One of the things I’ve learned, in both commercial and home kitchens, is how to work with what you have. When you’re single like me, and you’re only cooking for yourself, following a cute recipe you found on Pinterest can be annoying and a waste of money, especially when you’re left with random odds n ends of vegetables and proteins, and no idea how to use them. So they inevitable rot in your fridge, destined to become pseudo-science experiments until you throw them out in disgust. Or! You can get creative with it.
Since I am not only single but broke as fuck, I opt for the latter. Luckily, this is where my line cook chops come in handy: I know how to cook most proteins and am comfortable working within several flavor profiles, independent of a recipe. Without further adieu, here are the results from my Saturday experiment:
Assess the sitch: what leftovers do I have in the fridge that gotta go….
Ok, that’s like 1/2 an eggplant, 1/3 of a red bell pepper, some Italian flat leaf parsley, garlic, and an onion. I’ve seen eggplants, peppers, squash in all kinds of Italian/Mediterranean inspired menu items, usually in the form of a grilled veggie combo, usually served in some sammy or in antipasto-esque variation. I also had a couple strips of bacon and some boneless, skinless chicken breast too… So… what to do…. Fuck it, let’s stuff ’em!
So, first off, cut shit up, to roughly the same size, a-like-so….
Then, heat up a pan over medium heat with your fat of choice (I opted for a butter/EVOO combo), and toss in the eggplant/pep/onion. Hit it with some s and p, and let it soften for a bit, eehh like 4-5 minutes. Then, throw in the garlic, cook for another 2 minutes or so, turn off the heat and hit it with the chopped parsley:
Meanwhile, pre-heat your oven to 375 and prep your chicken, aka butterfly it. This basically is running your knife along the thick end and slicing into the breast, so you’re opening it up like a book:
If it’s an especially thick piece, sandwich it in between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound the shit out of it. This particular breast was ok though, so I didn’t go the the trouble. Salt and pepper both sides of the breast and fill ‘er up with your stuffing. Then, roll ‘er up and wrap that chicken joint in some bacon strips:
That chicken’s gonna take easily 25 minutes in a 375 oven (15 on reggae heat, and about 5 under the broiler to crisp up that bacon), so I perused my fridge once again for a quick, slap-together side… enter that squash shout out from earlier:
Ok: we got zucchini noodles (zoodles!), some parm chi, and some chickpeas. Use that same pan from your chicken stuffing (cause why make more work for yourself down the road??). In terms of timing, it depends on how hungry you are/how much you tolerate burning the roof of your mouth on hot chicken. When I’m good I wait until the chicken is out of the oven: gives it time to cool, and besides we’re essentially just heating the zucchini concoction through. At least, wait until you’re on the last 5 minutes of the chicken (when it’s in broiler mode), before starting this. Put your pan on medium to medium high heat, and throw in some butter. Once the pan is hot again, toss in your zoodles and chickpeas:
Hit it with some s and p, and just, ya know, cook it. This usually takes about 3-5 minutes, depending on the crisp level you want on your zoodle. When it’s good, throw it on the plate with your bird and garnish with that parm.
Well lookie there!!
Bon appetit, baes.
Short hand: Chicken:
1/2 eggplant, 1/3 red bell pepper, 1/4 yellow onion: diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsps Italian flat leaf parsley chopped
S and P
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
4 strips bacon (if you wanna wrap both of those bad boyz)
-Oven 375, saute stuffing and fill butterflied breasts, wrap in bacon. 20 minutes in oven, 5 minutes under broiler
Approx 2 handfuls Zoodles (1.5-2 cups)
1/3-1/2 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed
S and P
Shaved Parmesan, for garnish
-Saute pan over medium-med high heat, butter. Zoodles/chickpeas/s and p. Cook until HAWT. Garnish with Parm.
Current jam: “Plastic cup politics” LTJ