There’s nothing I like better than a roast chicken dinner with all the trimmings–mashed potatoes and gravy, cornbread stuffing, a side vegetable, and cranberry sauce. But I rarely have enough time during the week to prepare a big meal from scratch. So I often rely on rotisserie chicken and pre-cooked side dishes to get dinner on the table in a flash. Rotisserie chicken is convenient and economical–one bird can yield several meals. This week I prepared three meals from one chicken. Here’s how I did it:
Dinner No. 1–Lazy Cook’s Chicken Dinner
For this meal I microwaved the chicken until it was heated through (~ 5-6 minutes), microwaved a container of ready-cooked mashed potatoes, prepared cornbread stuffing using the microwave instructions on the side of the box, and opened a can of vegetables and a jar of chicken gravy, poured them into saucepans, and heated them through. Finally, I opened a can of jellied cranberry sauce and sliced it. For this meal I was keeping it real–really easy, that is.
Dinner No. 2–Lazy Cook’s Chicken Sandwiches
On day two, I sliced some croissants and topped them with slices of leftover chicken breast that I warmed in the microwave, and topped that with mayonnaise, leftover sliced cranberry sauce, and salt and pepper. I served this meal with fresh fruit and iced tea. Easy, peasy.
Dinner No. 3–Not-So-Lazy Cook’s Chicken Pie
This meal features all the leftovers from Day 1′s meal–chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetables, and stuffing (yes, it’s in there), plus a few additional ingredients. This dish is more time consuming to prepare than the others, but it’s well worth the effort. Here’s what you’ll need to make a chicken pie:
- 1 cup celery, chopped
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 1 cup carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1 cup potatoes, cubed (no peeling necessary)
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1-2 cups de-boned chicken
- 1 1/2 cups chicken gravy (or chicken broth)
- 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
- 1 cup mashed potatoes
- 1-2 cups cornbread stuffing
- 1 cup vegetables (corn, green beans, or peas)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 2 frozen pie shells
- 2 cups Asiago cheese, shredded
In a large skillet, saute the celery, onions, carrots, and potatoes in butter over low heat until soft (about 10-15 minutes), stirring occasionally so the vegetables don’t brown. Stir in the chicken, gravy (or chicken broth), half-and-half, mashed potatoes, stuffing, vegetables, sugar, salt, and poultry seasoning and heat through. Pour into two frozen pie shells, top with shredded Asiago cheese, place on a cookie sheet, and bake in a 400° oven for 30 minutes, or until the pie crust and cheese are golden brown. Serve with a tossed green salad.
Don’t let the size of these mini marinated ham and cheese sandwiches fool you. This quick and delicious holiday appetizer packs a wallop of flavor in a tiny bite–I’m talking about a party in your mouth. Yeah baby! My sister has been serving these delicious sandwiches on Christmas Eve–paired with tomato bisque soup and a Caesar salad–for years. It’s become one of my most requested recipes. Coworkers frequently ask me to bring this dish to potluck lunches and I’m always happy to oblige because I can whip up a batch of these sandwiches in a snap, they can be cooked in a microwave if necessary, and I always get rave reviews.
You may want to double the recipe because these sandwiches always disappear fast. As usual, I’ve tweaked the recipe to suit my taste, but you can find the original recipe here. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make these tasty ham and cheese appetizers:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/4 cup onion, minced
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used Duke’s mayonnaise)
4 tablespoons creamy horseradish sauce (I used Kraft)
1 package of sliced deli ham, cut to fit buns
1 package of sliced Swiss cheese, cut to fit buns
1 package party rolls or small dinner rolls (I used Martin’s potato rolls)
Saute the onions in butter over low heat until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the brown sugar, mustard, poppy seeds, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, and parsley. Stir and cook until the brown sugar is melted. Remove from heat. Meanwhile, assemble the sandwiches. Cut sandwiches in half (it’s faster to cut the entire sheet of buns at one time instead of cutting each bun individually). Place the bottom half of the buns in a 9 x 13″ pan. Combine the mayonnaise and horseradish sauce in a small bowl. Spread a thin layer of the mayonnaise mixture on the buns. Top with ham and cheese slices and the top half of the buns. Spoon marinade on top. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until the tops of the sandwiches are browned and the cheese is melted.
Serve these mini sandwiches for a quick holiday meal, an office potluck luncheon, a superbowl party, or a church supper. They’ll be a hit.
Christmas is only three weeks away and there’s still so much to do to get ready for the big day. During this hectic time of year it can be hard to find time to cook a good meal for your family. So I rely on recipes like this super quick au gratin potato soup featured in Gooseberry Patch’s “Almost Homemade” cookbook. This hearty soup starts with a box of au gratin potatoes–something just about everyone has in their pantry.Toss in a few fresh vegetables, some chicken broth, and cream and you’ll have dinner on the table in about 30 minutes. You can order a copy of the cookbook here. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this soup:
1 9-oz. box au gratin potato mix
1 10-oz. can chicken broth
3 cups water
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1-2 celery stalks, diced
1 onion, diced
1/2 cup whipping cream
salt and pepper to taste
Combine the first six ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat. Stir in cream. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Garnish with sour cream, chopped chives, and bacon bits, if desired.
Doesn’t this look fabulous? This recipe was so quick, easy, and delicious that I made it twice in one week.