How do you put together a meal, sign school forms and change the channel all at the same time? The answer is simple: heat up leftovers + get someone else to manage the TV remote (what are the odds I’d get control of it anyway?).
With three crazy nights of the week where we need to arrive home from school/work, eat and be out the door in less than 30 minutes, leftovers have become my best friend.
Now that September is in full swing, you’ll find me cooking in bulk on the weekends and freezing the leftovers for one of these crazy nights, or making a Sunday night dinner that will provide the key ingredients for a second meal. I’ve been doing this for ages, but I recently discovered a great blog written by Saskia called 1=2. Saskia’s site is brilliant, with every post delivering on this life-saving concept of making a meal and planning for leftovers to prepare a second meal. (Be sure to check out Saskia’s site for some great 1=2 ideas.)
A roasted chicken is the perfect start to a two-for-one meal, as there are just so many meals that you can make with leftover chicken. One of my favourite ways to roast or grill a chicken is to spatchcock it. Before you get any ideas, you should know that this simply means to butterfly a chicken, or to take out the backbone and flatten it. The key benefit is that the chicken cooks faster and more evenly than when it is left in tact. Apparently, spatchcock is the traditional word for the French term “poussin”, which means a young chicken. Years ago, these little chickens were frequently butterflied for faster cooking, and eventually flattened chickens were called spatchcocks.
Often I’ll make a simple chicken pot pie with leftover chicken, or a chicken and brocolli quiche. Sometimes I just add barbeque sauce and serve the tangy leftover chicken with mashed potatoes (preferably leftovers also) and vegetables. I recently used my leftover chicken and corn (from a Sunday night dinner) to make Avocado-Corn Chowder with Grilled Chicken, which comes together in about 10 minutes using leftovers.
If you have some good recipes on how to use leftover chicken, please be sure to share as I see many more crazy nights in my future! How about you?
Lemon and Herbes de Provence Spatchcocked Chicken
- 4 lb chicken, spatchcocked
- 2 lemons: zest one and slice the other
- 2 to 3 tsp herbs de provence
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Rinse and thoroughly dry the chicken.
Breast side up, carefully separate the skin from the bird, taking care not to rip the skin. Insert two slices of lemon between the skin and the flesh on each half of the bird.
Using a pastry brush, coat the outside skin of the bird with the olive oil. Sprinkle the coated chicken with herbes de provence, lemon zest and salt & pepper to taste.
To Grill: Cook on a preheated barbeque for 45 to 50 minutes until internal termperature reads 180°.
To Roast in the Oven: Preheat oven to 425°. Place prepared chicken (spatchcocked, seasoned and stuffed with lemon as above) breast side up in a greased baking dish. Roast for 45 to 55 minutes, until internal temperature reads 180°. NOTE: When roasting, I like to use butter rather than oil to coat the chicken. I also like to mix a couple of teaspoons of butter with some fresh chopped parsley, thyme and rosemary and slip this between the skin and the flesh of the bird. This doesn’t work well when barbequing, as the butter drips on to the grill and catches fire.
Avocado-Corn Chowder with Grilled Chicken
For the orignial recipe, click here.
- I reduced the water to 1 cup, as I find 1½ cups too watery and I reduced the orange juice to 1/3 cup rather than ½ cup.
- Using left-over grilled chicken eliminates the need to follow the directions for cooking the chicken.
- I used a couple pinches of crushed red pepper rather than ¼ tsp of ground red pepper.
- I also omitted the chopped red pepper.
Turkey Soup with Cranberry Parsley Pistou and Turkey Salad
I’m a big fan of cooking without a recipe (except when baking). And, when I’m trying to clean out my fridge I can get pretty creative—although not everything is picture-worthy. Yesterday I was anxious to finish up the leftover turkey in my fridge because last year I stuck the turkey in the freezer at the last possible minute and then never used it—and that is just wrong.
So, this year I made two dishes: Turkey Soup with Cranberry Parsley Pistou and Turkey Salad. The turkey soup is pretty standard, but I spiced it up with the Cranberry Parsley Pistou. If you’ve never tried Soupe au Pistou, it is a French vegetable soup from Provence with a dollop of “pistou” which is essentially pesto without the pine nuts. It’s a puree of olive oil, garlic, parmesan and herbs (usually basil). The version of pistou that I’ve made before has tomato paste in it as well. I really like it because it is a great way to jazz up soup, and shouldn’t soup be jazzy? However, my ponytails don’t like jazzy soup (they call anything they don’t like “spicy”) so they will get the plain version. Isn’t that perfect though? An ingredient so special that it is just for the adults?
I should point out that the cranberry in the pistou is VERY subtle. It just adds a hint of sweetness and you see a few tiny specs of red in the soup, but you really have to look for them. I loved being able to use up the left-over cranberry as well!
Now I have put together a recipe for my soup (below), but it is the perfect dish to try without a recipe or to completely change up my version. Consider mine a starting point and go with what you have leftover in your fridge and how much you have of each ingredient. I’ve also made a small portion of the pistou because it is just for the two of us, but you could easily double it if you are serving a crowd.
I’m not going to include a recipe for the turkey salad. I just chopped up the turkey into cubes, added enough low-fat mayo to cover it nicely, then threw in a couple pieces of chopped celery and green onion and a handful of pine nuts and raisins. I’ve never had it with pine nuts and raisins before, but perhaps it is not that original. I quite liked it.
Turkey Soup with Cranberry Parsley Pistou
For the stock:
- Turkey carcass and bones
- Onion, quartered
- 2 whole carrots
- 2 stalks of celery
- Small bunch of parsley (whole)
- Bay leaf
For the soup:
- 1-1/2 small onions, chopped
- 3 celery, diced
- 4 carrots, diced
- 2 potatoes diced (if you have them – I was out so didn’t use them this time)
- 3 cups chopped turkey
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 2 cups medium egg noodles
- 1 cup peas
For the pistou:
- ½ cup tightly packed flat leaf Italian parsley
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp whole cranberry sauce
- 1/3 cup finely grated parmesan
- ½ clove of garlic, minced (add more if you like garlic)
Place the turkey carcass and bones, along with vegetables (onion, carrots, celery, parsley and bay leaf) in a large stock pot and cover with water. I filled mine pretty close to the top of the pot, because I wanted to maximize my soup yield. Simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours.
Strain turkey stock and throw out the carcass, bones and vegetables. Place the lovely strained stock back in your pot and add all remaining ingredients except the peas and egg noodles. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add the peas and egg noodles and cook for 15 more minutes. (You can sauté the vegetables in a bit of olive oil first, but I skipped this step.)
For the Pistou, place the parsley, cranberry, parmesan, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor and puree. Pour in the olive oil with the motor running until the mixture is completely blended.
Ladle your soup into a bowl and add a dollop (or two, pending preference) of pistou. Enjoy.
Here’s a picture of the turkey salad, just waiting for some good bread.