Land of Leftovers

December might not seem like the ideal month for grilling, especially if you're hailing from frigid Wisconsin. However, that's never stopped me! Not that the cold weather doesn't affect my grilling experience. When I grill during the winter months, I tend to prepare more food than I'll need for one meal. After all, the special flavor of grilled foods is an especially welcomed treat during the winter months and I want to be able to enjoy it for more than one night. So, when I grill chicken -- for example -- I'll prepare a couple of pounds, even if the meal I'm making only calls for one lonely boneless, skinless chicken breast half.

The recipes presented in this month's article are all derived from a single Citrus-Grilled Chicken recipe. To keep things simple, an easy marinade is poured over frozen chicken and then the whole package is thawed/marinated in the refrigerator while life goes on for about 24 hours. Then it's time to grill them and use them over the course of a week in some great recipes ranging from a hearty stew to an elegant salad to a quick pizza. No need to worry about monotony. An unusual combination of ingredients and quick techniques insures that you won't become bored by the end of the week.

Feel free to try this month's selection of recipes as is or add some touches of your own. I also encourage you to share your leftover recipe ideas and comments. You can always post comments in the discussion board using the forms provided in the articles or email me directly at . Enjoy!

Citrus-Grilled Chicken

I like to put individually frozen chicken breast halves in a zip top bag the night before I intend to serve them and pour the marinade right in with them. The next evening, the chicken is already thawed and marinated and ready to grill!
  • 2/3 c. orange juice
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 3 T. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 T. honey
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves -- frozen

In a screw top jar, combine the first 6 ingredients (orange juice through pepper). Shake vigorously to combine. Place the frozen chicken breast halves in a zip top bag and pour the marinade over them. Refrigerate overnight. In the morning, turn the bag and continue refrigerating.

In the evening, prepare the grill. Grill the chicken breast halves over medium coals until cooked through. There will be no pink remaining in the center of each chicken breast half.

  • Yields: 6 chicken breast halves
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes, plus refigeration time

Chicken Salad with Smoked Gouda and Apples

Once the chicken has been grilled, this salad becomes exceptionally simple to prepare. You can use any cooked, shredded chicken in place of the grilled chicken.
  • 6 c. torn spinach
  • 1 medium sweet apple, sliced
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 citrus-grilled chicken breast half, shredded
  • 2 oz. shredded smoked gouda cheese
  • Low fat dressing -- choose your favorite variety

On two plates, evenly arrange the spinach, apple, red onion and chicken. Sprinkle the two salads with the smoked cheese and drizzle with your favorite salad dressing. Serve immediately.

  • Yields: 2 servings
  • Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Chicken, Zucchini and Mushroom Pizza

If you don't have ripe tomatoes on hand, canned tomato sauce can be used as a base for this simple pizza instead.
  • 2 ripe Roma tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 prepared pizza crust -- like Boboli
  • 1 citrus-grilled chicken breast half, sliced thinly
  • 4 oz. mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 oz. shredded cheese -- choose your favorite variety

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

In a food processor, combine the tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper. Process until a smooth sauce is formed. Spread the sauce evenly over the prepared pizza crust. Layer the remaining ingredients over the crust and bake on a pizza pan for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Chicken and White Bean Stew

This hearty stew is a great way to use convenience items like canned beans, bottled roasted peppers and prewashed spinach. It's a great mid-week pick-me-up.
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 red onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 1 small zucchini, cut into chunks
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 can white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 citrus-grilled chicken breast halves, shredded
  • 1 bottle roasted red peppers (7oz.), drained and sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 c. spinach, torn

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Coat it with cooking spray and add the onion, zucchini, garlic, salt and pepper. Saute until the vegetables are crisp-tender. Add the beans and chicken and mix to combine. Add the red peppers and spinach and cover the skillet with a lid. Cook for 1 minute and remove the lid. Mix the stew to evenly distribute the ingredients. Serve immediately with crusty bread.

  • Yields: 4-6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes