The quickest of quick dinners, & lunchbox #72

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.

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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.

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What are your favorite fast dinners? Share ’em if you got ’em!

Sarah Blackburn (Simon, pre-primary)

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