Land of Leftovers

There's something downright special about the smell of a carefully prepared chicken roasting on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Add to the mix a batch of your favorite roasted garlic mashed potatoes, some steamed fresh asparagus and warmed dinner rolls and you've practically got a scene right out of a Norman Rockwell painting. And why shouldn't you? A well-roasted bird is bound to make the faces around your dinner table absolutely beam! And, what's more, if you plan things a little, you can see those same faces smiling during the rushed evenings in the week ahead too.

The recipes in this month's column are devoted to the art of roasted chicken. The first recipe is my favorite, simple recipe for roasting a six pound chicken. The ones that follow take the leftovers from that meal -- and, believe me, there will be leftovers unless you are feeding an army or a group of starving people -- and transform them into unique meals that are sure to banquish any complaints of "Chicken ... again?"

Here's our special selection of recipes for stretching a roasted chicken, including the original roasting recipe, of course:

  • Sunday's Roasted Chicken
  • Oriental Noodle Bowl
  • Chili-Tator Casserole
  • Farfalle with Asparagus and Chicken

As always, I look forward to hearing from you about your recipe ideas and comments. You can always post comments in the discussion board using the form provided at the end of this article or email me directly at . And now, on to the recipes ...

Sunday's Roasted Chicken

This simple recipe is best achieved with the help of a probe thermometer that alerts you when the internal temperature you desire has been reached. They're handy around the kitchen for many tasks and can be found at many department stores for around $30.
  • 1 6 lb. roasting chicken, thawed
  • 2-3 T. seasoning (choose your favorite -- I like the Northwoods Seasoning from Penzeys Spices)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Starting at the neck cavity, carefully press your fingers between the skin and the meat of the chicken. Continue this procedure along the entire breast and thighs of the chicken. Using your fingers, rub your choice of seasoning all along the pockets you've created. Tie the legs of the chicken together with kitchen string and place the bird, breast side up, on a broiler pan.

Insert the probe of a digital thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh and attach the other end of the cord to the digital display. Set the temperature alert on the digital display to 180 degrees.

Place the broiler pan into the preheated oven, making sure that the cord of the probe reaches out of the oven and is still attached to the digital display. Roast until the thermometer reaches 180 degrees. Remove the bird and tent with aluminum foil for 10 minutes. Then, remove the skin and carve.

If you do not have a digital thermometer as described above, you can use another kitchen thermometer, but you will have to open the oven door to check the temperature every 15-20 minutes after the first hour of roasting and the total time for roasting will be longer.

  • Yields: 1 roasted chicken (12+ servings)
  • Preparation Time: 2-3 hours

Oriental Noodle Bowl

This recipe is inspired by noodle bowls served in Thailand. It gets its heat from the red curry paste. If you like it spicy, feel free to add a little more to the broth!
  • 3 c. chicken broth
  • 2 T. soy sauce
  • 1 ginger root, chopped into small pieces & placed in a tea ball or cheesecloth
  • 1/4 tsp. red curry paste
  • 1 T. sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 c. fresh snow peas
  • 1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 4 oz. shitake mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 c. roasted chicken, shredded
  • 4 oz. whole wheat angel hair pasta, cooked and drained

In a medium saucepan, combine the chicken broth, soy sauce, ginger root and red curry paste. Bring to a simmer; cook for 10 minutes. Remove the tea ball and keep the broth warm.

Meanwhile, heat the sesame oil over high heat in a 10-inch skillet. Add the garlic, snow peas and red bell pepper. Stir-fry for 3-4 minutes or until the vegetables are crisp-tender. Add the mushrooms and chicken and continue stir-frying until the mushrooms are softened and the chicken is warmed. Add the prepared pasta to the skillet and mix to combine.

To serve, spoon one cup of the stir-fry into a bowl and add enough broth to almost cover the stir-fry. Serve immediately.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Chili-Tator Casserole

This casserole is truly stick-to-your-ribs comfort food. It's a twist on another favorite of mine: chili-topped baked potatoes. It takes advantage of four types of leftovers: chili, mashed potatoes, roasted chicken and the crumbs from the bottom of your tortilla chip bag.
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 c. prepared chili
  • 1 c. roasted chicken, shredded
  • 3 c. mashed potatoes (I usually make extra potatoes on Sunday to have on hand for this dish)
  • 4 oz. 1/3 fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 c. crushed tortilla chips

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Carefully spread the chili over the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the shredded chicken over the chili.

Mix the mashed potatoes and cream cheese together and then spread that over the chicken and chili.

Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and sprinkle the crushed tortilla chips over the top of the mashed potatoes. Return to the oven for 5-10 minutes or until the top of the casserole is golden.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes

Farfalle with Asparagus and Chicken

This light meal is a perfect one-dish dinner when things get rushed. Orange zest can be substituted for the lemon zest.
  • 6 oz. whole wheat farfalle pasta
  • 1 c. chicken broth
  • 4 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/4 c. chopped green onions
  • Cooking spray
  • 3/4 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup roasted chicken, shredded

Prepare the pasta according to the package directions and drain. In a screw-top jar, combine the chicken broth, cornstarch, lemon zest and green onions. Shake to thoroughly combine.

Meanwhile, heat the cooking spray over high heat in a 10-inch skillet. Add the asparagus and red bell pepper. Stir-fry for 3-4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add the roasted chicken and mix to combine. Add the contents of the screw-top jar and mix well to coat. Add the drained pasta and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes