing on the side, but it still came coated in some kind of sauce (in addition to two side dressings). I ate about 3/4… despite the oddities of the order, it was very good.

While driving home, I started craving frosted cake. Cookies, chocolate, brownies… these are all things I usually want, but cake cravings are a rarity! The only place I could think of to buy it was Whole Foods, so I sped (safely) there like a girl on a mission. I picked out the “Hokey Pokey” cake, which had two layers of chocolate cake and a layer of buttercream/marshmallow, covered in chocolate fondant.


At the register, the clerk (who I for some reason don’t know by name, even though I go several times a month and went today for my third time in a week) asked if I was just getting the cake. I sighed and said, “Yeah, it’s one of those days…” and he smiled and said, “It is one of those days! It’s a holiday!” That made me feel better about being lonely on Easter, for some reason. Let there be cake!


I ate half of it (and yes, the photo was taken in the parking lot… I had to make sure it was good!) and saved the rest for after dinner.

Cooking for one can be tricky. Often I make too much (and occasionally too little) of something and end up in a frenzy trying to finish things before they go bad, or worse: spoiled food. Last week, industrious girl that I am, I made a big batch of rice to last me the week. Unfortunately, “big” ended up being more than 8 cups… which I could never finish on my own! I’ve been trying to find new and interesting ways to incorporate it, and other leftover items, in my fridge so that I don’t waste but also don’t end up with a bored palate. And so…


Dinner tonight was based on this recipe from the May 2009 issue of Gourmet.

Springtime Shrimp, Asparagus and Lemon Risotto

Serves 3

1 cup vegetable broth

1-1/2 cups asparagus

1/2 onion

1 tbsp butter

1/8 tsp salt

2 cups cooked brown rice

1/8 cup dry white wine

1 cup frozen shrimp, tails removed (you can do this by soaking the shrimp in cold water and then pulling off the tails)

1/8 cup parmesan, grated

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp chopped fresh herbs (cilantro/parsley/chives); I used cilantro

Salt & pepper to taste

Simmer asparagus in vegetable broth about 4 minutes, until just tender. Remove asparagus from broth with slotted spoon and transfer to ice water to stop cooking, and drain. Keep broth at very low simmer.

Heat butter, salt and onion in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Add rice and stir constantly, about 1 minute. Add wine and simmer, stirring constantly.

Add broth, a small bit at a time, stirring constantly over a simmer, until you’ve used about half. Stir in shrimp and simmer until they are cooked through.

Stir in asparagus, lemon juice, herbs and cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Optional: garnish with additional cheese & cilantro.


Dessert was the second half of my Hokey Pokey cake.


I’m pretty full now, but it’s nice to be done with dinner and blogging early so I can get a few solid hours in (hopefully) before I conk out for the night.

Just in case you need more sugar: head on over to Nicole’s blog for a chance to win Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World! I’ve wanted this cookbook for so long.

Hope you’ve enjoyed your holiday!


12 responses to “Turn Those Leftovers Into A Sumptuous Holiday Dinner

  1. Gosh, everything looks so amazing. Nomnomommm


  3. wow does that cake look amazing! I’m so glad that you treated yourself to it and really enjoyed it. There are some times when I’m really craving a piece of cake but unlike a cookie or ice cream which I do eat by myself from time to time, I just have a really hard time allowing myself to indulge in cake unless it’s a special occasion. How silly is that?! Next time I’m craving cake I’m going to go get a big piece and eat it in your honor : )

  4. Yeah for cake cravings! I want a bite!

  5. thresholdofgreatness

    Yes, let there be cake! 🙂

    Your risotto looks fabulous! I’ll have to try adding shrimp to my mom’s recipe.

  6. I once wound up with a mountain of filling for stuffed peppers because it called for one cup of rice, and, genius that I am, I used one cup of DRY rice. Heh.

    Holidays when the city shuts down depress me, for some reason!

  7. amen! let there be cake! and whole foods!

  8. vegan cupcakes take over the world is the best ever! you are welcome to borrow my copy whenever — my personal favorite thus far: pistachio rosewater.

  9. that hokey pokey cake is so cute! i love the colors that i can see!

    aww.. *hugs for you on Easter* 🙂

  10. Oh I LOVE Macaroni Grill! Do they still draw on the table? That was my favorite part – well, that and the bread 🙂

    That cake looks so cute! As does your dinner – delicious! Happy Easter!!

  11. Everything about you is totally appropriate and refreshing. I just love you. I hope that aside from being in your OWN company, you found the joy and light. I know any one of us, if given the opportunity, would have joined you. <333

  12. Macaroni Grill’s bread is one of my favorite things (probably the only thing) that I like to eat there!

    I’m having one of thooooose days today – want to join me on a European vacation?! 😉 I need it!

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