New Year’s Day always holds a special kind of magic for me. It’s a chance to make a fresh start; to recommit to the good; to discard the things that are no longer working in our lives; to set the tone for the year ahead. I treat the day with special care and attempt to fill it with only good things and avoid all types of tedious things – like cleaning the house! I like to spend it in the company of those I love, eating a meal that isn’t prepared on just any day of the year. This year my parents shared the day with us and, as I mentioned, there was an out of the ordinary meal. However, according to my rules for this special day, the meal shouldn’t require too much effort, because that would be starting off the year on the wrong note.
We began the meal with a few appetizers including cheeses, olives, crackers, and a roasted shrimp cocktail recipe from Ina Garten. The roasted shrimp turned out perfectly, and was much easier than dealing with a big pot of boiling water. It was so good, I doubt that I’ll ever return to boiling my shrimp. Plus, in the spirit of minimizing my effort on the day, the shrimp and the cocktail sauce were prepared the day before. Win!
That was followed by my One Pot Pasta with Mozzarella recipe, to which I added a little bit of cream at the end of cooking to turn it into a blush sauce. This is another time-saver since you only have one pot to clean up, instead of the addition of a pasta boiling pot and colander. Hooray!
The main course was my mom’s roast beef recipe, a family favorite from long ago, passed down from my grandmother. The side vegetable was sautéed escarole, garlic and olive oil, since you need some kind of food that represents money on the New Year. Southerners have their black-eyed peas and collards for coins and dollar bills, Italians have lentils, which I didn’t make this year, so I felt that escarole was an appropriate substitution. If you don’t agree with this choice, what food do you enjoy on special days for good luck?
That was a lot of food for six people. Trust me, none of us eat that much, and there were plenty of leftovers. And that brings us back to the leftover roast beef, and what I did with it.
My parents always use their roast beef leftovers in sandwiches on buttered Italian rolls that they freeze and defrost when desired. I’ve done that in the past and it always works well. But I wanted to try something different this time. Which explains the photo above. Attentive readers will remember that we often have homemade pizza on Friday nights. I was planning that for last week, but at the last minute I was inspired to use my pizza dough for the roast beef instead to create roast beef hand pies. A hand pie is a bit of an understatement since these were way overstuffed – I was trying to use up that roast beef, after all! Unlike many of my experiments, this one worked out and everyone enjoyed it. No complaints, no leftovers, a great start for the New Year!
- pizza dough, enough for one large pie
- 12 slices leftover roast beef that has been stored in the pan juices
- ½ pound of grated cheese - I used ¼ pound provolone for two pies, ¼ pound cheddar for the other two
- 1 tbsp melted butter
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Roll out pizza dough into a large square. Cut into four even, smaller squares. Divide roast beef between the four squares of dough and top with cheese. Fold up edges of dough and seal together. Place pies on large baking sheet. Brush melted butter over pies.
- Bake in preheated oven until dough is cooked and pies are brown, approximately 10-15 minutes.
Since this post has gone on long enough, I’ll be back tomorrow with my resolution for this blog!