I understand the concern with storing old food for too long. I don’t understand people for whom leftovers are simply not an option. I plan leftovers….
With just two of us in the household, it’s possible to stretch certain meals into two or three quite comfortably. Without getting boring. Planning to have left overs is good for time and waste management. If you know you’re going to have a busy week with little energy or time to think about meals, doing a large enough roast is one way of managing this.
We always do our roast chicken on the Weber. Before it goes on, a lemon, two bay leaves and a clove of garlic go into the cavity. Under the skin of the breast I usually put a mixture of lemon, herb, butter, olive oil and garlic. The herbs vary, depending on what we feel like, and either basil or parsley pesto make a good base to work with. This not just adds lovely flavour to the chicken, particularly when it’s cold, it also makes sure that it doesn’t dry out – particularly important if you’re planning cold chicken.
Cold chicken pieces and salad are the obvious choices, as is the ubiquitous chicken mayonnaise sandwich or salad. This can get quite boring, so here are some of the things that I do with left over chicken roast and, for that matter, the Christmas Turkey:
On a Sunday evening we often want something quick and light and opt for wraps. This particular Sunday, the chicken that was left was a little sparse, but sufficient if it were one of a couple of filling options. These were:
- Cold, cooked chicken, chopped, mixed with plain yoghurt and/or cottage cheese and seasoned with cumin and chilli
- Sweet & sour peppers, i.e. robot peppers and an onion, sliced and stir fried in olive oil to which add about a teaspoon of honey and a similar amount of apple cider vinegar is added.
- Green salad leaves
- Coriander (cilantro) sprouts or leaves
- Grated cheddar
- Wraps (tortilla)
With a selection like that, a small quantity of chicken goes a long way, and is not the usual, boring cold chicken and salad.
Cold chicken with egg salad
A few weeks ago, as I sometimes do and without thinking, I issued a spur of the moment invitation to supper. We were due to shop the next day, so as I ended the call, I had an “oh-you-stupid-idiot-what-have-you-done” moment and instantly started ferreting in the pantry cupboard and fridge. I found a generous quantity of salad makings, potatoes, eggs, beautiful labneh (made by a McGregorite) and the left-over chicken that was supposed to have been supper for two. It was a lovely summer’s evening.
I set about putting a meal together: a mixed green salad topped with quartered, almost hard, boiled eggs (one per person), sliced chicken breast, potatoes boiled in their jackets, accompanied by a labneh aoli.
The aoli was the only relatively fiddly part of the meal: I used a little commercial mayonnaise as a base and then added a generous quantity of labneh, chopped sweet basil and then added garlic and sunflower seeds (both crushed).
We have always been quite partial to pizza, and although the village does have two local establishments that make pizzas, one of which is award-winning, they are quite fun to make. Also, a pizza parade offers a really versatile way of doing a few things:
- entertaining fussy eaters – they build their own,
- using up leftovers and
- it is an “elastic” meal: one cooks what one needs to cook and once everyone has eaten their fill, the cooking stops.
Anyway, after Christmas, both as a way of using up the remains of the Christmas meal, as well as to catch up with friends, we invited them to bring a bottle and any leftovers: we would “do” early sundowners and a natter in the garden.
One of our guests arrived without his human mother. She says he takes Street Guard Dog responsibility very seriously. We know this is true because he does regular inspections of the street, our house and our “estate” (taking place as I write…). Much to Pearli and Melon’s irritation. This particular afternoon, he decided he wasn’t going home and he would wait for Mother to arrive (and which made her late because she was waiting for him to come home…).
Melon merely retreated to the relaxed safety of the vines on the pergola: even making his way on to the veranda table didn’t help Mr J get any closer to his intended!
Back to the pizza: I made a batch of pizza dough and rolled out a few bases. I had decided that pizzas were the best way of dealing with the little bits of turkey.
I had also been given a jar of quince jelly, so I thought I’d try turkey and quince jelly pizzas.
I brought the first couple out with a bit of trepidation; they were eaten with great relish and, after new, later arrivals, I was challenged to repeat the “feat”. Twice.
I began to wonder the pizzas were so popular because our friends are polite, whether needed something to eat, or whether the wine was talking or because the pizzas were really good – the afternoon had given way to a cool evening…
Anyway, we tried them again last night, this time with left-over chicken, and with the addition of some chopped green peppers…
I shall be making TQP pizzas again … a useful addition to the “left-over repertoire”.
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