There are two ways we combat the leftover blues in our little home. One way is to only make enough that make be eaten that night, the other is to portion the rest out and freeze it with the exception of maybe some for lunch the next day. Freezing is my favorite way because there are some things (like chili) that really can’t be made for just two. And then in a week or two when I have a mad case of dinner laziness, I can just pull something out that is ready to go. This is a beautiful thing in my opinion.
There really is only one downside to the freezing method. Sometimes your freezer gets a little full with random items and it needs to be clean out! I hate throwing food out so I pretty much toss anything that I didn’t use in prepping a meal into a container, or Ziploc bag, and toss it in.
My freezer right now contains the following: artichoke hearts, bacon, leftover stuffing, leftover pesto, guacamole, alfredo sauce, pastry puff shells, a lone chicken breast, some mullet Brent caught fishing, a piece of salmon, 1 cup of baked beans, a whole roasted chicken that I want to make stock with but haven’t yet, leftover homemade soup, leftover chili, an Italian sausage link, random bread, and a bunch of other stuff but you get the point.
Sidenote: We ate the homemade soup last night and I forgot how good it was. I should have written the recipe down when I did it, now I'll have to guess when I want it again.
So since Christmas we’ve been in “pantry cooking” mode. If you aren’t familiar with the term it basically means eating up everything in your pantry/freezer and buying as little groceries as possible. There have been several pretty good dishes that have come out of this… all of which I didn’t bother to write down or photograph at the time with the exception of this recipe I’ll be sharing with you. I’m starting to see a trend here…perhaps a New Year resolution is in order to write down everything I cook in the kitchen.
Feel free to adapt it as needed. I don’t expect you to have the same leftovers in your fridge/freezer, but if you do… then it is imperative you make this!
Grilled Stuffed Chicken Breast with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
- 2 chicken breasts, pounded to ¼ inch thickness
- ½ - ¾ cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 cups stuffing
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 tablespoons red bell pepper pesto
- 2 teaspoons chicken grill seasoning
* toothpicks, soaked in water for 10 minutes
1. Preheat grill to medium high heat or approx 350 degrees. Combine stuffing and cheese in a small bowl. It’s helpful is stuffing is slightly warm. Place stuffing mixture in the center of the chicken breast and roll breast tightly together, securing with toothpicks.
2. Season outside of chicken with grill seasoning. I use a garlic and herb one. Place on grill and cook for about 6-8 minutes on each side or until juices run clear.
3. In a small sauté pan over low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Once melted add 3 tablespoons of pesto and stir to combine. Continue to heat over low heat until sauce is thoroughly warmed.
4. Remove chicken from grill and remove toothpicks – or just warn your dinner guests! Serve red bell pepper sauce over top.
Thoughts: While I thought this dish had a lot of flavor, was utterly satisfying, and the pesto and spicy stuffing paired lovely together - that is not what I loved the most about it. I love that is used up items I already had in my freezer ready-to-go and dinner was ready to be eaten in less than 20 minutes. I think this “idea” could be easily done with shrimp or even steak given a few adjustments for time.
How do you guys work with leftovers? Any new tips to share that I might want to try?