Leftover Challenge

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I posted this picture to Facebook & Instagram on Monday with the caption: “Just pulled all of these leftovers or soon to expire items out of the fridge and I’m determined to make two new meals. Will post to the blog later in the week with the results.”  So here they are.  As one of my savvy Instagram followers guessed, the hubs made a Chicken Stir Fry for dinner Monday.  On Tuesday morning, B made a Chicken & Rice Stoup.  That is not a typo; I meant stoup, and you’ll read why.

The hubs took the 2 raw chicken breasts, the partial sweet (white) onion, the pepper, zucchini, some carrots, stir-fry sauce and one box of take-out rice.  To that, he added garlic, fresh ginger, another half of a sweet onion (from our onion basket), cilantro left over from dinner guests over the weekend that I completely forgot was in the fridge (good thing he checked!) and he filled the rest of the stir-fry sauce bottle with this homemade teriyaki sauce we love and shook it all together (FYI – I do not add the cornstarch and the ¼ cup of water to the teriyaki sauce cuz the hubs does not like cornstarch.  Tastes the same, just doesn’t get thick.).

He sliced and diced everything, including the chicken breasts, and then I stole ⅓ of his ginger/garlic.  😀  He salted and peppered the chicken and cooked it in sesame oil in our wok.  Removed chicken and cooked veggies in the same wok – carrots, pepper and onions first and when they were almost done, he added in zucchini and mushrooms (that he begged me to go get from the store for him.  Which I did, cuz he’s really sexy and he was cooking for me!  He also texted me when I was in the store and asked for a can of water chestnuts.  Always nice to have a little crunch in your stir fry!).

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After meat and veggies were cooked, he added and heated more sesame oil and then pressed the container of rice into the wok to get warm and flavored.  He said was going to add a scrambled egg, but I didn’t see any in my bowl.  I also found the can of water chestnuts, unopened on the counter, when I cleaned up the kitchen after dinner.  He forgot to put them in.  My scatterbrainedness is rubbing off on him – poor guy!  Once rice was too his liking, he put meat and veggies back in wok, tossed, added in the sauce, tossed, served up and added chopped, fresh cilantro as a garnish to his and my bowls!  No cilantro for B, thank you very much.  It was, like all of the hubs stir fries, AWESOME!

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While the hubs had been furiously chopping all the veggies, raw chicken, garlic and ginger for his stir fry, I was chopping myself for a chicken and rice stoup.  From the ingredients in the top pic of this post, I took the baggie with the chicken thighs the hubs had smoked on the grill, celery, carrots, red onion and the other box of rice.  I realized that the waaaay too pungent odor of the red onion meant that it was past it’s prime and should not go into my dish and with shame and sadness, I tossed it.  I then grabbed the other half of the onion that the hubs took from our onion basket and didn’t use in the stir fry.

I removed and tossed the skin from the chicken thighs, diced the meat, placed it in the bottom of a tupperware container and covered it with a piece of plastic wrap.  Then I diced up sweet onion, carrots and celery and placed them in the same tupperware container on top of the plastic wrap.  Why the plastic wrap, you say?  Because the next day, when B made the stoup, it was easy to remove all the veggies from the container without taking meat with them nor having to pick out the bottom layer of veggies from among the meat.  I also put a little glass bowl in the container with the garlic and ginger I stole from the hubs, added the cover and popped in the fridge for the next day.  I know what you’re thinking: “You are brilliant!”  Thank you.  I have my moments.  They are few and far between but I do, occasionally, have them.

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While getting the tupperware container Tuesday morning, B found 2 opened boxes of chicken stock in the fridge and pulled them out.  He also got out the Wegmans Basting Oil and a pot.  He heated approx a tablespoon of basting oil in the pot.  How did he know the oil was hot enough?  After a minute, he wet the tips of his fingers at the kitchen faucet and then flicked some water droplets into the oil.  He knew it was ready by the height and loudness of the water droplets sizzling because his mama taught him that.  🙂  In went the onions, carrot and celery and he sautéed them for 7 – 8 minutes.  Then he added the garlic and ginger and stirred constantly while they cooked, but didn’t burn, for 2 more minutes.

He announced that all the basting oil had ben absorbed by the veggies and, before adding the chicken, he needed to add a smidge more oil. And by “smidge”, I mean that the bottle got away from him and the oil dumped in.  That’s alright, that’s alright, the finished product has a nice sheen of oil slick on top that adds to the flavor and “beauty” of the dish.  😉  While he added the diced chicken thighs and heated them through, I dumped ½ of a box of take-out rice into a bowl and broke it up with a spoon.

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He added the stock to the pan and brought to a boil before adding and heating the rice.  There was not as much stock in those 2 containers as I had thought, but I didn’t want to open up a new one.  So, I declared the Chicken & Rice Soup to now be Stoup.  It’s a word used by Rachel Ray to describe a soup that is hearty enough or thick enough to be a stew.  B’s creation did not have much liquid and so we improvised in the kitchen.  That is what I love about cooking – it is an Art, up for change and interpretation by the artist.  Baking is not my favorite thing to do because it is a Science.  You can’t constantly tweak baking recipes based on what you do or do not have on hand because certain ingredients and amounts are non-negotiable.  They perform chemical reactions to get the desired, and more specifically an edible, end result!  We tasted his stoup and decided the smokiness of the chicken was a bit overpowering.  We added some pepper and salt, which balanced the dish and allowed the flavors of the stock and veggies to come out.

IMG_20141107_094319  And here is B’s end result!  I put some in a mug this morning, added some water from the tap and heated it up in the microwave.  Look at the beautifully shiny circles of basting oil sitting on top!  When I was done eating my stoup, my lips were so soft from that oil, I won’t need to apply lip gloss today.  😀  I love the dark flakes from the smoked chicken thighs!

I hope you are inspired to create new dishes from your leftovers and soon to expire kitchen items!  I have other posts on here about using leftovers.  If you are interested in seeing more, just search “leftovers”.

 

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