Something slightly different today: two recipes each made using up half of a leftover rotisserie chicken. I love having these types of leftovers and while it may seem a bit extravagant to buy, say, two rotisserie chickens instead of one think of all the extra meals you can make out of it. And if you prefer to roast your own, why not cook two birds together at the same time instead of just one?  It’s about the same amount of work.

A better chicken noole soup

A better chicken noole soup

A Better Chicken Noodle Soup

This is a hearty and dare I say healthy and satisfying meal – and so much better than anything out of a can. You could use any vegetables you have on hand; I used onion, carrot, leeks and mushrooms that were firstly gently sauteed then simmered with wide noodles in a tasty broth. You will need:

• Olive oil

• Vidalia sweet onion, ½ large, peeled & chopped

• Fresh Thyme, 2 -3 sprigs or 1 tablespoon dried

• Large carrot, 1, peeled and sliced on the diagonal

• Leeks, white part only, 2, sliced crosswise

• Crimini mushrooms, peeled & thinly sliced, 3-4

• Chicken broth, 4 cups

• Pappardelle noodles, 4 nests

• Leftover cooked chicken, white & dark meat (from ½ bird)

• Green Peas (I used Green Giant Sweetlets)

Heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pot then add the chopped onion, salt and pepper and the leaves from 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme if you have it on hand, if not use a tablespoon of dried (preferably organic*) and cook gently over low heat for about ten minutes.

Add the carrot, leek and mushrooms and continue to cook for about another 10 minutes.

Add the broth and bring to a boil; add the noodles and continue to cook at a rolling boil for the length of time suggested for the pasta (6 minutes for the pappardelle noodles I used).

Reduce the heat slightly, add in the chicken meat, roughly shredded, and a handful of frozen peas and simmer for 2-3 minutes until the chicken is heated through.

Ladle into bowls and enjoy.

* Organic herbs are initially a bit expensive to buy but the taste is so much better that it’s worth it, especially during winter when fresh herbs are not so readily available.

Vegan option: Use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth and substitute canned chick peas for the leftover chicken and you have an equally delicious meal in minutes.

BBQ Chicken Quesadillas

BBQ Chicken Quesadillas

BBQ Chicken Quesadillas

A different sort of sandwich – chicken meat is combined with sautéed onion and barbecue sauce then layered instead flour tortillas with grated Monterey Jack cheese. The barbecue sauce adds a wonderful depth of flavour without you having to spend hours building it yourself.

And to make it easier to serve, I’ve filled each tortilla and cut it in half rather than laying one on top of the other and cutting into quarters which is more traditional but more of a mess. You will need:

• Vidalia sweet onion, ½ large, peeled and chopped

• Olive oil

• Leftover cooked chicken, white and dark meat (from ½ bird)

• Barbecue sauce (I used Bullseye Original)

• Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeños

Pre-heat the oven to 350F.

Note: If you are using leftover chicken from the fridge, allow it to come up to room temperature for about half an hour before you make the sandwiches.

In a skillet, heat a tablespoon of oil then gently sauté the onion for about ten minutes, being careful not to brown. Put the cooked onion into a bowl.

Add the shredded chicken meat and about 2-3 tablespoons of good quality barbecue sauce and mix together gently.

Lay two large flour tortillas on a non-stick baking sheet and lightly brush each one with olive oil; turn the tortillas oil side down on the sheet.

Spoon half of the onion/chicken mixture onto half of each tortilla, top with a generous handful of grated cheese, fold over the tortilla.

Place into the oven for about 15 minutes or until the tortillas are crisp and the cheese is bubbly and melted. Let sit for a minute or two before cutting in half with a very sharp knife or a pizza cutter.

Crispy chicken is nestled among spicy sausage, potatoes and onions in a delicious one-pot meal. Leftover chicken is then combined with colourful peppers and pineapple in a red-curry sauce in a beautiful presentation of colours and mingling of flavours. Either dish can be made as mild or spicy as you want. Try them!

Pan-Roasted Chicken w. Sausages & Potatoes

Pan-Roasted Chicken w. Sausages & Potatoes

Pan-Roasted Chicken w. Sausages & Potatoes

You will need:

• Olive oil

• Skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, 12 large

• Smoked Paprika

• Spicy sausages, 6

• Yukon gold potatoes, 2 lbs

• Red onions, 2

Pre-heat the oven to 425F.

Pour a tablespoon of olive oil into a large roasting pan then add the chicken. Sprinkle a generous amount of smoked paprika over each piece then season with sea-salt and freshly ground black pepper. Using your clean hands, gently toss the chicken pieces so they are coated in oil and seasonings then set in the pan skin side up.

Cut the sausages into thirds and scatter them among the chicken.

Cut the potatoes into quarters or smaller (no need to peel them) and scatter them among the chicken and sausages.

Peel and chop the red onions and scatter them on top of the meat and potatoes. Again using your clean hands, lightly toss all the ingredients together then lay them out in a single layer as far as possible leaving the chicken skin side-up.

Place in a pre-heated oven and bake, uncovered, for up to an hour or until the chicken is crispy and brown and the potatoes and sausages are cooked. The onions will have melted down into a sauce.

Serve with a simple vegetable such as green peas.

Separate the chicken from the rest of the leftovers and set aside, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Set aside the leftover sausage, potato & onion mixture, covered, and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

The leftover sausage, potato and onion mixture is great heated up alongside fried eggs, or as a filling for an omelet or quiche.

Thai-style Red-curried Chicken w. Peppers & Pineapple

Thai-style Red-curried Chicken w. Peppers & Pineapple

Thai-style Red-curried Chicken w. Peppers & Pineapple

You will need:

• Vegetable oil

• Thai red-curry paste (I used Thai Kitchen brand)

• Coconut milk, 1 can (I used Thai Kitchen brand), not Light

• Low-sodium Chicken broth (I used Campbell’s brand)

• Brown sugar

• Fish sauce (I used Thai Kitchen Premium brand)

• Canned pineapple chunks (I used Dole brand), 14oz can

• Red bell pepper, 1

• Green bell pepper, 1

• Leftover chicken, skin and bones removed (I had 4 pieces left)

• Fresh basil

• Cooked rice or rice noodles (to serve)

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add a heaped tablespoon of red curry paste (or more if you like it spicier) and stir for about one minute. Add the coconut milk and ½ cup of chicken broth and bring to a simmer, stirring to combine. Stir in 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of fish sauce until well blended.

Drain the can of pineapple chunks but reserve the juice along with about a third of the fruit and set aside (this would be delicious served cold over vanilla-bean ice cream). Stir the remainder of the pineapple chunks into the red curry sauce along with the chopped red and green peppers.

Stir in the leftover chicken meat and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the peppers have softened slightly and the chicken is heated through.

Remove from the heat then stir in fresh basil leaves. Serve by ladling over cooked rice or rice noodles.

Variations:

Substitute 1lb of raw shrimp for the chicken or make it vegan by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth and substituting alb of extra firm tofu for the chicken.

Our American friends are celebrating Thanksgiving today and, according to reports, fully 88% of them will be celebrating the day by eating turkey. For us it’s a day to hunker down in front of the television watching the Dallas football game (Go Cowboys!) and eating delicious leftovers from a turkey I cooked yesterday. It is honestly one of my favourite meals of the year and, best part, is that all the hard work’s been done the day before.

Day-after Turkey Dinner with Bubble & Squeak

Day-after Turkey Dinner with Bubble & Squeak

Day-after Turkey Dinner with Bubble & Squeak

This is the easiest dinner you’ll ever make: creamy, buttery mashed potatoes are sautéed with baby Brussels sprouts then served alongside sliced turkey breast, re-heated dressing and gravy with cranberry sauce on the side. If you don’t like sprouts, any combination of vegetables will work as long as at least half is potatoes. You will need:

• Leftover, cold, mashed potatoes

• Leftover, cold, cooked Brussels sprouts

• Butter

• Olive oil

How you make your mashed potatoes will affect the taste of the bubble & squeak – I make mine using Yukon Gold potatoes cooked in salted water then drained and mashed with lots of butter and a splash of half-and-half.  Leave the leftovers to cool then refrigerate, covered, overnight.

The Brussels sprouts are simply steamed until they are just tender and still holding their colour; leftovers are allowed to cool then refrigerated, covered, overnight. Next day, cut them into quarters or halves.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt about a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil; add the mashed potatoes and press down into the pan to flatten. Add the Brussels sprouts and stir to combine.

Let the vegetables cook for about ten minutes, turning occasionally, until they start to get brown and crisp.

Day-after Turkey Dinner with Bubble & Squeak

Day-after Turkey Dinner with Bubble & Squeak

Of course how brown and crispy you make them is up to you; in this photo they are just beginning to develop their lovely crust. Enjoy!

White Chili with Turkey

I had actually never made white chill before and after reading through various fairly complicated recipes came up with this easy version. When you think you can’t face another round of turkey and vegetables, try this flavourful but simple meal.

White Chili with Turkey

White Chili with Turkey

You will need:

• Canned white beans, 3 x 19oz cans (I used white kidney beans)

• Chicken broth, low-sodium, 6 cups

• Bay leaf

• Sweet Vidalia onion, peeled and finely chopped

• Jalapeño pepper(s), de-seeded and chopped

• Garlic cloves, 3-4, finely chopped

• Ground cumin, 1 tablespoon

• Ground coriander, 1 tablespoon

• Leftover turkey (I used breast meat), shredded, 4 cups

• Fresh cilantro

• Fresh lime

Rinse and drain the beans then pour them into a large pot; add the chicken broth and bay leaf, bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Meantime, in a skillet, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil then add the chopped onion and cook gently for about 10-15 minutes or until it starts to soften, do not allow to brown.

Add the chopped jalapeño (I used one but if you like it really spicy, add more) and the chopped garlic and cook for another minute.

Add the cumin and stir to combine, cook for 1 minute. Add the coriander and stir to combine then cook for another minute.

Add the onion/pepper mixture to the beans, stir well, and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes to allow the flavours to develop.

Remove the pot from the heat and let the beans cool down just a little. Using an immersion blender, carefully puree half of the beans then return the pot to the heat.

Add in the shredded turkey and continue to cook for about 15 minutes more, stirring occasionally, until the meat is fully heated through.

Ladle into bowls, squeeze in some fresh lime juice and garnish with fresh cilantro.  Enjoy!

Coq au Vin Reisling chicken

Coq au Vin Reisling chicken

Coq au Vin Reisling, serves 4 with leftovers

A new twist on an old favourite – Reisling replaces the more traditional Burgundy; it’s also quicker and easier to make than traditional coq-au-vin.  The original inspiration for this recipe came from one of my favourite cookbook authors Nigel Slater.  His philosophy towards cooking “use simple ingredients…” is one I embrace.  In my version, leeks and crimini mushrooms replace pearl onions and button mushrooms.  You will need: 

• Pancetta, 4 thin slices, chopped

• Extra virgin olive oil

• Chicken, organic if possible, 6 bone-in, skin on breasts

 Vidalia Sweet onion, one large, peeled and chopped

 Leeks, 2-3 (one bunch), trimmed, whites only, thinly sliced

• Crimini mushrooms, 1 pound, sliced

• Riesling, (or other medium-dry white wine), 1 bottle

I use a Le Creuset pot for this recipe but if you don’t have one, use any ovenproof pot.

Place the pot over medium-high heat and add the pancetta; cook until the fat is mostly rendered and the bacon is starting to crisp.  Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add some extra virgin olive oil if necessary then brown the chicken well on both sides, in separate batches if the pot is crowded.  Remove from the pan and set aside.

To the remaining oil, add the onions and leeks, season liberally with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook until translucent being carefully not to brown, about ten minutes.  Add in the mushrooms and cook for another minute or two.

Raise the heat and add in the riesling, stirring to get up any bits from the bottom of the pan and allow the vegetables to boil for about 2 minutes or until the wine is slightly reduced.  Return the bacon and chicken to the pot, cover, reduce the heat and cook at a gentle simmer for about 30-45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Though not shown in the photo, I like to serve this with crunchy roasted potatoes and steamed green beans along with a glass of the chilled riesling that I use to cook with.  To continue on the French theme and to turn this into an elegant dinner, start with a smooth chicken liver pate and cornichons and end with a chocolatey pudding.

When the extra chicken breasts and sauce have cooled down, put them in a smaller container, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Penne Pasta with Chicken in a White-wine Cream Sauce

Penne Pasta with Chicken in a White-wine Cream Sauce

Penne with Chicken in a White-wine Cream Sauce

You will need:

• Penne pasta, ½ box (I like deCecco brand)

• Leftover chicken and sauce, separated

• Whipping cream, 1 cup

Cook the pasta in salted boiling water according to the directions on the package; drain then return to the pot it was cooked in.

Meantime, in a separate pot, heat the leftover sauce then add in the cream and simmer until heated through and reduced slightly without bringing it to a boil.  Taste and check for seasoning, adding sea-salt and freshly ground black pepper if necessary.

Remove the skin from the chicken breasts and roughly tear the meat into chunks; add to the cream sauce in the pot.

When heated through, add the chicken and sauce to the pot with the cooked pasta and combine.  Let sit for a minute or two, covered, so that the flavours absorb into the penne.  Ladle into bowls and garnish with chopped fresh Italian parsley.  If you’re lucky enough to have another bottle of riesling then a glass or two served alongside would be a great accompaniment for the meal.