Original recipe: http://nina.aninias.com/1/post/2010/10/lemon-thyme-roasted-chicken.html

I don't roast chicken that often. I cook and bake mostly on my mood and what my taste buds dictate me... if not on just pure impulses. Oh, and don't get me started with movies talking, making or eating food. The most influential of them all for me.

The artistry, the clever lines, they all transport me to wherever they are and make me taste everything in my mouth, just by watching them... yeah talk about torture. I have such vivid imagination that my stomach actually starts growling right at the moment of delicious scenes.....
Sorry about that, I just drifted to the decadent lala land made of a king's feast.

So, where were we.... ah yes, chicken! Not just any chicken, rrrrrrrrrrrrroasted chicken!

Whether you roasted it yourself or you bought it from the nearby Roastery (which my word I do from time to time), what matters is you either eat it all or you make sure you don't waste left overs.

Roasted chicken are yummy right after it's oven time. Warm and aromatic, you serve it with chips or with salad or almost with anything you can rummage from your fridge. It's a great dish that makes you feel all fuzzy and warm inside.

The next day? Cold and spark less  Not so much appeal as the day before. But don't let it go to waste, don't let it toughen in the fridge either... do sumthin' about it!

The meat is full of flavour, all you have to do is be creative.
Fine! Maybe not that creative... :) 

At the moment I use left-over roasted chicken to make chunky chicken sandwich and sopas. There are other dishes out there I'm sure but these two are perfect for me.
Sopas is from the Spanish word Sopa which obviously mean "soup". We made everything hybrid due to the complicated nature of our history. Sopas is basically macaroni pasta in a chicken soup that has cabbage bits and carrots and of course chicken bits. That's the basic ingredient. Some add more ingredients but for me, this is it.
Chunky chicken sandwich is far, far, way far... up to the moon far than the chicken sandwich I've known of back home. The one I was used to was a sad excuse for a chicken sandwich... but I guess, if I'll dig into the psychology of why the dish became what it is, it's practicality and necessity.

I would like to assume (if you know me well... I love to assume... regardless if it makes an - ass out of 'u' and 'me' ) that it started chunky before but because of food scarcity at some point, parents and elderly have to chopped chicken into pieces, or pull every piece apart or prolly even mash them to pulp, add the usual suspects of mayonnaise, salt and pepper and spread it, yes, spread it (talk about practicality) on bread and have everyone get to taste chicken, or mainly mashed spread.

My version of chicken sandwich as you may find out is less brutal on the meat. I leave it chunky and leave the integrity of the meat intact. Just how X-men says "mutant and proud", this one is chicken and proud!
Food texture is everything. I really rather have something crunchy to sink my gnashers than gulp and swallow food like it's for babies. I guess on the rare occassion that I really crave for baby food, like Cerelac and porridge... oh don't give me that look! Judgemental, I tell you...

Again, back to chicken sandwich... with the chunky bits... I add, quartered cherry tomatoes, mayonnaise with spring onion or chives (if you have), a good sprinkling of sea salt and freshly ground pepper... topped with lettuce, sandwiched in good toasted bread and I couldn't be bothered to even glance at anyone, even if it's Ryan Reynolds walking past...
okay maybe I'll peek a little but that's just about it... fine! my chicken sandwich will understand if I make it wait while I stare longingly on RR.... hmmmmmm (earth to Nina!)

It's important that I use cherry tomatoes, not the usual boring tomato, I tried it,,, it's edible but not wow. Cherry tomatoes are sweet bombs ready to explode. It's bursting flavours against the rich roasted chicken and a good amount of sea salt and pepper is one magical combination... you can practically dream the birds in Sleeping Beauty singing some more.

I'll post Sopas and Chunkylicous Chicken Sandwich soon for all of you... watch this space!

Happy Eating!

*Other suggestions, Quesadillas, Taco, Wrap and Chicken Macaroni Salad
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Menu IV



Pizza bites - use the pizza recipe from this site, make it thin crust and slice it into entree portions

Main Course
Glazed Chicken Wings on Noodles

Cake Pops - in keeping up with the "portion and cute" theme... instead of serving the usual cake slice... go for cake pops or cake balls or miniature cake shapes



Menu III



Crunchy Calamari

Main Course
Beer-battered Fish
Greek Oven Roasted Potatoes
Creamy Tartare Sauce

Fresh Fruit Platter
Aside from Minny Jackson's never-ending plug about the use of crisco, I personally think one should really have Crisco in their pantry.

I used to only use it in baking. Then when I started making fondant cakes, I found out that rubbing crisco all over my hand, keeps fondant off.

Also fried chicken in it, crispy yum.

Then found it very useful when kneading dough. The same way as fondant, it kept the dough off my hand. Perfect!

I suppose other brand works the same way. I just haven't had the chance to try other brand.
The obvious reason why one should have bamboo skewer in the kitchen is if you want to barbecue anything, it's always handy not just for cooking but also for serving.

The other use is to check your cake is done. Insert it in the middle of the cake, if  it comes out clean, then it's done.

I recently enjoyed using my skewer in frying beer-battered fish. It's always a challenge to dredge anything in flour then dipping it in batter without some coating sticking to your fingers. Dish will still taste amazing I bet, but a missing patch is just not pretty to look at.

With a skewer, my problem is solved! The only mark it left is a tiny hole. Aside from it keeps my hand clean, keeps the batter and flour evenly applied, any excess batter drips easily making the coating just perfect!

I will use it then next time I cook tempura... I can't wait!
I'm all for fresh ingredients. I'm next to a humongous supermarket which I consider my personal disneyland. But, sometimes, I have cravings that cannot wait.

Frozen Calamare Rings is just one of the products that is sanity-saviour for me.

Thaw, season with salt and pepper, dredge in flour and dry. Instant Pub Food!

Sautee in butter, garlic and onion, add a bit of cream, voila! gourmet, perfect for toasted breads.

There're just so many reasons why any fridge should have one of these babies.

Similar Recipe: Crunchy Calamari
Photo for illustration purposes only [I personally use KitchenAid too :) ]
Stand Mixers are gift from heaven. You don't know how useful it is until you start making fondant cakes, and boiled icings. These babies are practically saving your arm :P

Yes, your stand mixer will not do everything for you, you still have to work but it's not as hard as if you don't have one with you.

With fondant, the mixing stage all happens in the mixer. The initial kneading stage also happened in there. Once it's no longer sticking on the side of the bowl, that's when I do manual kneading. It's the only way to know when your fondant is ready.

With boiled icing, the part where I'm supposed to slowly pour the boiled sugar on the sides of the mixing bowl while beating is definitely the part my KitchenAid handles very well. I remember doing this stage when I didn't have my stand mixer, both I and my reliable nanny almost burned our arms and fingers and I had sore arms for few days too. There is a stage in this icing process where you have to continue beating the icing in a bowl until it goes down to room temperature. Believe me... it doesn't cool down to room temperature even after half an hour with ice on the sides!

There are so many more complicated tasks that stand mixers make simple, all I say is, you'll never know when you'll really wish you have one with you.

For silly mixing, like basic cakes, pancakes, cupcakes, I normally use my handheld beater. My stand mixer is reserved for big time jobs.
Photo is for illustration purposes only [I do use this one :) ]
Amazing how useful whipping cream is. Obviously, it's great for desserts, partner with fruits, even hot chocolate.

One of my discoveries is making my own flavoured home-made butter and buttermilk from whipping cream.

How to Make Butter and Buttermilk (click for recipe)

Out of one litre of whipping cream, I extracted 500 ml buttermilk which I use to marinate chicken for frying. This is also essential in making the fluffiest pancake. The butter I got from processing is a huge chunk and so it lasted us for a few days... yeah... I love butter too much. I know I might be skinny as hell but I think my heart is complaining from all the cholesterol, I'm just too young to notice.

The whole process of making your own butter and buttermilk is so much fun that I buy whipping cream a lot, looking forward to the next butter making with my boys.

Menu II



Eggplant Salad Caprese

Main Course
Spaghetti Al Tonno

Blueberry Cheesecake

Click menu for recipe
*this Menu is on the heavy side... cheese, pasta and more cheese :)
I don't run out of these boxes in my freezer... buy it and try it with a little bit of soy sauce dip... you'll understand why this box is a life saver.

How many times did you get surprise visits from friends or relatives and you turn into stress freakout mode because you're frantically looking for what to serve as an appetizer while you prepare for the main dish? I'm pretty sure lots of times.

What I do is throw this in a steamer, let it steam for 10-15 minutes and put it on a serving dish with a little soy sauce dip. It gets the meal started and I'm not going to get all stress out that our guests will be hungry!

Problem solved.