Monday, January 6, 2014

Leftover Remix - Chicken Cacciatore

I hate leftovers.  My family hates leftovers.   Leftovers are icky!

I have become very good at cooking just enough to feed my family with no leftovers - nothing to save, nothing to throw away. 

But sometimes, the dreaded leftovers just can't be avoided.  And one of my favorite exemptions to the 'icky leftover' rule is spaghetti sauce.  There is something so wonderful about a huge pot of sauce, simmering away on the stove.  It's a great weekend,  clean out the fridge kind of meal.  Make a big pot of sauce, open your fridge, and go on a hunt for meat.  Whatever you have leftover in the fridge, throw it in there.  Couple pieces of chicken here, a pork chop there...throw it in the pot and give it new life.  You never know what you might find in there!

When I make sauce, I always have a ton of leftovers.  One pot is good for 5 or 6 family meals.  Throw it in the freezer and it just keeps getting better!

One of my favorite ways to serve leftover sauce is by turning it into a quick, easy chicken cacciatore.  By using the leftover sauce, you get that wonderful slow-cooked flavor, boosted by fresh peppers and quick-cooking chicken breast.  If you have a little extra time, legs and thighs are fantastic for this too!

The Cast:
Leftover spaghetti sauce

I used boneless chicken breasts for this batch.  Three breasts, cut into bite-size pieces.

Chop up your peppers into bite-size pieces too.  I used one green pepper for this batch, but I actually prefer it with sweeter peppers, like red or yellow.

Put your leftover sauce into a pan.  It's ok if it's still a little frozen in the middle, I never wait for it to thaw completely!   If you look carefully, you can see that there were a couple pieces of sausage in my leftover sauce...surprise!  I had no idea they were in there!

Toss the chicken and peppers into the sauce, give it a stir, and cover.  Simmer it on mediumish speed while you cook your pasta.

By the time your pasta is cooked, your sauce should be nice & hot and the chicken should be cooked through.  If you use bone-in chicken, it will take longer to cook.  Just make sure it doesn't boil hard or else the bottom will burn and your chicken will be rubbery (not that I've ever done something like that...*whistles innocently*)

Serve over pasta - our favorite is penne because it really holds the sauce.  Just make sure you pick something hearty enough to stand up to the heavy sauce!


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