Growing up in an Italian family, my parents taught me to NEVER throw away any leftovers. I fondly remember hearing (in a strong New Jersey accent), “What are you, crazy? Don’t throw that away. You can use that tomorrow for a whole new dish…what a sin to waste!” This is so true. With a little imagination, you can literally incorporate any leftover into a new meal.
When you open your fridge and stuff starts falling out all over, it’s probably time to clean it out and organize. I noticed I had some fried chicken and part of a rotisserie chicken left over. I like to look at my protein first and then work around that with veggies and a starch. I looked in my veggie crisper, and realized I had everything I need to make a chicken soup! It’s perfect on a chilly winter day like today.
I pulled the fried chicken apart and salvaged what meat I could from there. I then put the rotisserie carcass in the pot and filled with chicken broth.
I like doing this because there is so much flavor in the carcass, and it helps moisten the chicken so it just falls of the bone. The skin gives a lot of flavor as well. I always just eyeball the amount of broth. If you need to add some water later, you can. You may need more flavor so don’t hesitate to drop 1/2 a chicken bouillon cube in there.I chopped up some carrots, onions, and celery. Tip: Use a few leaves from the celery stalk for flavor. If I have cabbage on hand, I chop some up and throw that in my soup, too. If you don’t have cabbage, it’s NBD. My family likes it, but it’s a preference. After the veggies were all chopped up, I sautéed them in a little EVOO with some fresh garlic, salt/pepper, a bay leaf, and some dried parsley.
I took my rotisserie chicken out and pulled the meat off the bone. I threw all my chicken in the pot with the sautéed veggies. Cover and simmer low for about an hour. Lastly, we come to my favorite part – the starch. You can use whatever you like! I have used cheese tortellini, orzo, or whatever small pasta I have on hand, such as acini di pepi. Tonight, I really cut a corner and cheated using Uncle Ben’s 90 second Wild and Brown Rice.
After 90 seconds, I took the bag of rice out of the microwave and dumped it right in. And voila! Chicken and wild rice soup is served!
I didn’t have to run to the store, and I used up leftovers and veggies while making space in my fridge! #winning! Tip: Sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top…Mmmmm!!!
There is a reason they are called “leftovers.” Stop throwing them out and use them. It’s simple and delicious. And you are right, Mom and Dad. It’s a sin to waste food. Learn from Clueless – “If the Government could get to the kitchen, rearrange some things, we could certainly party with the Haitians.” Rearrange some things, and ENJOY!