COOKING 101: Go ahead – take a few chances

By definition, an entrepreneur is a risk taker, someone who plows ahead with a mix of creativity, cunning and cussedness to succeed.

It’s a business term, but there’s no reason the analogy cannot be stretched to the kitchen.

Start with a chicken, a nice plump roaster – or even two. Add a cunning cook determined to serve herself or her household several days of creative meals with a minimum amount of expense and effort.

Voila! Enough meals to almost get you to the next weekend.

Start by setting aside a couple hours on a Saturday or Sunday to chop and cook. You’ll have a nice roast chicken dinner on the weekend – and weeknight suppers that don’t look like your typical leftovers.

Hot chicken sandwiches and chicken pot pies are great, but if you’re an entrepreneur, you might take a chance on a tetrazzini, a tasty burger, a hearty bowl of soup teaming with vegetables and a movie night platter of quesadillas.

First, the chicken.

Buy two if you’re feeding a family or want to stretch this dinner all week. Clean the birds in the sink, rinsing, patting dry and reserving the innards in a Ziploc bag in the fridge.

Sprinkle the chicken liberally with garlic powder and Italian seasoning and roast it in a large pan in a hot oven. I like to roast it on a rack with an inch or two of water below. I start it breast side down at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, then flip it, turn the oven down to 350 degrees and continue roasting until it’s cooked through, about an hour to an hour or half, depending on the size.

Roast chicken dinner. Fini.

After you’ve feasted, strip all the meat off the bird, saving the skin and bones. Put those, and the reserved innards, in a large kettle.

Next, start paring and dicing. Peel several carrots, tossing the peels and the ends in the stock pot. Dice up the carrots and set aside. Peel a large onion, tossing skins and ends in pot. Dice and reserve onions. Ditto with a couple stalks of celery. Quarter a head of garlic and toss that in the pot. Add a few peppercorns, bring the mix to a boil and simmer for at least an hour.

Strain the stock, mashing the veggies to get all the juice.

Now you’re ready for the leftovers. If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can make most of these on the weekend and chill or freeze until you’re ready for a quick dinner mid week.

How’s that for entrepreneurship?

RECIPE:CHICKEN PATTIES WITH LIME SAUCE

2 cups finely diced chicken

(may be ground in food processor)

2 tablespoons each finely diced celery, scallion and parsley

1?4 cup yogurt

1 egg

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 tablespoon Asian chili sauce

1 cup Panko bread crumbs

2 tablespoons oil

LIME SAUCE

1/3cup chicken stock

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 tablespoon diced garlic

1 tablespoon Asian chili sauce

2 tablespoons cream

1/3 cup butter

Bring stock, juice and garlic to boil. Simmer 5 minutes. Whisk in cream, lime juice and chili sauce. Then whisk in butter. Serve over chicken patties.

RECIPE: MINESTRONE SOUP

1 can diced tomatoes

2 cups chicken stock

1 cup each diced carrots and onion

1 cup cooked pasta, elbows, bow ties, etc.

1?2 cup diced celery

1 cup white beans

1 cup diced chicken

1 cup shredded Italian cheese

Bring stock and tomatoes to boil. Add carrots, onions and celery and simmer until soft. Stir in cooked pasta, beans and chicken. When heated through, ladle into bowls and top with cheese.

RECIPE: CHICKEN TETRAZZINI

1?2 package linguini

2 tablespoons butter

1?4 cup each diced red pepper and onion

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1?4 cup flour

2 cups chicken stock

2 tablespoons cream cheese with chives

1 cup shredded Italian cheese

(basil tomato works great)

1 cup milk

1?2 box frozen peas

1 cup baby spinach

2-3 cups chicken, cut in chunks

1?2 teaspoon each garlic powder, fresh black pepper, sea salt and Italian seasoning

2 slices French bread, diced

2 tablespoons butter

5-6 leaves fresh basil, diced

Cook linquini, drain, toss with oil in large bowl.

Saute onions, peppers and mushrooms in butter until soft. Stir in flour and cook quickly. Add stock, milk, cheeses and frozen peas and simmer until it begins to thicken. Stir in chicken, spinach and spices and stir to blend. Toss with linquini in large bowl.

Rub casserole with olive oil or garlic butter and add pasta mix.

Saute bread crumbs in butter until beginning to brown. Stir in diced basil and spread over pasta mix.

The dish may be frozen or refrigerated until ready to eat. Then heat oven to 350 degrees. Cover and cook 20-30 minutes until bubbling. Turn on broiler briefly to toast crumbs.

RECIPE: CHICKEN QUESADILLA

1-2 cups diced chicken

1 cup diced peppers and onions

1 cup black beans

1 cup shredded cheese

1 cup diced tomato

1 cup diced avocado

Wraps

Sour cream

Chunky salsa

Saute pepper and onion in oil until soft. Stir in chicken, beans and tomato and heat through. Add avocado and cheese.

Spread mix on one wrap. Top with second wrap. Repeat until meat/veggie/bean mix is gone.

Bake in 350 degree oven until hot. Cut into wedges and serve with sour cream and salsa.

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