Friday, January 15, 2010

Taking it A Step Further

At what point do you consider yourself over-the-edge when it comes to using leftovers?? :) I have to laugh at myself this morning with what I just did. A couple of nights ago, we had a whole chicken that I prepared in the slow cooker. I deboned all the meat and then yesterday I made chicken enchiladas. I tried a new recipe and the entire family inhaled them! What I did differently is I added cottage cheese to the mix.

To make them, I mixed cottage cheese with some Mexican blend cheese. I also added some leftover rice to the shredded chicken to stretch it, but you wouldn't have to do this. In each corn tortilla, I placed a scoop of the cheese mixture and a scoop of the chicken mixture and rolled them up. They were creamy and the kids LOVED them!

I messed up a little, though, by over-estimating how much filling I would need. I was left with some of each of the mixtures. Since we didn't want to have enchiladas again tonight (Friday is pizza night!), I wasn't sure what to do with everything until inspiration struck this morning!

I took the leftovers from my leftovers and made another meal which is currently in the freezer. Crazy? I took a foil casserole pan that I had scavenged from a class party and placed a layer of corn tortillas in the bottom. I poured on a bit of sauce to cover them, then layered in half of the chicken and rice and some shredded cheese. Another layer of tortillas, topped with sauce and the rest of my cottage cheese mixture. Then more tortillas, sauce, and the rest of the chicken and rice. I topped it with more tortillas, the rest of the sauce, and some shredded cheese and popped it in the freezer.

Once I bake it, I will try to come back and post how it turned out, but I think it will work okay! I just think it's funny that I made a meal out of leftovers from a meal made of leftovers. I've really gone over the edge now!! :-)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Chicken Parmesan, Part 2

I made Chicken Parmesan earlier this week (much to my husband's delight), but made more than we were able to eat at one meal. I had one large and two small chicken breasts left, along with some of the spaghetti sauce. I was considering making the Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Bread that I showed you awhile back, but I wanted something different.

So I started out with this:

Not too exciting, huh? I cooked off a box of penne pasta and cut the chicken into cubes. I added a can of tomato sauce (8 oz.) to the existing sauce to make sure I had enough and mixed it all together in a 13x9 pan. I topped it with some shredded mozzarella cheese and baked it, covered, at 350°, for about 25 minutes. I pulled it out and sprinkled it with parmesan cheese and ended up with THIS:

Add some green beans, salad, and garlic bread (made from leftover homemade bread - YUM!) and it was a delicious dinner. Everyone loved it, and I'm not sure the kids even realized it was made from leftovers from the other night. Good stuff! I don't really have a name for it, but the hubs called it "Chicken Parmesan, Episode Two: The Penne Strikes Back." *sigh*

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Dinner from the "Remains"

Last night was Girl Scout Cookie distribution. As the cookie mom for my youngest's troop, I had to pick up over 1100 boxes of cookies, bring them to my house, and then distribute the right cookies to each of the girls in the troop. As you might imagine, this is a bit time-consuming. I was so grateful to our troop leader for coming to help me, and my daughter put in a lot of time sorting and counting as well (not bad for a 7-year-old!!).

Because I knew it was going to be a very busy evening, when I ran to HyVee yesterday morning to pick up some items that were on a great sale (for instance, 8 oz. bags of shredded cheese for $1!), I grabbed a rotisserie chicken, on special for $3.99. I figured that would be a simple dinner that my husband could help prepare. I have bags of Lipton Noodle dishes in the cabinet, and cans of veggies, and I baked off a loaf of bread yesterday early afternoon. Dinner done.

If you've purchased a grocery store rotisserie chicken (and I hope you have!), you know how small they generally are. When you're used to the nice-sized ones at Sam's Club or Costco, the grocery store variety are almost laughable. My family decimated that poor little chicken at dinner last night. I did get a little bit in between cookie pickups, but they were all quite hungry!

What remained was just a pitiful little pile of bones with tiny bits of meat attached here and there. Most folks just toss that out with the trash, right? Not here! This afternoon I pulled off quite a bit of the meat, and then I placed the bones in a pan of water and let it come to a boil and then simmer for a couple of hours. I strained the broth into a bowl and removed the rest of the meat from the bones in the pot. For dinner tonight, we're having chicken noodle soup and some homemade bread that's currently baking in the oven.

This is a great meal, especially considering that my son was at the Take Care Clinic this morning with strep throat. He thinks it sounds perfect! And this is an entire meal made from what a lot of people would consider garbage. It's also a very tasty meal! If you've never made broth from a rotisserie chicken, I encourage you to try it - the flavor is amazing, and my entire family can tell the difference when I use a rotisserie bird. It's a definite favorite!

I am adding noodles to the soup, but only about half of a .50 bag. And I'm going to toss in some veggies that are hanging out in the fridge, leftover from previous dinners earlier in the week. It's practically free, and definitely yummy!

Give homemade chicken soup a try. You will probably never feel the same way about the canned stuff again.

Happy New Year! Let's make it the year of lovin' leftovers!!