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Monday, September 22, 2008

Leftovers: Roasted Chicken

(Yes, that's purple potato.)
(And, yes, I know it’s a scary photo. My husband says to remove the photo from the post, but I think this is the whole idea - it is a leftover picture and that's what leftovers look like, right?!).

People sometimes ask me for ideas on what to do with leftovers. Some have asked me to post the ideas on the blog. So here is the first post in a series to come. This one will focus on chicken.

An important point is: if you want to have dinner at home with your family every night without working too hard and driving yourself nuts, leftovers is the key word. For me too. As much as love to cook, bake, and food in general, when I have to cook everyday sometimes it feels like a chore and then I don’t enjoy it as much. It feels more like a burden. So, leftovers, here we go…

The point of start is with a roasted chicken, potatoes (from the farm), and carrots we had on Friday.
See recipe here Roasted chicken with potatoes and carrots
So here are a few options:

Chicken wrap
This is more a list of ingredients than a recipe and you can mix and match ingredients to make your favorite wrap:

Leftover chicken, shredded, reheated
Pita/flatbread, warmed
Sour cream/Tzaziki /thick yogurt (like Greek yogurt)
Cucumber, tomatoes, bell peppers, red onion – diced/sliced/chopped
Avocado – sliced/mashed
Cilantro, or any fresh herb that you like and have available
Leftover grated cheese

Another way to go is make a soup. A-ha!

Leftover chicken soup

First, look in your fridge for other leftovers you can use.
For example, in addition to the chicken and its roasted vegetables, I had:
½ onion, 2 celery sticks, ½ bag baby carrots, and 1 sweet potato in the pantry. Put all in a big pot, add salt and black pepper, use the chicken carcass too! and the cold gelatin-y jus as well for more flavor.
Cover with water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and cook for 20-30 minutes (gentle simmer), or longer if you added any fresh vegetables that need to be cooked more.
Towards the end of the cooking, add parsley if you have any.

Other ingredients you can add:
Pasta, beans, leafy greens, cauliflower, root vegetables, the list is endless…
Serve with some leftover grated cheese on top and cubes of leftover bread (or even better, toast the bread before to make crunchy croutons)

A third option can be Thai style salad.
OK, I had soba noodles and a jarred Peanut Satay sauce. I usually don’t like prepared jarred condiments and other pantry items and sauces of that sort, but from time to time I think “let’s give it a try”. I always end up with the same conclusion – anything home-made will taste better than any of the canned or jarred stuff.

Here’s a recipe I tried and like from the Food Network by Tyler Florence (good looking, ha?!). If you don’t have all these ingredients, a few tablespoons of peanut butter will be nice too. It will sure taste better then the jarred sauce.

Cold Sesame Noodles

1 pound Chinese egg noodles or spaghetti
Kosher salt
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon red chili sauce (recommended: Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
6 tablespoons water
2 scallions, sliced thin
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

Cook the noodles in large pot of boiling salted water over medium heat until barely tender and still firm. Drain immediately and rinse with cold water until cool. Drain the noodles well and transfer to a wide bowl.

In a blender, add the ginger, garlic, sugar, peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, chili sauce, sesame oil, and water. Process until the mixture is smooth. Put the blender jar into the refrigerator and let it chill for about 1/2 hour. Pour the peanut sauce over the noodles and toss until well coated. Serve garnished with the scallions, sesame seeds, and cilantro.

And of course, add your chicken to it.

Now, doesn’t this make cooking life easier?!

Have fun.

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