Leftovers. Usually its the most wonderful thing in the world but for a neurotic menu planner like me? Those are the loose ends that can drive you crazy! I hate wasting food and although I like leftovers since it indulges my inner lazy girl, sometimes I just want to get in the kitchen and cook. So many recipes, so little time! It’s the culinary catch-22. Sometimes though, you end up with certain kinds of leftovers you can re-purpose which can present a fun challenge.
My last post was about Chicken Avocado Soup and I mentioned that I didn’t use all the chicken and avocado and planned to post about using it up. I have since inhaled the avocado and will no longer be posting on that. Sorry. But I kept half my promise. Shredded chicken it is!
Apart from tossing some shredded chicken in a wrap or salad, sometimes you just want something heavier. Pasta is my go-to food when cheese and crackers just don’t cut it, so I threw this dish together and with a bit of multi-tasking, got it done in about 12 minutes.
I strictly limited the amount of tomato sauce in this dish, I didn’t want to drench it in tomato and overpower it – I wanted to let the flavour of the other ingredients come through. Extra black pepper is fabulous in this dish…combined with the red pepper flakes you get a bit of that heat in the back of your throat.
Additionally, I always keep a bag of chopped spinach in my freezer so I can add a handful to whatever I’m making. It ended up being an afterthought in this dish but fit pretty in well.
12 Minute Leftover Chicken & Zucchini Pasta
Yield: 2-3 Servings
½ medium Zucchini, diced
3 tbsp store bought tomato sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup Shredded chicken (or whatever you have)
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp black pepper, extra for garnish
1 handful chopped spinach (optional)
Whole wheat pasta (I used spaghetti but realized halfway through that maybe penne would have been better)
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving about 1 tbsp pasta cooking liquid. While pasta cooks, heat oil in a saucepan and add garlic & red pepper flakes. Cook until slightly browned.
Add tomato sauce, pepper and salt & cook for 1 minute. Add zucchini, spinach & chicken and heat through.
Combine chicken mixture with pasta and cooking liquid and mix thoroughly. Adjust seasoning to taste.
After feeling smug about using up my leftover shredded chicken so nicely I realized that I have leftover chicken and pasta. Dammit.