One of my biggest Supermom time-and-sanity savers is making meals that multitask -- that is, deliberate leftovers that can be transformed into another meal later in the week. Even though I love to cook, there are definitely days when I feel all cooked out — when the very thought of planning and thawing and cooking makes me not want to eat for a week. Makes me look at my kids and ask, “Didn’t I feed you earlier? What do you mean you want dinner now?”
We deal with some food allergies at our house, so stopping off and picking up a pizza or fast-food isn’t an option. But roasting an extra chicken and stashing it, in advance, in pieces, in the freezer, is. If you’re more gastrointestinally normal than we are, you can pick up a supermarket-roasted chicken on your way home instead. Either way, once you have that bird in hand, you have plenty of options.
First, remove the meat from the bones. Then assess your stress, time, and energy levels and do any of the following:
1.) Lots of time, low energy: Make soup from the bones, add some shredded meat and veggies, serve with crusty bread.
2.) Little time, more energy: Layer thin slices of chicken on mayonnaise-slathered sourdough bread with crisp bacon, lettuce, and fresh sliced tomatoes. Serve with fries or chips.
3.) Little time, low energy: Shred the meat. Douse with your favorite BBQ sauce, serve on toasted buns with pickles and coleslaw.
4.) Some time, low energy: Heat a flour or corn tortilla in a pan; top with shredded colby-jack cheese, slivers of jalapenos, and shredded chicken. Cover with another tortilla and heat until the cheese melts. Cut into wedges and serve with salsa for dipping.
5.) Tired, but must feed family something: Toss the chopped chicken with a little mayo and call it chicken salad. Or add a chopped apple, a handful of dried cranberries, a little diced celery, and about a 1/2 teaspoon of herbs de Provence and call it sal-ahhhhhd. Serve with whatever bread or crackers you have on hand, or just eat it out of the bowl with a spoon.
Coming up: Five meals to make out of leftover steak