Continuing our series of Roast Chicken on Sunday means easy tasty meals for the week… This is day 4 and we are using the remaining Day 2’s Chicken Tomatillo Soup of which we made a big batch. With the help of onions, potatoes and corn, we are going to transform it into a robust, flavorful, unusual and mostly meatless chowder that’s perfect for a cool fall night. Yes folks, there is still some late corn out there – if you can’t find it, just use frozen corn.
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Continuing our series of Roast Chicken on Sunday means easy tasty meals for the week… This is day 3 and we are using one cooked breast from our Roast Chicken. You can still make this stir-fry using an an uncooked chicken breast. You just need to stir fry it longer to ensure it’s cooked through, before adding back the vegetable.
The idea behind stir-fry is to use what you have. Pick 3 or 4 vegetable with contrasting colors, that remain firm when cooked (not tomatoes), that cook quickly (not potatoes) and that do not “bleed” (not beetroot). I picked yellow beans, broccoli florets and red Italian peppers (in addition to onion), because they made a pretty colorful plate, and I had all of them on hand. Other choice at this time of the year might be: corn, green beans and orange bell peppers. Or green bell pepper, shredded cabbage and julienned carrots… you get the idea.
When making stir-fry, it’s important to have all the ingredients trimmed and cut to size, i.e. ready to go into the pot – that, by the way is called “Mise en place” in restaurant lingo - because each ingredients cooks fast. It’s also important to cut/slice/dice each ingredient into the same size to ensure even cooking. Finally, while a wok is nice, it’s not necessary: a cast iron skillet (which is what I use) works just as well. However, do not overcrowd the pan, or the result will be steamed ingredients, not stir-fried. Much better to cook in small batches! Each ingredient is first cooked separately, and set aside. Finally everything is added back to the pan with the seasoning liquid and cooked for a couple of minutes.
Fall Rainbow Stir Fry Read more
I love visiting other people’s gardens and tasting food they cook from their garden. So when I went to visit Pat D.’s garden in Castleton, VA, I was in for a treat. She asked me to stay for lunch, and served a most intriguing Tomatillo Chicken soup: pale green, slightly sour with a hint of heat, it was very pleasant. I, of course, requested the recipe since tomatillos are now behaving almost like a weed in my garden – albeit a welcomed one – as they pop everywhere. Pat said she got the recipe from the internet years ago when she was trying to figure what to do with all those tomatillos. Her husband Ed has been making the soup ever since and they both love it. The original recipe called for 2 chicken breasts that one has to pound and then sautéed. I thought left over from a roast chicken – especially dark meat – would work even better. And it did. Pat’s recipe did not called for any spice, I added some coriander seeds. My recipe has less meat than hers (feel free to add more to your taste) and is also thicker. Remember, we are using meat from the chicken roasted on Sunday.
When I am really busy, I don’t always have the time to cook from scratch everyday (and frankly, sometimes I don’t have the energy!). Yet, we eat well. One of my strategies is to cook something purposefully large on the week-end, and reuse it during the week, but in such a manner that the weekly meals do not feel like “leftovers”. I don’t think there is anything wrong with leftovers, but apparently, for many people, it a bad word. Chicken is the ideal meat for that – being so versatile. As an aside, this strategy also saves money: it’s cheaper to buy a whole chicken and cut-it up; you’ll eat less meat and more vegetables; you won’t give-in in buying take-out (or going out) out since you’ll have meals planned for the whole week!
In late summer, early fall, I want to take advantage of tomatoes, peppers, beans, tomatillos and other seasonal veggies. So a week of dinner menus based on that one chicken might look like this:
- Sunday: Roast Chicken
- Monday: Tomatillo-chicken Soup
- Tuesday: Fall Rainbow Stir Fry
- Wednesday: Tex-Mex Chowder
- Thursday: Fajitas
- Friday: Pizza
- Saturday:… oh well, you are on your own!
How does it work? Read more