Saturday, August 20, 2011

When Leftovers Become the Main Course

Being the frugal scavenger that I am, I hate to waste anything that I paid hard-earned money for, and I hate to see other people do it. My mother is the worst about wasting food; she'll stock up at the grocery store, and leave the majority of her purchases half-eaten, or untouched, rotting in the refrigerator.
I decided to take it upon myself to raid her cabinets during my most recent visit, and make use of what little she had. I think this may be of use to some of you, as it can extend your groceries, and if you are like me and love to cook, you should have most of these spices on hand (much of this you can also substitute with a little creativity, and "Googling").
The first meal I prepared was Parmesan Crusted Chicken Breasts with a bit of lemon zest. They were incredibly easy to make, and took very few ingredients. The recipe I went with goes as follows:
1/4C. flour
1/4C. dry bread crumbs
1/2tsp. salt
A clove or two of minced garlic
1 egg
1/2C. shredded Parmesan cheese
2 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
1Tbsp olive oil
A couple pinches of lemon zest

Combine the dry ingredients in one bowl, beat the egg in another, and pour the parmesan in a third bowl. Dip chicken in flour mixture, then egg, and then in the Parmesan. Brown chicken on both sides in oil, and then transfer to a baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 to 25 minutes.

It turned out beautifully if I do say so myself! The second recipe I whipped up was a copy of the ever-famous D'Amico & Sons Turkey Pasta Salad. I used leftover (but still edible) chicken my mother had in the fridge. It's the dry, light, meat that no one ever seems to want. I didn't have all the ingredients, and I don't particularly like dried fruit in my dishes, so I left a couple of things out. The recipe for this goes as follows:

7-8oz. Rotini
1-1.5C. diced chicken
1C. slivered almonds
1/2 onion, diced

Poppy-Seed Dressing:
1/4C. Powdered Sugar
1Tbsp. champagne vinegar
1C. mayo
1Tbsp poppy seeds
1Tbsp cold water
1tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Cook noodles per instructions on the box (I like mine a little al dente for this recipe). Combine dressing ingredients, and chill. When the pasta is finished, run under cold water; add dressing, almonds, and chicken. I went ahead and threw in a handful of leftover shredded mozzerela that I doubted would find much use otherwise, and it added a nice flavor as well. Oh! How I love kitchen experiments.

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