Tuesday, July 27, 2010

How To: Spruce Up Your Leftovers

Remember that amazing chicken, lemon, and basil dish I made a couple days ago? Well, the next day I needed something hearty and delicious for brunch but I didn't want to eat the same thing twice in such a short time. If you're like my mother, then you loathe eating the same thing two days in a row. She'll make a giant casserole, enchiladas, chicken, you name it; then the next day she'll be making another ridiculously large meal so that she, my dad, and my little brother don't have to eat the same thing two days in a row. My mom does leftovers the smart way, instead of getting sick of your food you give it a break in between meals but you have enough to last you all week ^_^

Back to brunch. I had a few red bell peppers that were just screaming "pick me, pick me!!" from the crisper drawer. I chopped up and froze most of them, but I saved half of one so I could use it for breakfast. I had only grilled half of one chicken breast to go with my pasta for dinner because it was just me; what I did do with the rest of the chicken breast and another whole breast I had was butterfly them so they'd be thin, and then popped them in the oven to bake with a little salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Standing in front of my fridge I searched for all the ingredients that would work with the peppers. I saw: noodles from the night before, chicken, eggs, and my lovely balsamic glaze. Shizzam!! There it was, a simple and quick skillet breakfast. Not only is this a great way to use up leftovers, it's also a smart way to really stretch a buck.

Here's what you'll need:
  • one serving of leftover pasta, rice, cous cous, quinoa, etc.
  • a few chunks of chopped chicken breast, precooked
  • 1/2 of a red bell pepper, sliced
  • one egg
  • teaspoon balsamic glaze
In a lidded pan add half a teaspoon of EVOO and throw in your peppers with a pinch of salt. Cover with lid, over medium heat let the peppers sweat out all their moisture and begin to soften. Once the peppers have their edge gone you can throw in the chicken and pasta, or whatever precooked grain you have handy. Toss in another 1/2 teaspoon olive oil with a pinch of salt and pepper, to taste. Once it's warmed through, push aside and crack an egg directly into the skillet. Fry it up, plate the pasta mix and top with your fried egg. Balsamic glaze is optional here, but I'll show you how it can really kick up a simple dish:

It adds a little bit of life and a whole lot of flavor! Not only did I get one extra meal out of this chicken and pasta, I got two! The day after this I needed something for dinner. I didn't want to do the same as the peppers and egg, but I sure liked the flavor combination. Here's what I came up with:

  I took some more of that leftover chicken, cut it into chunks and tossed it in a skillet just to get a little color on it and warm it through. I took out the chicken, and threw in the leftover noodles along with a little olive oil and red chili pepper flakes. Once the noodles were warm I tossed in 1/2 of the chicken and mixed them together. I made up a quick balsamic vinaigrette for my greens and topped with with the rest of the chicken and two hard boiled eggs, sliced. Voila! Simple, fast (like 10 minutes fast), healthy & delicious! I've been noticing lately I'm not eating nearly enough protein as I should be, which is probably why I've been struggling with my weight a bit and eating too many crappy carbs like packaged foods and candy. I've made an effort now to eat more protein like eggs and chicken, they're lean and simple and most importantly taste great! I kept the flavors of the peppers and eggs from the previous dish, but put a new spin on it!

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Wow it looks so easy to make your old meal awesome again. I'm going to try this with last nights pasta!