Monday, November 10, 2008

Creative Use of Left Overs: Panko- Couscous Chicken with Blue Cheese Gratin Potatoes

We interrupt the regularly schedule travel blogging to bring you TONIGHT'S DINNER... With the current economy suffering, you don't have to break the bank to have a really nice meal. Nor do you have to spend hours slaving over a hot stove. For the following two recipes, all of the ingredients were already in my kitchen - with the exception of 2 chicken cutlets and 2 Idaho potatoes.

I had a basic idea on how I wanted to prepare the chicken: the final product was a combination of a Delia Smith recipe along with my step mom's chicken cutlets and Audrey Sweeney's much raved about chicken bites.

  • I first marinated the chicken in 3 eggs with a sprinkle of salt and a good pinch of herbs. My choice was Herbes de Provence, but anything you have on hand will do. After 30 minutes, coat in bread crumbs. This is where i got creative: I didn't have enough panko for the chicken, so I had a look around my fridge. There was some leftover couscous from the weekend, so I decided to give that a go. I mixed equal parts panko to couscous, added a small pinch of salt and some more herbs. Once the chicken was coated, i fried in a shallow amount of olive oil for 6 minutes each side. Once finished cooking, let sit on a paper towel for one minute to absorb oil.

  • While the chicken was marinating, I went on to the side dish... My side dish was a creative use of leftovers to make one of my favorite dishes: Gratin Potatoes. We had some leftover Roquefort cheese sauce. As this came out of a dried packet, it was very economical. If you don't have (or like) Roquefort cheese sauce packets, any sort of cheese sauce will do. I mixed the left over sauce with some whipping cream, left over blue cheese crumbles, and a little milk just to thin it out a bit, all in a sauce pan over medium heat. I then added the two potatoes, thinly sliced, and let simmer for 10 minutes. This all got dumped into a backing dish and baked in the over for 35 minutes at 350F.
It didn't tale a lot of effort to make, not did it take a lot of money. Instead of cooking vegetables, I decided it was a good idea to use the little bit of salad that was left over. You know that stuff, that little bit that gets left in the bag that you forget about and end up throwing away? I then drizzled a little of my homemade vinaigrette (also made from cupboard staples) over the lettuce and grabbed my fork.

Yum! Not only was it a satisfying meal, it was satisfying to know I was using things up in my kitchen, not letting them go to waste.

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