Saturday, February 21, 2009

Making every little bit count!

In this hellish economy, you just have to make the most of everything you buy, especially when it comes to food! I am not a fan of cheap pre-packaged foods, nor am I a fan of wasting food. So, I thought I would share how I make 1 Costco rotisserie chicken into at least 4 meals to feed a family of four.

Meal 1: Chicken Pastini
Begin by boiling the water and starting your noodles (I use about 3/4 of a 12 oz. package, enough to fill a decent sized oval baking dish) preferably curly noodles or even bow-tie. Start tearing into that chicken and use about one half of ONE breast and alot of dark meat from one side of the chicken, cube into small pieces. Saute red bell peppers, onions and garlic, (mushrooms are good too) in a large pan, then once they're tender add the chicken, one 14 1/2 oz can of diced tomatoes (with juice), about 1/2 - 1 small can of tomato sauce, salt and pepper to taste and some fresh or dried parsley to taste. Once the noodles are done, mix pasta with the chicken and veggie sauce. Mix in about 1/2-1 cup mozzarella cheese. Put into a baking dish (about 2.8 L), sprinkle with bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and dot with a little butter. Bake for about 20-30 min. on 400*.

Serve with broccoli or a salad, YUM! This dish feeds my family one dinner and usually has enough left over for hubby to take to work the next day!

Meal 2: Chicken and black bean quesadillas
Chop up the rest of the first chicken breast and a bit of the dark meat. Lay out about 4-6 tortillas, sprinkle with cheddar or monterey jack, or both, open one can of black beans, drain and rinse, and put a couple of spoonfuls of beans over the cheese, add some chicken, and a little more cheese (if you're feeling spunky a little Rotel is good too). Fold in half and bake in a 425* oven for a couple of minutes, until the cheese is melty and tortillas are lightly crispy. Serve with salsa or fresh guacamole!

Meal 3: Chicken Salad
Use about 1/2 of the SECOND chicken breast, chop into small pieces. Add chopped celery, onion (green onions are super yummy, but regular onions work just fine), apple, halved grapes, slivered almonds and chopped cilantro (VERY important ingredient, makes the dish so fresh and luscious!). Add a yogurt to desired consistency. If you like, you can add a bit, just a bit, of Miracle Whip to give it a little kick, but it's not necessary. Serve on iceburg lettuce cups, or fresh bread or wheat crackers! The nice thing about this recipe is it is so full of other ingredients you really don't need to use that much of your chicken, yet it is completely satisfying!

Meal 4: Sante Fe Chicken Skillet
Pick the rest of the meat off the chicken, cut into cubes. Saute thinly sliced or small cubed potatoes, green bell pepper, onion and Hatch green chile (if you have it) in olive oil cook until tender. (If you're using HOT green chiles like I do, cut them up and leave them to the side to add later if your kids are whimpies like mine!) Add the chicken to saute, just to get hot, remove it all to a plate and keep in a warm oven. Start frying eggs. We like ours over medium. Add a bit of the potato and chicken mixture to a plate, put a fried egg on top, then sprinkle with cheddar or monterey jack cheese. Cut up the egg, so the yolk runs over the rest of the goods, add a bit of Tabasco and ENJOY!

Now, if you're really industrious, toss the carcass into water and boil it to get broth! Then it could lead to at least a portion of meal #5! So there you have it, 4+ meals from one Costco rotisserie chicken! Cheers!

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