A Creative Use of Leftovers

Redman loves rice, all kinds. Yellow rice and peas especially. But what can you do with the rest of it two days later? Or any kind of leftover rice/pea or rice/bean dish?

You can mix 2 or 3 eggs into it, form into patties and fry them up. They go well on top of a salad, or on the side of soup. Served with steamed broccoli and fennel-celery slaw, it all makes for a very nice vegetarian meal.

Speaking of which, some of you have asked if I am striving towards more vegetarian fare. I'm not, although it is a healthier way of eating and I get a lot of good ideas from the Moosewood Cookbook, and also from Stacey Snacks, who has her Meatless Mondays. We're not shy about eating meat around here, but Jeeps and I are pretty in sync about when we need to pull back and go with the plant life. When my vegetable garden is in full swing, we definitely eat less meat.

By the way, the rice-and-pea patties were the perfect vehicle for pickled red onions. Even Pandagirl tried them in combination and liked them.

Chicken Not Pie

Behold last night's dinner:

There's a Boston Market not far from Panda's dance studio, and what's great is you can go to the Boston Market Website and order ahead of time, and it will be there waiting for you when you arrive for pick-up. It's a beautiful thing.

I always get a second chicken because I like to have it around for lunch the next day (or breakfast, but I'm weird that way). But with one thing and another and a four-hour training class, I didn't nibble at it much so I had a lot to use for dinner. But what exactly to do with it?

Of course. Chicken Pot Pie. There's a recipe for it in one of my cookbooks and AND! How awesome is this, there is a package of frozen puff pastry in my refrigerator! Madame von Prepared! HAH! Stuff like this never works out for me, I rarely have something like that on hand... Um... How long has this box been in here anyway? I don't remember. Does puff pastry go bad? (Opening box, tearing open packet)

Um, yeah it does.


OK. OK. There's another box in the freezer. How long does it take to defrost?  40 minutes.  40 minutes...OK, I can wait 40 minutes. I really want to make this. It's gonna be great.


I stop and think about chicken pot pie. Think about putting individual, pastry-topped bowls in front of each kid. What are they going to do. Really. I know my spawn. They're going to peel off the pastry, sniff and pick at it, and not eat it. Who am I kidding? I put the box back in the freezer. I will make chicken pot pie without the pie.

Chicken Not Pie

  • Leftover roast chicken, white and/or dark meat, taken off the bone and shredded or cubed, to make about 2-3 cups
  • 3-4 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3-4 ribs of celery, peeled and diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch or Wondra
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • salt, pepper, 1/4 tsp each dried thyme and dried rosemary, or one small sprig of each, fresh.

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onion, garlic, carrots and celery about 5 minutes until tender. Add 1 cup of the chicken stock. In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch with the remaining 1/4 cup of broth until smooth, then whisk in the yogurt. Add mixture to skillet and combine with veggies. Bring to a simmer. Add chicken, salt and pepper, rosemary and thyme. Cover, lower heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add corn, peas and parsley and stir.

At this point, if you were making pot pie, you'd put the chicken and vegetables into small bowls or a pie plate, and cover with the puff pastry and bake. I made fusili and served it over that.

"Oh look," said Jeeps. "Chicken fricassee."

"Exactly," I said.

And everyone ate it.