Tuesday saw me with medium enthusiasm for making dinner. My better half was not going to be with us and I had enjoyed a good size lunch. However, the starving teenager, always ensures that the responsibility for providing is somehow completed. He too was looking for lite fare because of a big lunch. I popped into the Superstore for staples of milk and eggs and noticed that the BBQ chickens were just coming out of the roaster. I thought for $6.99 and hot off the bricks, I likely could cobble together something that would pass as lite fare. My mission was set on course when the request came in for chicken nachos. There was leftover bits of green onions, re-fried beans, salsa, sour cream and cheese from the Huevos Rancheros from the day before. And so the chicken nachos were born. No matter how dressed you make those nachos I doubt you could use all the meat that comes from one of those little poultry fellas. So I was now doomed for more leftovers. And this is not always a sad fate. Also, being one that has a genetic predisposition to anything recessionary in nature, I had taken my stripped down chicken carcass and transformed it into a rich stock for a future purpose. A purpose that would soon reveal itself. Much like Sudoku and crosswords, the challenge that comes with leftovers really does keep your mind young and active. Now the question before me was, What will Wednesday’s dinner be?”

As luck would have it, Tuesday’s trip to the Superstore also yielded a 50% off large veggie platter. Again, I was playing to my medium interest in preparing food and the platter seemed like a reasonable deal as the dip at least was good for another 3 weeks. And so the broccoli, when freshened up, went to school lunches and the carrots and celery cried out to me that, matched with the leftover chicken, they would be the perfect thing for Chicken Pot Pie. And how right those carrots and celery were, since I also had leftover white wine and whipping cream in sparse enough quantities. Say nothing of the 10 lbs of potatoes waiting in storage that were purchased for a mere $2.50 for Easter dinner. (I bought 20 pounds! I know, what was I thinking?). Thankfully there was a puff pastry tucked away in the freezer as a hold over from great Christmas hors d’œuvres plans. With just 2 hours until dinner time, I went for the quick thaw method on the counter. I only needed half of the puff pastry but at least I knew I could use up all the chicken, carrots, celery, white wine, whipping cream and some of the potatoes. And voilà, here is my Chicken Pot Pie!

The recipe for Chicken Pot Pie can be found at
http://www.canadianliving.com/food/chicken_pot_pie.php

Thursdays dinner agenda was a bit more purposeful. I had come across a recipe recently called Puff Pastry Pissaladière. Lucky me to have leftover puff pastry! And who doesn’t have lots of onions. So by picking up some Gruyère cheese and olives this dish could be mine! We happened to have anchovy paste on hand and that completed the Southern France culinary experience so native to Provence. Although it was quite delightful, I think I prefer the more focaccia style crust that I have enjoyed with other recipes. This would make for a great little appetizer or amuse bouche, as it is rich.

The recipe for Puff Pastry Pissaladière can be found at
http://www.canadianliving.com/food/puff_pastry_pissaladiere.php

As your eyes descend on the plate of Indian dishes below, you will see that this is where my story of leftovers seems to start to falter. But if you know anything about sourdough starters, you might have an idea as to where I am headed. Friday at 1:00 pm I get that frantic phone call informing me that many teenagers are about arrive in close to 4 hours and the expectation has been set for an Indian dining experience. Knowing that I am about 150 days away from an empty nest, I know the only answer is a resounding “YES, THAT WOULD BE GREAT!” And knowing that I am strapped for time, I can’t even afford the extra 3.5 minutes to drive to the Superstore. It must be the Carlingwood Loblaws for this run. After a full review of the pantry my list is down to chicken for thousands, diced tomatoes, basmati rice, ginger, mushrooms, naan, yogurt, roma tomatoes, cilantro, and cucumber. A deal had been struck that I would shop and prep but I was not doing the cooking. The chicken was quickly marinating and the raita is put together to develop its flavours. Then the chopping. Lots and lots of chopping. As part of the team of Canada’s future leaders trickle in, each takes a recipe and teams with a friend to do their part in the assembly. It was poetry in motion. As the tandoori chicken and warmed naan come in from the barb-b-que, the timer goes off signalling the completion of the rice dish. In the true form of the fishes and loaves story, all were well-fed and there was still food abound.

The recipe for Cool Cucumber Raita was one I found originally in one of my Weber BBQ cookbooks.

CURRIED VEGETABLES
Source: Canadian Living Food Magazine 822

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp ginger root, chopped finely
3 Clove Garlic, minced, (1 tablespoon)
1/2 cups Onions, chopped finely
1 tsp Cumin, Ground
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
14 oz Canned Tomatoes
14 oz Potatoes, drained and diced
14 oz Peas

In large saucepan heat oil until it spatters when a drop of water is added. Cook ginger and garlic until soft; add onion and cook until lightly browned. Add spices and cook for several minutes longer. Stir in tomatoes, breaking them up with a spoon.

Cook over very high heat, stirring constantly, until liquid has almost evaporated. Drain and dice potatoes; add to saucepan, stirring to coat with curry mixture. Add peas and enough of their liquid to make a thick gravy.

Reduce heat and cook gently until vegetables are heated through. Serves 4.

CURRIED BASMATI RICE

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp Butter
1 Onions, medium, chopped
1 Garlic clove, minced
1/2 cups Mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cups Peas
1/2 Red Peppers, chopped
3/4 tsp Salt
1 1/4 tsp Curry Powder
1 cups Basmati Rice
1 3/4 cups Water
2 tbsp Slivered Almonds, Toasted (optional)

In a medium saucepan, sauté onion and garlic in oil and butter for several minutes. Add curry powder and vegetables and sauté briefly.

Add salt and water and bring to boil. Add rice, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Add almonds during last 5 minutes if desired. Serves 4.

TANDOORI CHICKEN
Source: Sharwood’s Tandoori Mix

We have always made this over the BBQ. Sharwood’s suggests serving this hot or cold with green salad and lemon wedges. I only use half the oil called for in order to cut down on the fat. And I do not use the melted butter when barbecuing. As well, I use skinned, deboned chicken breasts – its a treat – less fat, less work.

24 ounces chicken breast half, skinned
3 teaspoons Sharwood’s Tandoori Barbecue Marinade powder, heaped
2 tablespoons Vinegar
2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons Yogurt, plain, optional
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Salt

Prepare the marinade: Blend together 3 heaped teaspoons of Sharwood’s Tandoori Mix with 2 tablespoons each of vinegar, lemon juice and oil, and natural yogurt if desired.

Remove the skin from 4 chicken quarters and make cuts in the flesh, almost to the bone. Pour 2 tablespoons of lemon juice over the chicken, rub in 1 teaspoon of salt. Coat with the Tandoori Marinade rubbing well into the cuts. Cover and let marinate for at least 4 hours in a cool place, turning from time to time. Before cooking, shake off excess marinade, pour on a little melted butter and barbecue or grill for 10 to 15 minutes each side. Serves 4.

***

And so here we sit Saturday, with dinner just hours away, wondering what will be for dinner tonight. The fridge reveals a number of containers storing the ‘harvest’ of the Indian meal and with careful attention to reheating, we will be returning to New Delhi or Mumbai for a second night of feasting. On and on goes the story of our week of leftovers and ‘moving things along’.

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