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.

This week, two sets of very simple recipes that can easily be doubled for a crowd. 

Easiest Oven-Baked, Barbecued Pork Ribs

Easiest Oven-Baked, Barbecued Pork Ribs

Easiest, Oven-Baked, Barbecued Pork Ribs

Technically these are not barbecued at all but just slowly simmered in a tangy, sweet barbecue sauce in the oven.  It’s a taste of summer even when the outside temperatures have started to drop.  

The success of this recipe has more to do with technique than ingredients. Meaning that you don’t have to make homemade sauce unless you want to – in Canada, Bullseye brand has the right ingredients to ensure a caramelized top to the melt-in-your-mouth ribs which is exactly how I like them (in the States I use Stubbs brand). You will need:

• Baby back pork ribs, 2 whole racks

• Barbecue sauce, 1 bottle

• Large roasting pan

• Heavy duty aluminum foil

Pre-heat the oven to 350F (start several hours ahead of when you want to eat the ribs).

Lay the ribs in the roasting pan (I use a disposable foil one) and cover tightly with foil.  Place in the oven and cook for about 90 minutes.  (If you’re doubling the recipe and have two pans of ribs, rotate them halfway through cooking so each pan has time at the top of the oven.)

Carefully remove the pan from the oven (don’t turn it off), remove the foil and transfer the ribs to a large chopping board. Pour away any fat that has collected and wipe out the pan. Return the ribs to the roasting pan and pour over the barbecue sauce; cover tightly with foil and return to the oven for about another 90 minutes.

Turn off the oven and let the ribs sit for up to 3 hours. The ribs will still be hot and the meat literally falling off the bone and can be eaten right away.

Or, if you prefer a caramelized finish, remove the ribs from the oven and pre-heat the broiler.  Carefully transfer the ribs to a chopping board, pour the sauce into a jug, replace the ribs in the pan and baste with some of the sauce.  Place the pan under the broiler for about 5 minutes or so until the top is sizzling.

Cut up the ribs and serve alongside colourful Black Bean Salad.

Reserve leftover ribs and sauce, covered, in the ‘fridge for up to 3 days.

Black Bean & Corn Salad

Black Bean & Corn Salad

Black Bean & Corn Salad

You will need:

• Canned Black beans, 1 large can (I use Eden brand)

• Canned corn niblets, 1 small can (I use Green Giant)

• Red bell pepper

• Green onions (scallions), 1 bunch

• Vegetable oil e.g. Canola

• Chipotle chili powder (optional)

• Fresh cilantro (coriander), optional

Rinse and drain the canned beans, drain the canned corn and pour the contents into a large bowl.  Finely chop the red pepper and cut the green onions on the diagonal and add to the bowl. Add about a tablespoon of vegetable oil and toss to combine; season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. For an extra kick, add up to about a teaspoonful of chipotle chili powder (regular chill powder doesn’t work). Cover and let sit for an hour or so; toss again just before serving and garnish with fresh cilantro (optional).

Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Apple Slaw

Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Apple Slaw

Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Apple Slaw

You will need:

• Leftover barbecued ribs

• Leftover barbecue sauce

• Crusty buns

• Packet of your favourite brand of cole-slaw *

• Mayonnaise (I use Hellman’s)

• Apple Cider Vinegar

• Vidalia sweet onion, peeled and chopped

• Granny Smith Apple, skin on, chopped

• Raisins

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

Remove the meat from the bones of the leftover ribs and place into a saucepan with any leftover sauce; add extra sauce if necessary. Cook at a simmer, covered, until heated through.

Meantime, make Apple Slaw:

Apple Slaw

Pour the cole slaw into a large bowl, add 2-3 heaped spoonfuls of mayonnaise, a splash of apple-cider vinegar, the chopped onion and apple and a handful of raisins.  Stir to combine.  Cover and set aside in the ‘fridge for about an hour or so. Uncover and taste; add extra mayonnaise if it needs it – I like it lightly dressed not goopy but ultimately it’s your choice.

Pile the heated pork and sauce onto crusty buns, add a generous heaped spoonful of apple slaw and enjoy!  A beer or a few would be a great accompaniment.

* If you own a food processor and have the time or inclination, shred fresh white and red cabbages and carrots to make your own slaw.

Marinated Steak Salad

Marinated Steak Salad

 

Marinated Steak Salad, serves 6

When I first got serious about cooking, The Silver Palate Cookbook became my bible and is still one of my favourites.  This recipe is an adapted version of their Marinated Beef Salad, ironically originally developed as their way to utilize leftover London Broil.

It is a simple but very delicious way to prepare steak and particularly good to serve for a crowd; when sliced, each steak serves 2-3 people.  As much as everyone tells you they are cutting back on red meat, this disappears fast whenever I serve it.  You will need:

Top sirloin steaks, 3, each about 1 ½ inches thick

• Red wine vinegar, ¼ cup

• Soy sauce (I prefer gluten-free), ¼ cup

• Extra Virgin olive oil, ½ cup

• Potatoes, new, 6 large (no need to peel)

• Red onion, peeled and thinly sliced

• Green onions, 1 bunch of 6, trimmed and chopped

• Peppers, 1 red, 1 green, de-seeded and thinly sliced

• Romaine lettuce, 1, washed and patted dry, torn into small pieces

• Vine-ripened cherry tomatoes, 2 vines

• Garlic dressing, 1 cup, recipe to follow

At least an hour before you want to cook the meat, remove the steaks from the fridge, pat them dry and lay them out on a large baking sheet.

Make up the marinade by combining the vinegar, soy sauce and olive oil in a jug; pour over the steaks.  After about 30 minutes, turn the steaks so that both sides are coated in the marinade.

Meantime, cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for about 20 minutes or until just tender; drain then set aside to cool.  When cool, cut into bite-sized pieces.

In a salad bowl large enough to hold the meat, potatoes and salad together, place the cold potatoes, red and green onion, peppers and romaine.

Heat the grill and cook the steaks to medium-rare, or however you like them (it’s a good idea to cook the extra steak to just medium-rare as it can then be reheated without overcooking it).

Let the cooked steaks rest for at least five minutes.  Slice thinly on the diagonal and add to the bowl with the potato and salad vegetables.  Pour over about 1 cup of dressing, toss to combine then heap the salad onto individual plates.  A few quarters of cherry tomatoes (not shown in the photo) make a pretty garnish.

When the extra steak is cold, wrap it up tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Garlic Dressing

• Egg yolk, 1

• Red wine vinegar, 1/3 cup

• Granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon

• Chopped garlic, 2-3 cloves (or more, I like it very garlicky)

• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

• Extra virgin olive oil, 1 cup

Steak Panini, serves 2-4

These make either a great lunch or, served alongside a simple tossed salad, an easy dinner.  I have included a recipe for two versions, both absolutely delicious – choose which one you prefer.

Steak and Mushroom Panini

Steak and Mushroom Panini

Steak and Mushroom Panini

You will need:

• Ciabbatta or baguette (day old works better)

• Leftover cooked top sirloin steak

• Extra virgin olive oil

• Crimini mushrooms, ½ pound, wiped clean and thinly sliced

• Fresh thyme sprigs

• Butter, salted

• Cheddar cheese, thinly sliced

Start by heating a skillet over medium high heat and adding about 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add the mushroom slices, the leaves from 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme and some freshly ground black pepper; cook for about 5 minutes or until the mushrooms have reduced in size and are starting to brown.  Add a small knob of butter and continue to cook until the butter is fully melted and the mushrooms are cooked through; at this point they will be beautifully glossy and shiny. Set aside.

Meantime, pre-heat a panini grill to 400F, or high heat.

Thinly slice the cold steak on the diagonal.

Cut the bread into quarters, then slice each piece in half and lightly butter the crusts.  Lay the bread flat on a chopping board, butter side down, then on one half of each sandwich place the steak – in 2 layers, mushrooms – as many as you can fit on, and a slice of cheddar.  Put the two halves of bread together, press together gently then place on the pre-heated panini grill.  Close the top plate and cook until the bread has toasted and is golden brown, the meat is warmed and the cheese is melted, 3-5 minutes.

Steak Panini with Horseradish Mayo, Tomato & Arugula

Steak Panini with Horseradish Mayo, Tomato & Arugula

Steak Panini with Horseradish Mayo, Tomato & Arugula

For this version you will need ciabatta or baguette, leftover steak, mayonnaise, horseradish, a tomato and some baby arugula.

Mix 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise with one teaspoon of horseradish, spread it liberally on the cut sides of the bread then layer on the sliced steak, slices of tomato and arugula.  Lightly press the two sides together, brush with a little olive oil then place on the pre-heated panini grill.  Close the top plate and cook until the crust is golden brown, the meat is warmed and the arugula is barely wilted, 3-5 minutes.