Leftovers

On Sunday, I made this chicken. And then, something MIRACULOUS happened. Tonight, my husband called home from work, where he’s staying late thanks to the POTUS needing to address us this evening, and said (and I quote), “Tonight’s leftover night, right? Is there any of that delicious chicken left?”  I’m not sure I can remember the last time the hubs sounded excited about leftovers. Usually, when I say it’s leftover night, that means I eat leftovers and he makes himself a sandwich. So it’s a big deal that he actually wants to eat the chicken again.

Tonight, I made some homemade tortilla chips by brushing corn tortillas lightly with vegetable oil, sprinkling them with kosher salt, cutting them into quarters, and baking them for 15 minutes at 350. I love them – they’re firmer than store-bought tortilla chips and you can control how salty they are. And then I reheated some of the chicken, mashed half an avocado with some red onion, salt, and lime, and grated some cheese – and voila, delicious nachos out of leftovers.  Yum!

Turning Bones into Soup

The recipe I used to spatchcock the chicken last night suggested saving the backbone for soup. My mom makes soup or stock out of chicken or turkey carcasses plenty, but I hadn’t ever tried it. But considering we’re COLD here and I’m working from home tomorrow (meaning I can eat out of the fridge instead of off the expensive streets of DC), I decided to give it a try. I like chicken noodle soup fine, but I really like barley, so I decided to try Chicken Barley Soup. I chose this over my mom’s recipe because my mom’s takes several hours – whereas with this one, you cook the barley separately while you cook the soup and drain the barley and stir it in at the end. So this recipe gets bonus points for being quicker (but not quick – you still have to cook the soup for an hour, and use regular barley, which I prefer to quick cooking barley anyway).

I saved the raw backbone and the roasted bones from last night’s chicken, and added some of the leftover chicken, since I like my soup meaty. Add to that a little additional stock/broth, carrots, onion, celery, and barley – and voila, hearty chicken soup. I loved it – it has a really nice chicken flavor, isn’t salty (I added a little salt and some pepper to my bowl), and I really prefer the chewiness of the barley to soft noodles. Canned chicken soup really can’t hold a candle to homemade. I think I’ll be saving chicken carcasses more often!

Spatchcocking

We had a very nice Thanksgiving with my parents, but ended up at home earlier than planned due to some illness. So I was home this afternoon in plenty of time to get to the store and cook dinner tonight. I was planning on a nice roasted chicken (my go-to in time of illness, I guess) but decided to try a new technique. I cut the backbone out of my chicken and flattened it out, browned it in my cast iron skillet on the stovetop, and popped it in the oven for 35 minutes. I think it actually could have cooked a little less, as it was pretty hot when I pulled it out. No added fat (other than the veggie oil I use to season my skillet), no spice other than kosher salt and fresh ground pepper (I skipped the red pepper flakes since I was feeding the kiddo, but will add next time). I roasted some of our favorite smashed potatoes at the same time, since they roast at the same temp (if you haven’t made these potatoes, you should – they are crisp and salty and delicious) and served some raw veggies (my favorite) on the side. Even little C, who usually asks for “kid food”, eagerly ate his chicken and potatoes, and a handful of raw red peppers on the side. Bonus: I have lots of leftover chicken for chicken salad,and I saved the bones to make chicken stock. And the chicken cooks quickly enough that I could roast it on a weeknight, which is great, since my family always enjoys roast chicken.

Happy belated Thanksgiving!  I’m thankful for these quick meals that my whole family enjoys!

Even the picky kid ate it!

We had some chicken breasts in the fridge tonight that needed to be cooked or tossed, so I “flipped” through Dinner: A Love Story blog and found this one:

Cornmeal Crusted Chicken

The kid actually asked for seconds, even without any ketchup or other dipping sauce (other than the sauce that was part of the recipe). And the husband said it didn’t have any of the “tackiness” that my breaded chicken sometimes has – probably because it wasn’t breaded!  No flour is needed, or even egg white – the cornmeal is so fine it just sticks to the chicken. I pounded the chicken a lot before I dredged it, so it was thin and juicy with a crisp coating. The sauce was good too – an interesting twist, as it wouldn’t have been what I would have expected.  Next time I’ll cook some rice to serve with it, but this time I just did sauteed spinach on the side, and it felt like a nice, somewhat light meal (except you cook the chicken in oil – but next time hopefully I’ll have more olive oil and I’ll use that to increase the flavor and health factor).

BBQ

Tonight’s dinner is pulled chicken sandwiches, courtesy of Dinner: A Love Story.  I made one of her barbecue sauces and the pickled onions (though I didn’t have any jalapenos). I drew the line at slaw, because it just isn’t something I enjoy very much – though if I made this for company, I would probably try her slaw recipe as well.  I served it on Trader Joe’s cute mini hamburger buns, so the kiddo could just have 1 and adults could have seconds if desired, and we enjoyed some sliced watermelon on the side.  No greens – but I promise I had a big salad for lunch!

Things I liked about this recipe:

  • I started cooking around 6, and had dinner on the table by shortly after 7 – and that included making even the bbq sauce from scratch. Not too shabby.
  • It wasn’t overly tomato-y. I don’t love really red barbecue sauces.
  • It was chicken breast, so it wasn’t as fatty/filling as some pork bbq can be.
  • She was right, the pickled red onions were a great addition.
  • I enjoyed it.

Downsides:

  • The kid didn’t like it much. Granted his tastes just keep getting pickier, and he’d eat chicken nuggets every night if he could, but I was really hoping that he’d actually like this one.
  • Husband thought it was too….something. Vinegary? Smoky? Something he couldn’t put his finger on. He did like it, but he didn’t love it.

So I don’t know that I’ll be making it again, but only because it makes a lot and I don’t see myself eating all those leftovers.  But I would recommend it to someone looking for a change from your average pulled pork bbq.

Mexican night

Finally back testing out some new recipes. We love mexican at our house, so tonight I tried chipotle salsa baked chicken. G isn’t home, but Charlie’s chicken got put into a quesadilla, and I had mine with a side of black beans and some tortilla chips.

I really liked the flavor of the sauce – it reminded me of the warm salsa they used to serve at Austin Grill (before they started messing with their old stand-bys), and there’s plenty to dip my chips in. The chicken was good too, though next time I think I’d cut the pieces thinner, more like cutlets.  We have leftovers, and I think they’ll be great rolled up in a tortilla with the leftover black beans.  This wasn’t anything I’d gush and rave about, but it’s a relatively easy, quick recipe that can be served a couple of different ways. I’ll be making it again.