Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Leftover chicken

I love roast chicken. It's become our new quick meal as roast chickens in this city are pretty cheap when purchased fresh from a deli. The birds are fairly small, but they are more than enough for a meal for two plus leftovers. This has, unfortunately, led me to throw away or freeze far too many chicken parts. To try and reduce waste, I've compiled a list of recipes for what to do when you have cooked chicken.
  1. Stir fry with chicken. Whenever it comes to Chinese recipes, I always turn to the Tigers and Strawberries blog. Her recipe is amazing. My modifications - leave out the cornstarch, use 1/2 the amount of dark soy sauce, and add in more vegetables (bell peppers, celery, water chestnuts, ...pretty much whatever I've got).
  2. Chicken fried rice. This low calorie version tastes pretty good to me. I add ginger (about 1/2 an inch, peeled & diced) and sometimes replace the peas and carrots with a bag of frozen oriental or Thai mix.
  3. Chicken pot pie. Sandi Richard's book, Cooking for the Rushed, has the simplest and most tasty chicken pot pie recipe. I typically make it without the biscuits on top, preferring to make standard buttermilk or baking soda biscuits to serve alongside it.
  4. Easy Chicken Enchiladas. This is a new recipe for me, but it's very similar to one I regularly make. What I really like about this one is that it came with a recipe for Fast Enchilada Sauce; so now I can make my own.
  5. Chicken Fajitas. I leave out the salt and the cornstarch and only occasionally add the lime juice. I replace the onion powder with a diced scallion, and the garlic powder with a minced clove (or two) of fresh garlic.
  6. Jambalaya. This tasty version appeared in Cooking Light (Jan 2000). It's far more simple than most versions I've found and the shrimp can easily be replaced with cooked shredded chicken.
  7. Kung Pao Chicken with Ho Fun Noodles. Another Chinese dish that works as well with cooked chicken as raw. I don't use the cornstarch, but otherwise don't modify the recipe much. I like it with all the optional ingredients; but I don't always have them on hand.
  8. Pizza Calzones. The recipe doubles easily and is great to make ahead and freeze. Making the bread does take some time, but if made in advance and kept frozen, it takes about 30 minutes to warm up and cook.
  9. Chicken a la king. This can optionally be made with peas and carrots.
  10. Spicy chicken with poblano peppers and cheese. A great spicy fall dinner. I usually serve it with just a salad. The recipe itself is very forgiving and I don't usually roast the skins off the peppers.
  11. Stock. As a last resort, I'll throw the skin, bones and carcass into a crock pot with an onion (roughly cut and not peeled), a carrot (washed but not peeled) and a stalk of celery. Fill with water to cover and set it on low for a day.

So what do you do with your leftover chicken?

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