Freezer, ‘Fridge & Pantry
|By Meg Jones - wife, mother,
When our kids were in onsite daycare at the University of Utah, they had a teacher Eugenia who had published a “refrigerator magnet” book called “Freezer, ‘Fridge & Pantry” with easy recipes most people could whip up from what they have on hand.
I have often though of Eugenia and her book over the past few weeks as we have been digging into our inventory for meals. I channeled her the other night when I created a pasta dish using what was on hand.
What to Do with a Leftover Supermarket Roast Chicken
The inspiration was a roast chicken carcass in the refrigerator that still had enough meat on it to add to a dish but not enough to be the main attraction. So, I decided to make a simple pasta dish with shredded chicken as the protein.
Luckily, we had some penne pasta and diced tomatoes on the shelves, garlic and onion in the drawer, and spinach close to wilting in the veggie drawer. In short order we assembled a hearty, satisfying mid-week dinner that didn’t require a death-defying trip to the store.
We were all surprised at how tasty this was. If I had come across basil or parsley in the fridge, I might have added some of that.
This dish is very forgiving so if you give it a try, add whatever you want. And then you can boil the chicken carcass to make broth for future use.
Simple Chicken with Tomato and Pasta
- Start the water boiling for the pasta.
- Dice the onion and sauté in olive oil over medium heat in a large sauté or sauce pan large enough so that you can add in the pasta after it has cooked.
- After 2 minutes, add the garlic, stirring occasionally until the onion and garlic are soft and aromatic.
- Add the diced tomatoes and salt & pepper to taste. If you have some chicken broth handy, you can add some of that too. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Once the water is boiling, add the pasta.
- While the pasta cooks, add the spinach to the sauce in small handfuls, stirring to incorporate into the sauce. Continue to simmer, and add the shredded chicken, stirring occasionally.
- Before draining the pasta, reserve some of the pasta water, about a cup. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce while it continues to cook, mixing the pasta in so it can absorb the flavor of the sauce. You may need to add some pasta water to help it along. Cook for another 3-5 minutes.
- Serve in large bowls topped with shredded cheese to taste.