Leftover Chicken- Not Again!
I have several little packages of leftover chicken pieces from various different chicken meals all over my freezer. I am loathe to throw them out, yet I don’t like them cluttering up my freezer. But if I attempt to seve them, my kids will cry “Ugh, Mommy, not those leftovers again!” And then I will have warned them up for nothing. Any ideas what to do with it all?
Yes, I do have ideas about how to deal with such a situation. It is representative of a general problem many of us face: we don’t want to waste food and keep spending money on more when there is perfectly good food somewhere in the freezer, but we don’t know how to use it in a way that will entice our families to eat it.
Here are two ideas I’ve tried when I had enough leftovers to combine, and they went over really well with my entire family. In addition, it made me feel so good to know that the food not only got used up (finally!), but more importantly, it did not go to waste. And the added benefit was all that extra freed-up freezer space!
Idea 1: Chicken Potato Pie
These instructions are sufficient for a 9×13 roasting pan:
Boil about 10 medium-sized potatoes. When they are soft, drain and mash them, adding some oil, salt and pepper to taste. Spray the bottom of the pan, and spread half the potato mixture into it. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C before going on to the next step.
Take all the chicken off the various bones you have amassed. Cut up these chicken pieces into smaller pieces; they should measure about 4–5 cups of diced chicken pieces. If you want to get fancy, dice one onion and sauté it in a bit of oil. Add the chicken pieces, and some leftover chicken sauce to the pan with the onions. Stir it all together over a small flame until it is a bit bubbly. Turn off the flame.
Spread this chicken mixture over your mashed potatoes in the pan. If you like your “pie” with more “filling,” remember to add more chicken pieces to it the next time you do this. Top the chicken layer with the rest of the mashed potatoes.
You can make the chicken pie look nicer by creating lines on the top of it with the tines of a fork. Sprinkle paprika over the top and spray it with a bit more oil. Slide the pan into the hot oven and bake for 25–30 minutes.
While this bakes, set your table, cut a fresh salad or a fresh vegetable platter and put that out first. Create some mushroom sauce for the pie. Then serve the pie and spoon some sauce over each person’s portion. You won’t have any leftover chicken pieces from this one!
Idea 2: Chicken Patties
My daughter did this for us and they came out fantastic. They make a great fleishig lunch-onthe-go, or a nice dinner, coupled with a salad or even served on buns with lettuce, and slices of onion and tomato.
Cut up the chicken pieces into small pieces. This ratio works for approximately 4 cups of chicken pieces: Add 4 eggs, 1 cup of breadcrumbs, a dash of pepper, ½ teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons mustard, and 2 tablespoons ketchup. Mix this together; it should be a thick, wet mixture by now.
Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C. Cover a baking tray with oil spray. Form small patties out of this mix and lay them down
on the tray. Don’t flatten them too much, as they are nicer and tastier when they have a bit of body to them. When the tray is full (you can place them one next to the other as they are not going to rise at all), spray them lightly on top and bake them for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve with rice or burger rolls and fresh vegetables. If handy, offer vegetable soup.
Enjoy using your leftover chicken in creative ways! If you have more original recipes or uses for your leftover chicken, I would love to hear from you.