Monday, June 13, 2011

Leftover chicken recipes | 5 easy ways to cook leftover chicken

Leftover chicken recipes - 5 easy ways to cook leftover chicken
By: Chef Cristian Feher
Tampa Bay Personal Chef Services

If you're like many people, you just can't help but pass the rotisserie chicken section at your local supermarket without sticking one of those juicy, crispy, perfectly machine-roasted birds in your cart. But after a couple of days it just sits in your fridge with parts missing, looking kind of like an avian amputee. Do you throw it out? No need to waste your money. Here are five easy and delicious recipes for leftover chicken.

Chicken Vegetable Soup:
This recipe works well for those of you who collect odds and ends in your kitchen pantry. Soup is an excellent way to use leftover foods and stuff you want to get rid of. Start by chopping up celery, onions, carrots, and any other green vegetable you may have laying around (asparagus, zucchini, watercress, etc). Do not use broccoli or cauliflower, as these will impart a sulfur taste to your soup that most people will find unpleasant. I always keep a jar of organic chicken bullion on my fridge, but you can also use powdered chicken bullion or packaged chicken stock, and worst case scenario, just use water and salt. Fry your veggies with a little olive oil until the onion becomes translucent. Add a couple of minced garlic cloves, and the chicken. You can put in the whole chicken, cut it in parts, or you can take the meat off by hand and just add the meat. Fill with water until it just covers the chicken and veggies. If you're adding rice, pasta or barley, make sure you add more water to compensate. Mix some chicken bullion in the water until it tastes like a nice flavorful chicken stock. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down and simmer for 1 hour uncovered. If the pasta, rice or barley absorbed too much water, add more water and adjust the chicken stock if the taste is too bland. Season to taste with salt and pepper if necessary and enjoy!

Chicken Salad:
This is probably the fastest thing you can do with leftover chicken. Quickly take the meat off the bones with your (clean) hands and put the meat into a bowl. Add some chopped celery and chopped scallions, fresh ground pepper, salt, a little Dijon mustard and mayo. Stir and you're done! This can be eaten in a sandwich of on the side of a salad, or even by itself (for you low carb dieters). Another variation of this salad takes the addition of a teaspoon of curry powder for an aromatic taste.  You can also add diced apples and grapes for a sweeter contrast.

Chicken Club Wrap w/ Tzatziki Yogurt Sauce:
If you like Greek food and bacon, this recipe will blow you away! You can use pre-cooked bacon, but I prefer the real deal and find that organic apple wood smoked bacon (uncured) tastes the best. But you can use your favorite bacon. The best way to cook bacon to perfection is on a non-stick cookie sheet (baking sheet) in the oven at 400 until the bacon browns. Take it out, let it cool, sop up the grease with paper towel and you have perfect sandwich bacon. Now for the tzatziki sauce. It's best to use a food processor for this, but you can do it by hand. Mince 2 garlic cloves, and 1/2 of a peeled cucumber in a food processor. Add this mixture to a cup of plain Greek yogurt (or regular yogurt) and season with a little olive oil, spritz of lemon juice, fresh cracked black pepper and plenty of salt. Mix well. On the wrap you will put a good amount of shredded chicken meat, tomato slices, lettuce, bacon and tzatziki sauce. Roll it up and get ready, 'cause it's gonna be good!

Chicken Quesadilllas:
Again, this is a very easy recipe. You will need chicken meat, tomato salsa, and shredded cheese (like cheddar, monterrey, queso blanco, gouda or even mozza would work). Lay a flour or corn tortilla flat, fill half of it with the chicken, salsa and cheese and fold the empty half over onto the food. This way you can flip it easier on the pan (versus having one tortilla flat on top of another). Cook on a non-stick skillet at med-low heat making sure not to burn the bottom of the tortilla. Wait until the cheese starts to melt and then careful (and quickly) flip the quesadilla over so the other side can crisp up too. Once the inside is hot and melted, I like to serve it with fresh guacamole and sour cream. But it will be good enough on it's own if you're looking for a quick meal and don't have a lot of time.

Chicken Coconut Curry:
This will require a can of coconut milk, chicken bullion powder or paste (not stock), chickpeas and a potato in addition to the chicken meat. These are the items you should prep: shredded chicken meat, 1 peeled and diced potato, 1 diced onion, 3 garlic cloves minced, 1 tbsp of minced ginger (optional), 1 can of chickpeas drained. Cook the onion with a little vegetable oil. When they become translucent, add the chicken, garlic, ginger, potato, chickpeas, 1 tbsp of yellow curry powder and give it a good stir. Once the curry powder is mixed in there, cook the mixture for a 5 minutes on med-high heat. Add the coconut milk and a bit of chicken bullion to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook at med-low until the potato is cooked. Stir often. I like to serve this on steamed white or basmati rice. But it can be eaten on its own if you're in a hurry.

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