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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.

Soft Fruit- What to Do with It All?

This is part 2 of a two-part series. Find part 1 here.

I bought such beautiful fruits, but a good portion of them became too soft to enjoy before we could finish eating them. I am loathe to throw them out; however, there is not enough for me to make a fruit soup out of them. Any ideas about what else I can do with it all?

Another idea I find works very well for soft puréed fruit is to simply make healthful muffins out of them. Here’s a muffin
ratio I use all the time, and whatever choice of fruits I use to bake these with, they’re always appreciated:

Fruity Whole-Wheat Muffins

Ingredients

3 eggs
1 ½ cups light brown sugar
3 cups light whole-wheat flour
1 cup oil
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups puréed fruit

Method

Beat the eggs in your mixer, no need to separate them. Add in everything else in the order listed, except the fruit. You should have a nice thick batter that is still pourable.

Pour in the puréed fruit and swirl it in by hand with a spatula. Line a muffin tray with paper muffin cups, and fill each one with batter until nearly the top. If you like, you can sprinkle some cinnamon and sugar on top of each one. Bake for 18–20 minutes until they test done. Remove from the oven immediately. These freeze well, and they make a very nice, easy lunch, together with some fresh vegetables and cottage cheese.

The muffins also make a great, nutritious lunchbox treat, just in time for the back-to-school season!

Soft Fruit- What to Do with It All?

This is part 1 of a two-part series. Find part 2 here.

I bought such beautiful fruits, but a good portion of them became too soft to enjoy before we could finish eating them. I am loathe to throw them out; however, there is not enough for me to make a fruit soup out of them. Any ideas about what else I can do with it all?

Yes, it can be rather upsetting to see our produce go to waste.

Here are some ideas for your soft fruits:
Wash the fruits and take out any pits. Purée them in your food processor or blender. Using a measuring cup with a spout, pour the puréed fruit into ice cube trays. Freeze until solid.

Now you have several options for using this fruit:

1. These make perfect “ice cubes” for cold fruit shakes or cold fruit drinks. When they defrost, they won’t make your shake
watery the way ordinary melted ice cubes do.

2. These cubes make great non-dairy fruit shakes. Put four them at a time into your blender, together with 2 cups of any
fruit juice of your choice, then blend. To make the shake thicker, add one frozen banana, cut into chunks, before blending.

3. Your family can enjoy the frozen fruit cubes as they are; they make a refreshing (and healthful!) treat in hot weather.
However, if you are going to use them as ice pops, I suggest tasting before you freeze them. Sometimes the fruit can become
rather tart when blended. If so, add date syrup (or sugar) according to taste and then freeze. You can put a toothpick into
each cube for easier handling when you want to remove them later on. Or splurge on popsticks, found in all craft stores.

4. You can make fro-yo ice pops out of them. Add some honey and then mix with plain, non-sugary white yogurt. Taste to
ensure the mixture is sweet enough, and then freeze in ice pop containers. These make a great and healthful frozen snack
during the hot summer months.

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