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Luscious Leftovers

August 2, 2009

Remember the other day when I said I made a chicken-zucchini-tomato bake? Here was the original recipe:

Chicken-Zucchini-Tomato Bake

2-3 large boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 tomato, diced
1 green onion/scallion, thinly sliced
1 small zucchini, sliced
1 cup prepared marinara sauce
1-2 tablespoons chopped garlic (I use the organic stuff out of a jar)
glug of olive oil
1-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Take 8×8″ glass baking dish and add glug of oil and garlic. Add chicken (I left the thighs whole, but you could cut them up however you want), zucchini, and tomato, stir to coat with oil and arrange evenly on bottom of dish. Cover with marinara sauce. Bake at 350-375 for 30-45 minutes or until chicken is done (cut into it, if it’s still pink in the middle, it’s not done yet). After 20-30 minutes, cover with shredded mozzarella. Serve over/with pasta.

Okay, so if there are just two of you (like me & the boy), this is too much to finish between you. So, you clearly have leftovers. What to do with them? Soup, of course!

Summer Chickpea Soup:

Leftover chicken-zucchini-tomato bake, with chicken cubed
1 can chickpeas, undrained
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 small onion, coarsely sliced, chopped, however you like your onions
1 cup chicken broth (I used a chicken bullion cube dissolved in a cup of hot water)
a drizzle of olive oil

In a 2-quart or larger saucepan, cook onions in drizzle of olive oil over medium-high heat until translucent and/or tender. Add all other ingredients and heat through. DO NOT drain the beans or tomatoes. The juices help build a a very tasty broth. Serve with fresh bread. No salt should be necessary, so taste while hot before adding any.

We had this with a loaf of crusty french bread (I had about a third of it, the boy had the rest, minus a little crust) to sop up the broth/juices and a couple of really ripe southern peaches finished with a coconut macaroon or two. It was delicious and actually pretty good for you and not all that expensive. The bread was $1.89. The peaches were $0.50/lb, so 2 peaches were about $0.50. Chicken thighs are cheaper than breasts and were maybe $1 for the one leftover. Chickpeas were around $1.25 for a can. Tomatoes were $0.79. Zucchini was $0.50. Onion averages out to probably $0.25 for one (I bought a large bag). Chicken bullion is maybe $0.10 a cube. We used maybe 1/4 a jar of marinara in the original recipe, so maybe $0.50 for that. I won’t count the drizzle of olive oil. So the whole meal? $6.78 for two, and we still have nearly half of the soup left over, so really, it cost us less than $4 to have dinner. We had water to drink and a few silver-dollar-sized coconut macaroons for dessert.

You could really make this soup with whatever you have on hand. As long as you have a can of tomatoes and an onion, you could add corn, black beans, navy beans, lima beans, chicken, pork, ground beef, zucchini, summer squash, rice, pasta, stale bread, croutons, green beans, potatoes, spinach, cheese, sour cream, salsa, etc. Really, just about any summer vegetable plus a starch (beans, rice, pasta, bread) added to the tomatoes and onion are going to give you a good soup. Protein is optional. I actually prefer it without the chicken, but it was available and needed to be eaten, so I included it.

I posted the basic, simple version of this soup a long time ago. As with this recipe, if you are not going to include broth or other veggies, you’re going to want to add an extra can of tomatoes.

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