Leftovers (and a well-stocked pantry) will make your life better
Part of the whole crock pot experiment for me is cooking as much as I can in one day with as little effort as possible so I can bring a good, hearty lunch to work with me and have good things to eat when I come home late at night so I don’t reach for my delivery menu binder. Leftovers are the entire point. As a kid who grew up despising ‘leftovers night’ for dinner, it’s a weird mental gap to bridge.
This weekend, though, leftovers made me super happy — or rather, repurposing them.
Last Sunday, I roasted a chicken (Beer Can Roast Chicken, recipe at the end), steamed some kale, and made a big casserole dish of scalloped potatoes (recipe also at the end). SO GOOD, YOU GUYS. Here is how these leftovers improved the quality of my life:
My friend Seth W. and I made plans for him to come over the following Sunday (yesterday) so I could make us brunch while he played with my cats. He’s a cat guy, and when he posted this webcomic on Facebook with a comment about how much he misses cats, how could I not invite him over? He left Brooklyn four months ago after taking a lifestyle-altering pay cut at work, going from city to city via bicycle to visit friends while working remotely. After making several long bike trips to Coney Island over the summer, it was weird not seeing him around so much. I was really looking forward to hanging out.
This week I worked Friday and Saturday night, so we planned for him to come over late Sunday morning so I could have time to sleep and pick up groceries and things like that. I woke up on Saturday morning to a text from him: “What’s your address again? Just got off the subway.” Well, Mercury is in retrograde — communications are broken, so you just have to roll with it. I answered the door still in my t-shirt and sweatpants and set about going through the fridge.
I keep lots of eggs on hand at all times, since making my own breakfast each day instead of picking it up on the way to the subway saves me $3. I had a little bit of a pot roast left over, so I decided scrambled eggs with chunks of beef sounded amazing. I had enough of the scalloped potato casserole left over for two people, so I put them in the oven to reheat, finishing them with some cheddar cheese.
It turned out fantastic, without having to pick up anything at the store! Seth and I hung out with the kitties and talked for a long time about adventures and how we can go about making our lives better. It makes me happy to know that he’s happy, and that I could help make sure he’s also fed well, too.
The moral of the story is: leftovers are awesome. They bring people together. And if those people are trying to change their circumstances in a difficult time to do so, taking care of yourself (eating good food) becomes even more important.
Beer Can Roast Chicken
You will need:
- 1 beer can roaster
- 3 tbsp poultry rub (I use sage, thyme, rosemary, Goya Adobo salt, cajun spice mix, and pepper)
- Canola oil
- 3-4 lb roaster/fryer chicken
- 1 can good beer (I used Bell’s Pale Ale, poured into a rinsed-out soda can since it comes in bottles)
Preheat the oven to 375°. Mix the poultry rub together in a small bowl. Drink half the can of beer, and put half the rub in the can. Oil the beer can roaster and place in a roasting pan. Place the beer can in the roaster rack. Rinse the chicken thoroughly and sit it down on the beer can roaster. Pat dry with a paper towel (this helps the skin get nice and crispy. Add some canola oil to the poultry rub in the bowl, and rub the chicken down thoroughly, being sure to get some under the skin on the breast. Truss the wings back by tucking the wing tips behind the neck. Wash your hands and pop the bird in the oven for 20 minutes per pound plus an extra 20 minutes.
You will need:
- 6 to 8 medium potatoes, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- 3 tsp butter
- 2 cups scalded milk
- 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese