Tuesday, November 17, 2009

How to make a chicken last 3 meals (at least!)

Red-cooked chickenImage by 3liz4 via Flickr

Chicken is probably the most common main dish around here. There are SO many ways to prepare it - arroz con pollo, seco de pollo, fried chicken and caldo de gallina (Peruvian style chicken soup), just to name a few. I've mentioned before how I can usually get 3 meals out of one chicken, and I thought I'd talk a little more about how I go about doing that.One of the best ways is to start out by roasting the whole chicken - you can do wonders with what you don’t eat for dinner. Here are some ways to make that roasted chicken appealing to the family.

Learn to slice a whole chicken. Slicing one properly makes it easier to remove the rest of the meat from the bone. The carcass can be used to create stock. Boil it in some water with a carrot, a whole onion and some celery until the rest of the meat falls off.

You can season the broth with herbs and spices - try garlic and a bay leaf. After it cools, pour it into jars for storage. Freeze it and have it ready to use for soups and casseroles.

Do your kids carry their lunches to school? Instead of buying lunch meat, slice leftover chicken breast for sandwiches. It will be a nice change from the usual lunch fare.

On the weekends, instead of ordering a pizza or going to McDonald’s, use that chicken. Cube a few pieces to toss on top of a salad with some cheese and croutons. Combine with peppers and onions in a skillet, then stir in some chili powder or taco seasonings to make filling for fajitas or soft tacos.

My guys don't care for the breast meat as a main dish, but will eat it up if it's cooked into a tallarin saltado (stir fry) or aji de gallina (chicken in a spicy sauce). Does your family like chicken pot pie? Add some of the chicken, along with vegetables (canned or frozen) and a can of creamed soup to a pie crust and you’ve got an instant dinner that takes less than an hour to prepare. It is a quick meal idea perfect for busy families. A salad on the side will make a complete and healthy dinner.

Chicken based casseroles can be made and frozen for future meals. The family may be all “chickened out” for the week, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of the chicken you have left for future weeks.

Make your own soup with juicy chicken pieces and wide egg noodles - or use spaghetti noodles for Peruvian style.. That broth you jarred up will serve as a nice base and best of all it's already seasoned. Add noodles and sliced vegetables like carrots, celery, and onions to your soup. When the noodles are tender, add the chicken. Since it is already cooked it just needs to warn up. Ladle up a bowl for a light weekend lunch, or for 'lonche' in the evening with some fresh pan frances from the panaderia.

What are you doing with your chicken after dinner tonight? Try some of these ideas to make that chicken do double and triple duty to save on your family’s grocery bill. The best part is that the new meals are just as tasty as the original dish.

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1 comment:

  1. Really nice article with loads of great ideas.


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