Last week, we roasted a whole chicken for dinner. This is a mainstay in our house – one 4-5 lb chicken, coated in tons of salt & pepper, roasted in a baking pan (475 for 30 mins, then 375 for 45 mins, then wait 15 minutes to carve). Delicious & easy, but not exactly fast. It does, however, set us up for a quicker dinner or two later on. We tend to eat the dark meat the day we roast the chicken, and save the breast meat to re-purpose for another dinner a few days later. We also stash the bones in a gallon bag in the freezer and make stock once the bag is full (kitchen economy FTW!).
Anyway, our re-purposed chicken usually turns into tacos, enchiladas, chicken noodle soup, or chicken salad pitas (typically mayo, grapes/dried cherries, celery, & tarragon). This week, though, I was looking to do something different, so googled around for dinner ideas using leftover rotisserie chicken, and found this super simple gem: chicken, chickpea, and pesto salad (thanks Martha!).
We actually enjoyed this dinner so much (and had enough leftover chicken) that we did it twice in the last week-ish. The first time I messed up and sent the cucumber with Simon for Daily Soup, but substituted with extra celery, some romaine, and a handful of green beans. The second time, I had a new cucumber, still included some romaine, and added avocado. Both versions were equally delicious.
With store-bought pesto (we like Whole Foods’ mama’s pesto that they keep in the cooler near the prepared foods), or your own pre-made pesto (that you made and froze because you have all kinds of ambition and free time), served up with some unadorned tomatoes & pita, this dinner came together in 10 minutes (REPEAT: THIS DINNER CAME TOGETHER IN TEN MINUTES!).
Bonus: it can be riffed on in a million different ways. Sub the chicken with some fresh mozz for a vegetarian version, add/subtract/sub basically any kind of green vegetable… sky’s the limit.
Bonus, bonus: it kept well for lunch the next day! Paired with some apricot, we were good to go.
What are your favorite fast dinners? Share ’em if you got ’em!
Sarah Blackburn (Simon, pre-primary)