Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Plan Ahead

Yes, planning can make cooking and everyday life so much easier.  Make it a fun time, a relaxing time when you can just set aside a little bit of time and think through some menus that utilize some of the same ingredients and you can be on your road to easy meal preparation.  Some days (or nights) you may need to prepare a little more but then you will have it ready for the next night or so as a totally new interesting dish instead of just "leftovers".

You remember the fish tacos I prepared about a week ago, well, since I am only cooking for the two of us, I  had enough leftovers to take that dish to work for lunch later in the week.  One of the leftover ingredients from the fish tacos was the tortilla.  I don't like to overeat, but I hate worse to waste food, so I try to think of ways to use ingredients that will spoil in a different preparation.  Last night I decided I would do several things.  First, I would use the tortillas and make homemade tortilla chips to go with my tortilla soup and I would also cook extra chicken and have it ready for another dish which is Asian inspired with cellophane noodles.

Out came one of my favorite kitchen utensils, my big Le Creuset pot, next my most valuable utensil, my Wüsthof knives.  I'll save this for another post, but having the greatest kitchen tools can make your time in the kitchen easier and much more fun.  Let's start cooking...first I heated my pot with some olive oil and then cut up the chicken into bite size pieces.  I then browned the chicken with a little salt and pepper in the hot oil.  It is important that the pot be hot and the chicken dry.  If your protein is wet it will steam instead of brown. You want to hear it sizzle when you put it in the pot.
Once the chicken is browned, remove it from the pot and set it aside.  It will be used for this dish as well as my other dish later.
Next, prep your veggies that you will sautè.
Now you start adding your liquid ingredients and spices.After the liquid ingredients and spices have been added, stir it up a bit and let it simmer, simmering always starts to bring the flavors together.  I chose to use one of my fun birthday gifts and at this point I placed my new immersion blender in the pot and began blending the ingredients so there was still some texture but no big pieces of any particular ingredient.  This is why I removed the chicken and didn't add the corn and parsley until later.
Next, I added lime juice, and chopped parsley, stirred and then corn and the cooked chicken.
You now have this lovely blend of fresh veggies, herbs and lean chicken. Simmer for a little bit while you finish toasting the tortilla chips, cut up some avocado and I like to use Greek plain the tart and thick creaminess that it brings to the dish.
Lightly salted with kosher salt homemade chips with
leftover tortillas.
Such a wonderful meal, high in nutrients and low in fat and calories.
Remember we have to make the next dish with the leftover chicken which I store in glass jars and freeze until ready to use.  I also had two quarts of the tortilla soup that I also froze for a quick meal some night.
Bon Appétit!

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