Recipe: Creamy Chicken and Vegetables

This recipe for Creamy Chicken and Vegetables is a "Leftover" from my Super Easy Chicken and Dumplings.   As part of my series on Leftover Tips and Recipes, this dish can be made with just about any leftover cooked chicken.
Don't have leftover cooked chicken?  No problem.... other alternatives can be store bought rotisserie chicken or... if you are so inclined.. cook a chicken breast or two in the oven or on the stove top.  Read on through the tips for suggestions.
Let's start with the chicken...
Using any cooked leftover chicken is an obvious choice... just make sure to take off any skin and take it off the bones...
If you don't have leftover cooked chicken...
Let's say you don't have any leftover chicken, but you want to make this dinner.. you can simply cook the chicken first then proceed to the recipe... I know obvious.. but how to cook it?... that usually is the question most often asked...
The answer is really up to you ... and how much time you have or how much time you are willing to devote to it. 
Baking Chicken 
Baking a chicken breast (with or without the bone and skin) will take anywhere from 20 minutes to 45 minutes to an hour.   Bake a bone-in chicken breast at 350 degrees F. for 45 minutes to an hour... time will depend on the size, use a meat thermometer to test doneness or until there is no pink meat on the inside, which will require you cutting into it.  A boneless skinless chicken breast baked at 400 degrees F. for 20-25 minutes... again.. check with a meat thermometer or slicing into it.
Cooking Chicken on the Stovetop..
You can also put them into a saucepan with chicken broth (some people use water.. I don't recommend that for breasts ... otherwise the small amount of flavor it does have cooks into the water)... you can add some spice (thyme or rosemary are good choices) and some veggies like a cut-up onion, carrot, and celery... you can also throw in a peppercorn and a bay leaf.  Cook at a steady simmer until the chicken is cooked through... testing it would be the same as you would for baked chicken.
Cooking Chicken in a Crock Pot
Let's say you have chicken breast(s) in your freezer but not defrosted... no problem... if you have a crock pot.. plop them into the crock pot and cover with chicken broth, flip the crock pot on low and let them cook all day while you're at work.. the chicken is actually even more tender when you start it in the crock pot as frozen.
Want to speed it up?.. cook them on high for about 4 hours.  Adding spices and some or all the veggies will add flavor to your broth and chicken... but that is entirely up to you.
Best Option.... Leftovers from Chicken and Dumplings

This brings us to my suggestion... make my Super EasyChicken and Dumplings ... the dumplings .. in my opinion... by the way... make this dish soooo good.  So serve the Chicken and Dumplings... and save the leftover chicken and broth... it will freeze in an airtight container.. or just keep it in the fridge to make this new recipe later in the week.
Now for the "sauce"...
A good rule of thumb is about 2 cups of sauce to every cup of chicken and about 1/2 cup of vegetables.  This amount is approximate, you can add more of any of these if you prefer a different ratio.
If you make the Chicken and Dumplings and are using the leftovers... make sure the chicken is cut-up into small pieces or shredded.  You may have enough broth/sauce from this dish.. if not... just add some broth to it....
To make additional sauce..
To thicken the additional broth easily... make roux in a separate saucepan..... by melting butter and adding flour to make a paste, then slowly adding broth, whisking it constantly until it is completely smooth, before adding it into the rest of the saved leftovers.... figure about 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon flour for every cup of broth.   Don't count the already thickened leftovers from the Dumpling meal.... I'm talking about thickening the additional broth you want to add to your leftovers, should you feel you need it...
Other options for more sauce...
So if you haven't figured it out yet.. you are essentially making additional gravy to your leftovers... why would you add additional gravy?... you will be adding vegetables to the new dish and you want them in a nice saucy mixture... and you may not have enough left over from the previous meal.
Another option is to add more gravy is... purchased gravy in a jar or powdered ones.. just follow the instructions on the packet if that's what you're using.
Still another option is to add a can of condensed Cream of Chicken or ... even better, Cream of Chicken with Herbs to the leftover... add it mix it in well, then add chicken broth until you get the consistency you want.

As for vegetables... frozen works the best... I like to use Bird's Eye Mixed Vegetables... add as much as you like... the amount you use will depend on how much you want to make... use your judgment.  In my opinion canned simply don't work well.  We like mushrooms... you can add canned or fresh.. fresh is always best... put them in raw and cook them in your sauce.  I add about 3-4 sliced medium/large mushrooms per cup of chicken.
Potatoes can be added to.. just keep in mind this meal doesn't cook for very long.. so you will either need to cook raw potatoes before adding them in or use canned.  Canned works better than you may think, I buy the whole potatoes in the can and cut them into quarters... you do not need to cook them before putting them into the mixture.
Pastry Shells...
The pastry shells can be found in the freezer section of the grocery store... follow the package instructions to bake them.  I figure 2 per person for a supper or 1 for lunch (they're small).  I serve them with cranberry sauce and a side salad.

Other Options...

Finally... pastry shells are not your only option here.... you can serve this over rice or mashed potatoes (I would leave potatoes out of the sauce then) or you can make this mixture into a pot pie by adding a pie crust (store bought or homemade) ... simply pour the mixture into a large pie plate, baking dish or small individual baking dishes... cover it with a pie crust and follow your pie crust baking instructions.
A pie crust is only one option for a pot pie... frozen puff pastry is wonderful on top too.  Simply defrost and bake on top of the mixture (follow puff pastry baking instructions).
I hope this has inspired you to make something out of your leftover chicken!

Recipe:  Creamy Chicken and Vegetables
All you need:
For quantities see TIPS
Cooked Chicken, cut into small pieces
Frozen Mixed Vegetables
Potatoes, cooked and cut into small pieces *See TIPS
Fresh Mushrooms
Chicken Broth
Chicken Gravy (optional)
Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup (optional)
Pastry Shells
All you need to do:
Bake the pastry shells as directed on the package.
For sauce making instructions... see tips.
Combine the cooked chicken, sauce, vegetables and mushrooms in a pot.  Cook until the mushrooms and vegetables are cooked.
Serve in pastry shells.

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