I’ve been experimenting with chicken left-overs recently, turkey too. Basically once I roast a chicken or turkey, I save the left-over meat and drippings. (You could also use a rotisserie chicken from the store leftovers…)
FFD Creamy Chicken over rice
1 leek (or onion)
2 stalks celery (mushrooms if you have them)
1/4 cup sherry or white wine
2 Tbspn butter
2 Tbns flour (or so)
chicken broth 1-2 cups or so…
1/2 cup evaporated whole milk (or half and half)
1 cup frozen peas and/or corn
So, I chop the celery, carrots and onion finely and sautee in a Dutch Oven or a deep pan with a lid in about a Tbspn of butter and a Tbspn of olive oil. I cook on medium about 10 minutes adding the sherry about half way through, don’t burn. Then I combine the flour and some broth and stir into a paste. I pour this in and mix it with the veggies and cook a few minutes to get rid of some of the flour taste. Then I dump in the left-over chicken, the pan dripping from the chicken (can remove the fat on top since it’s firm from being in the fridge. The dripping will be almost like jello from a roast chicken…) Stir in the extra butter. Simmer for 20 minutes or so until thickened, add as little or as much broth as you like. Stir in the evaporated milk or half and half. Add the frozen peas and corn and heat through to simmering again. Serve over rice! (I have punched up the chicken flavor by stirring in some chicken flavored broth paste or a half a Knorr chicken cube…)
How does the process work? I had initially made a chicken dumpling dish with a recipe that was awesome, and now I just wing it. We have really enjoyed this with rice and at times roast potatoes. I was getting a little bored so I thought I would make a “pot pie.” I didn’t grow up eating this, and wanted to try something easy. I used an Immaculate Kitchen tube of cresent rolls and unrolled tham on the pies, baked at 350 for 30 minutes. It was “meh.” Wouldn’t make it again, but fun to experiment! They were a little soggy on the bottom, and I much preferred it with rice.
I recently made a miso-glazed salmon that was also – “meh” -much prefer my maple/dijon glaze. Also did a Thai cold noodle salad that I didn’t love, but my dh and M LOVED it. M had it cold in the thermos the next day for lunch and said it was “so good.” Gotta perfect that one! I searched for a recipe, then winged it with fish sauce, sugar, a tiny bit of soy, rice wine vinegar and cilantro… close… On the first try, I almost always follow the recipe to a T. (An exception is sesame oil. I find most recipes WAY overdo sesame oil so I halve it and add from there…) About a third of the time I try something new I love it and add it to the repertoire, the rest of the time, D usually says, “This is really good!” and he looks at my face and says, “I’m never going to see this again, am I?” Not unless he cooks it
A few thoughts about experimenting. It’s fun, but I have to be in the mood. I tend to go weeks or months not trying anything new and then get a bug and try several new ones in a week. I think trying to force yourself to try one new recipe a week or some other goal can take the fun out of it. (What do you think?) I recognize how tough it is to experiment with food, particularly pricey ingredients like meats, seafood and fresh fruits and veggies when money is an issue. I recently threw out whole pan of food that came out pretty gross where the meat alone was almost $10… It’s a shame, and it’s not even an option for many. Think about it, if food is scarce, you’re darn well going to make it in a way that is familiar, filling and reliable.
Feeding tips with new foods
Making new foods if you have a picky eater is also tricky. Many of my clients say they have limited what the family eats to the least common denominator– foods the pickiest kid will readily eat. Trying new foods feels risky, but is a key part to getting back to satisfying family meals and helping your picky eater by exposing him to the foods the family eats– he can learn to like them. Remember if you are serving something new, also serve something familiar. Does your picky eater like corn? Serve the above stew and cook the corn on the side, serve with bread, maybe a pudding or fruit for dessert. Even adventurous children might not try a new food the first time they see it. Remember that seeing it, smelling it, watching you eat it, all in a pleasant setting free from pressure is learning. M even now will refuse a food, or say it looks “yucky” the first time. After I reassure her she doesn’t have to try it, but she can’t say “yucky,” she serves herself some of the other food, watches her father and I eat it, and often a few minutes later is serving herself a portion. We don’t do a big sales pitch, maybe just describe it, “it tastes really chickeny and is creamy.” Remember to have a paper napkin on hand so your child (and you) can spit out a new food if they taste but don’t want to swallow. For almost-toddlers and toddlers this is also a great stew. Mash up the pieces a little, pull apart the chicken into appropriate sizes. The sauce can help with the meats which are often tough if too dry. Got a toddler in their picky phase where they don’t want things to “touch?” Use a compartmentalized plate, and serve some chicken in one area, some rice in another, and some carrots or peas somewhere else.
What do you experiment with? Do you always use recipes? How did you learn to cook? Do you do a “supper-club” to try new recipes? (I always thought that would be fun for family friendly recipes to have a pot-luck, bring recipe cards, include the kids…)