last week’s meals

Sunday 10/23 – Sally’s Slow Cooker BBQ Turkey Meatballs, mashed potatoes, and roasted broccoli. This recipe called for Italian dressing and I don’t typically keep premade salad dressing in the house, so instead I stirred together a quick one with red wine vinegar, olive oil, dried oregano, dried parsley, granulated garlic, and frozen basil. This recipe made a lot but they freeze and reheat well. Which is basically money in the bank. My oldest, who is occasionally leery of foods that come with extra sauce, tapped his plate and said “More sauce, please. Uh…actually more than that.” This would be a great football meal, but I was incredibly disappointed that my local CBS was experiencing technical difficulties and would not play my Patriots game for me. So instead I made Christina’s mini pumpkin cakes. I doubled the recipe since that’s how much pumpkin purée I had leftover from last week.

Monday 10/24 – Chicken cordon bleu casserole, rice pilaf, and steamed green beans. This was so, so good. My friend Jaime told me about this meal years ago and I lost her recipe but came up with something similar. This is going in the rotation for sure!

Tuesday 10/25 – Leftover crockpot BBQ Turkey Meatballs, mashed potatoes, and peas. This meal paid DIVIDENDS, folks.

Wednesday 10/26 – Baked ziti and roasted broccoli with parmesan. Pasta is always a winner with my kids, and parmesan is a double winner. A gold medalist? A super-marathon runner?

Thursday 10/27 – We got Panera. One sick kiddo, one sick parent, and one late afternoon dentist appointment equaled no home cooked dinner.

Friday 10/28 – Sausage, sweet potato, kale, and alphabet noodle creamy soup. I was inspired by a recipe I had bookmarked earlier but didn’t look at it while I was cooking. This made a ton but it was easy and delicious. My toddler picked out a few offending items, but my preschooler ate a whole huge bowl, including the kale, and informed me that it was going to help him grow big and strong.

Saturday 10/29 – BBQ baked salmon, steamed broccoli, and wild rice pilaf – I sprinkled a BBQ seasoning blend over a salmon filet (I left a second filet plain for the boys) and baked it at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 16 minutes, until it was cooked through. Meanwhile, I made a wild rice and white rice pilaf that was packed with finely chopped carrots, celery and onions for extra vegetables. We also had steamed broccoli and had a little BBQ sauce for dipping.


why roast a chicken?

All you really need is time and a chicken. Everything else is – heh – gravy.

Personally, I like to roast a big one. Why go through the time and effort (actually… it’s not a lot of effort) without the benefit of lots of leftover cooked chicken? The most obvious thing to do is to make stock with the carcass. This will work no matter how little meat is left after your roast chicken dinner. After denuding the carcass (my nana’s preferred term) I like to pop the whole thing in my slow cooker, add any onion or carrot bits, and a bay leaf, then fill it with water and let it go for twelve hours on low. Let it cool a bit then toss the bones, then filter everything else out. Chill it overnight then scrape off the congealed fat. If needed, I’ll use some for that night’s dinner, then freeze the rest. Some goes in ice cube trays, some in muffin tins, some in approxiately two-cup portions in quart-sized bags that I freeze flat. That way it’s easy to defrost the amount I need. My freezer is pretty jam-packed.

Here are some things you can make with the meat of leftover roast chicken:

  • Chicken noodle soup, avgolemeno (a creamy, lemony Greek chicken noodle soup with dill – amazing), or any of several other soups
  • Chicken and dumplings
  • Creamed chicken on biscuits or chicken a la king
  • Chicken salad or chicken ON salad
  • Chicken pot pie
  • Chicken chili – white or red!
  • Tacos, burritos, burrito bowls, tostadas, enchiladas, empanadas, quesadillas
  • Chicken casseroles – creamy chicken and rice, chicken noodle, chicken cordon bleu-style, buffalo chicken baked ziti
  • Quick stovetop pasta dishes – chicken pot pie pasta, chicken enchilada pasta,
  • Loaded baked potatoes, with barbecue sauce, baked beans, shredded cheddar and sliced green onions
  • As a pizza topping

You can totally go forth and conquer the world through roast chicken! Er, conquer dinnertime.

Then the world!