Thursday, January 20, 2011

Leftovers and Editing


I love leftovers. I think I’ve mentioned this before. But I especially love leftovers when I have no time in my life, and that time is now.

Let me explain. We all know the holidays just passed, and holidays alone can take a lot of a person’s time. Cooking, cleaning, wrapping presents, entertaining, singing. (Oh, yes, I have to schedule in time to sing carols. Lots and lots of carols. At the top of my lungs.) And then cleaning again.

But in addition, this year, I found new challenges as a writer. My editor decided the week of December 13 that she needed the edits to Lost and Fondue by December 20. No problem, I thought. She said she didn’t have much to quibble about. She’d already approved my outline, so the story was wonderful (in her opinion). I could bake cookies-cookies-cookies on the 21st and 22nd.

I read through the edits that she and the copy editor had suggested and I agreed to most. But there were some minor issues that changed the landscape of the story, and I had to rewrite those. Then I read the book out loud, front to cover, to check for more mistakes. And I crashed around December 21 (except I couldn’t because, well, yes, the holidays…) I didn't make all the cookies I'd hoped...probably better for my waistline. :)

After the holidays, I knew I had to get cracking on finishing book 3, Clobbered by Camembert. The first “draft” of the manuscript was due January 15. No problem. Except I still had house guests (and loved having them), and cooking and cleaning. And then my husband had two (not one but two) business trips that he wanted me to attend with him. So I was juggling editing and tweaking and being charming on both of those trips.

And then I felt the crunch. I had 5 days before the book was due and I needed to read it out loud before trekking north to San Francisco to celebrate childrens' birthdays. [What a joy!!! A true joy!!]

(Needless to say, I stayed high on my intake of water over the past few months. Must have water to read out loud.) I put in a number of twelve-hour days reading out loud, on planes, in hotels, in cars, and then typing in the changes. Mind you, it wasn’t that book 3 was bad. I just wanted it to be as letter-perfect as possible. So I kept at it. And the thought of cooking just didn’t fall into my plan.

Returning home from San Francisco, I found already cooked turkey burgers in the freezer. For the turkey burgers I use my mother’s recipe for meatloaf and pat the concoction into burgers. I’d made a sizeable batch before the holidays. I love meatloaf. It’s one of those comfort foods that just makes me cozy all over. I defrosted the burgers and wondered if they would turn out as well as my potato creation a few months ago. If I lay cheese on a grill, set a slice of the meatloaf on top, then added more cheese on top, would it make a little croquette, as it were? It did, and it was delicious! {I didn’t take as many photos as I thought, so I’m including the a potato cheese photo "grill" so you get the whole idea.}

Here’s my mother’s recipe for meatloaf, a timeless winner in our house. And my tweak to it.



1 pound ground turkey

½ cup gluten-free bread crumbs

1 egg

1 Tablespoon dried parsley

8 slices Swiss cheese


- Combine turkey, crumbs, and egg. Mix well. Form four patties.

- Heat a saute pan on high. Set in the burgers. Cook three minutes. Flip and cook three minutes more.

- Remove the burgers. Put 4 slices of Swiss cheese in the pan. Set burger on top of the Swiss cheese. Cover with another piece of cheese.

- Cook one minute on each side, as you would a grilled cheese sandwich.

- Serve hot (with bun or bun-less).


If you want a sidedish,

Click here for my Potato Cheese recipe.

Click here for Cleo's Potato Carrot sidedish (shared at Thanksgiving)

Click here for Krista's Favorite Potato Salad

And if you're in the mood, click here for Avery's Five Cheese Mac 'n Cheese


A SNEAK PREVIEW of LOST AND FONDUE is now up on my website. Click here. If you'd like to know more about A Cheese Shop Mystery series and want to download a few other recipes from me (on recipe cards), click on this link to my website: Avery Aames. I've posted recipes in the "morsels" section. There's lots of other fun stuff, as well. And sign up for the mailing list to get in on the next contest...coming soon.

Say cheese!


  1. Avery, you've had a lot going on! I hope everything settles down a little for you and that you can take a well-deserved rest. :) This looks scrumptious and I love foods that freeze well. Adding the cheese makes the perfect touch!

  2. Thanks! I hope your day has calmed down a bit.

    I have a question, won't the cheese melt if you put it directly in the pan under the burger?

  3. Wow, you are one busy lady, lol! I hope you can take a breath, not to sing carols this time, but to enjoy the calm after the storm of the holidays and deadlines. Leftovers are always a smart idea and turkery burgers a good way to keep things light and easy, too.

    Cheers to the grand finish of your third Cheese Shop mystery!
    ~ Cleo Coffeehouse
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  4. They must have loved you reading out loud on planes. They didn't haul you off in handcuffs?

    With only three of us at home, the leftovers often outnumber the to-be-made items. Luckily both my husband and my daughter take them for lunches at work.

    Yes, just breathe. I've read that deep (diaphragm) breathing can reduce anxiety. And you can do it sitting down!

  5. Hi, all. Aren't you up early. Oh, wait, it's only 6:30 on the west coast.

    Dru - yes, the cheeese melts, then "toughens" up (sort of like fondue). Mind you, it's not tough, it's perfect. It has something to adhese to.

    Cleo - from what I can tell, I'm not nearly as busy as some of my fellow authors. Did you hear Sheila...oh, wait...shhh. Sheila can tell the secret.

    And Sheila, yes, diaphragm breathing is good. You just have to remember to do it. Remembering to breathe is sometimes asking too much! LOL. OTOH, I had an acting teacher who stressed the breathing. During acting exercises, he'd say, "Breathe." People forget, kid you not!

    I'll try to remember. May everyone have a happy, delicious day.


  6. Why do editors always want edits done over the holidays? But that's always the case. I hear you, girlfriend. And I feel your pain. Reading aloud is a big job, but it's so great for the manuscript. Just that finishing touch.

    Leftovers are our favorite foods here too. If I could make one big dinner a week and then use leftovers and eating out to augment, I'd be one happy camper. I love your improvisation here.

    Now, take it easy for a couple of days!

  7. Hope life has settled down ... for now. Looking forward to book #2 (love the title!)

    Great to have a recipe with gluten-free bread (I know, I can substitute it without being told) but it draws me to the recipe to see it there in black & white (or black & yellow, as the case may be).

    Here's wishing you a peaceful day!

  8. Terrific recipe!
    I'm a huge fan of leftovers also. I try to cook a lot of our meals with leftovers in mind and find myself thinking about them and looking forward to them the next day. A nice meal without a lot of effort. Lovely.

  9. Erika, I know what you mean re: seeing gluten free items in the recipe. It just helps. I sever this on a piece of gluten-free toast and it was perfect.

    Julie, yes, that reading aloud just makes a difference. Caught the odd word "back" yesterday, written 4 times in one short passage. Oh,my!

    Kaye, my mother loved leftovers, so I became a fan. My son used to love having dinner for breakfast. He never took to cereal, but warmed up spaghetti ? Perfect. LOL

  10. My dogs see to it that I rarely have leftovers. I love turkey burgers and chicken burgers, but so do they. Yum!

    ~ Krista

  11. I love leftovers and usually plan for them. I also love turkey burgers (but not the ones I make). All to say I am keen to try your recipe. Thanks for including all those 'clickable' sides too.

    Congrats on finishing that draft!

  12. Avery...what a brilliant idea to make meatloaf burgers!! Also the idea to make extra to freeze. I'm not a big meatloaf fan but the rest of the family loves it!! The idea of grilling the cheese really intrigues me as well. Thanks so very much!

  13. Krista - you do spoil your doggies. :) But I have to admit Max gets a tidbit every once in a while. But rarely. He does so well on the canned food that we give him with absolutley no additives and preservatives, I don't want to rock the boat.

    MJ, glad you enjoyed the links to the sides. We have so many recipes on this site, it amazes even me!

    And Nanc - the grilling cheese really works. It just makes something that much more "fun" to eat.

    Hugs to all.

  14. We've been surving on things I stocked in the freezer as well...what a time/life saver!! These burgers look fantastic!

  15. Lo-mo, so glad to see you here. Yes, that freezer is so important. We just need to mark things with dates, don't we? What is the recommended toss date for most foods? I think fish is 3 months. 6 months for the rest?


  16. Avery, when you posted your fried cheese potato recipe, I was skeptical, but gave it a try. the cheese does indeed fry up nicely and does not run out. I am sure this will work equally well.

    Looking forward to book two... do you have a release date yet???

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