Tuesday, March 29, 2011

bock bock bock (sound a chicken makes)

One thing I admire the most about old ladies is their ability to stretch a dollar and really make their food last!  They are multifaceted task masters that can turn one yard bird into 50 different meals and make use of all leftovers. These are traits everyone should learn! Not only is it good for your wallet, but you are also cutting your household waste and using your creative mind at the same time.  I have become quite good at this in the past three years of marriage; since I'm often too lazy to go to the store after my usual 9-10 hr work day. I often have to improvise and make due with what's in the fridge. Recently I have discovered these Buy One Get One Free chub packs of chicken breasts at my local grocery store. They come pre-seasoned too, which adds another interesting variable to the mix. I bought one pack of Garlic & Peppercorn seasoned blend, and got the pack of Malibu seasoned chicken for free. These are great because the seasonings are pretty basic and you can use them for just about any purpose your heart desires. Below are three different, easy recipes for chicken that are winners in my household. The first two are made in under 30 minutes...suck it, Rachel Ray ;)

Day 1

Using the Garlic & Peppercorn seasoned breasts, I made Chicken Tortilla soup. The whole thing took about 30 minutes from start to finish. I just kind of winged the recipe, but glad I still remember it, because it's pretty great, if I do say so myself.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1-2 lb chicken breasts, cut into 1" cubes
1/2 cup onion, chopped to desired thickness
1 clove of garlic, pressed
2 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp parsley
1 qt chicken broth
1 small can of tomato paste
2 tbsp masa or corn meal
Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for Toppings (optional)
corn tortillas
sour cream
shredded cheese

In a large pot add onions and olive oil, saute onions on high heat until translucent. Add chicken and garlic, brown chicken until no pink is visible. add cumin, chili powder, and parsely, stir around. Add chicken broth, 1 can of tomato paste and masa or corn meal. Add salt and pepper to taste and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Next chop up your avocado, cilantro, tomatoes, onion and cut up some corn tortillas into strips. You can either fry up your tortilla strips or bake them in the oven until crispy. I fried mine in about 1tbsp of olive oil and let them drain on a paper towel. Now you can set up a Topping Station with your chopped avocado, cheese, sour cream, tortilla strips, diced tomatoes, onions, and cilantro. This way everyone can add whatever toppings they feel like :)

Day 2

The next day, with my left over chicken (I had about 1.5 lbs of chicken left over) I made Chicken Alfredo with a really easy Alfredo sauce that is ridiculously yummy. That took about 20 minutes. If you have leftover sauce you can always make cheesy Alfredo bread or a broccoli in Alfredo sauce....trust me you will want to makes a lot of this sauce, it's pretty damn amazing.

Fettuccine de Chicken Alfredo

Sauteed Chicken
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1-2 lbs chicken breasts, cut into 1" cubes
1 clove of garlic, pressed
1/2 cup shitty white wine you would never drink
Salt and Pepper to taste

Creamy Alfredo Sauce
1 pint heavy whipping cream (Waistline unapproved)
2 tbsp cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp garlic powder
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp of parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste.

Start your pot of boiling water for your noodles.

Heat olive oil over high heat in a medium sized skillet and add onion. Saute until translucent. Add chicken and garlic and white wine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook on high heat until chicken is done. To avoid over cooking your chicken, cook until you can see no pink on the outside of any of your chicken pieces, every couple of minutes after that break open the largest piece and check for pink. When the middle is white, but still juicy, remove from heat. Don't want rubbery chicken!

In a saucepan add cream, cream cheese, butter, garlic, Parmesan cheese and parsley, constantly stir over medium-high heat until cream cheese dissolves and the parm cheese starts to melt. Add salt and pepper to taste (I usually don't add salt since the parm cheese adds enough salt for my taste).Turn down heat to medium, stir frequently for 20 minutes or until your sauce thickens. At ten minutes, add dry fettuccine noodles to your pot of boiling water. Cook to preferred doneness(is that a word?). If you use the fresh fettuccine noodles that you get in the refrigerator section at the store (which I highly recommend) start at 2 minutes.

** don't cook sauce too long after it thickens or your butter will separate from your cream, leaving a curdled looking, greasy mess. I did this once when trying to replicate the Rice a Roni Alfredo noodles. I added my dry noodles to the cooking cream sauce, cooked until noodles were soft, and had the above mentioned grease fest...not pretty or appetizing whatsoever.**

Now you can assemble your plates. I like to keep everything separate, that way I can add more or less chicken to my pasta depending on my mood. Then if I have leftover chicken, I can use it for a salad the next day, and I can use the leftover sauce to put on garlic bread or over broccoli.

Day 3

A few days later, had some extra cream left over so I made another batch of Alfredo sauce, bought some pizza dough, and made Smokey Alfredo Shrimp/Chicken Calazones.  You can use a pizza stone, which works best, or just use a regular baking sheet. Just be careful to line the bottom rack on your stove with  tin foil or another baking sheet so the cheese and juices from the calazones don't drip onto the heating element. (this is from experience in case you were wondering:/)

You don't have to do both chicken and shrimp, I happen to love the little crustaceans, but my hubby can't stand them; which is why I made him a chicken calazone.

Smokey Alfredo Shrimp/Chicken Calazones

Sauteed chicken/shrimp
1/2 cup chopped uncooked bacon or pancetta
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, pressed
1-2lbs chicken or shrimp
Salt and Pepper to taste

Alfredo sauce
See above

Other ingredients
Pizza dough/Pizza crust
1 egg (see below)
Shredded Parmesan cheese

Shredded mozzarella
Chopped, fresh parsley

Cut up your bacon or pancetta into tiny pieces. Saute in your skillet on high heat until juices are running out. If you are using bacon, you may want to pour out the majority of your grease (Save this for your bacon tortillas!). Prosciutto doesn't make much grease, so no need to drain if you are using it. Then add your onions, garlic, and chicken or shrimp. Sprinkle on a light dusting of salt and pepper. Cook chicken until still slightly pink, cook shrimp until  almost all the way pink on the outside. Remove from heat. DON'T EAT, IT'S STILL "RAW"! Cooking your calazone will finish up the cooking process.

I am lucky enough to have a grocery store nearby that sells fresh, raw pizza dough, but if you don't have this luxury and don't have time or energy to make it from scratch, you can buy the pre-made pizza rounds and just make a Smokey Alfredo Chicken/Shrimp Pizza (I won't judge).

On a lightly floured pizza stone or baking sheet shape pizza dough to desired thickness. I usually do this by rolling it into a ball than then pinching in the middle and rotating it while pinching, pretty soon I get a nice circle going. One stretched to desired thickness, center one half on the stone/sheet, so 1/2 of your circle will be hanging over. Arrange toppings on the half of your circle centered on the stone/sheet. Layer cheese, sauce, meat, then another layer of cheese making sure to leave a 1 inch edge for sealing. Top with a light sprinkling of fresh parsley.

Beat one egg in a small bowl. With basting brush, spread egg on entire edge of dough, this will stick your edges together so cheese and sauce doesn't go every where. Fold naked side of dough over the topping side; just over the toppings. Now take your overlapping edge and fold it over and roll tight, and crimp so all edges are sealed. Stab entire length of calazone with a fork multiple times (Good stress reliever). Then baste entire top with egg. This will make a pretty, glossy top to your calazone once it's done baking. Sprinkle with Parsley and Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes, or until crust is done. You can cut off a tiny piece of the edge at 30 minutes to test if it's done if you made a pretty thin crust.

If you are just popping in your pizza on your pre-made crust, just cook for about 10-20 minutes until your cheese is nice and melted and starting to brown at its highest peaks.
Bon appetit!


  1. omigosh. just discovered you. love what i'm seeing here. i'm clicking to follow.

  2. Great blog...very enjoyable
    Just joined

  3. These recipes look great! I'm always on the lookout for left-over chicken recipes.

    By the way - I love the new look!