NEW YORK – Some families just love leftovers. What's easier than reheating and digging into yesterday's meal? But that's not Cassy Joy Garcia’s family: They're not leftover fans.
So Garcia had to get creative for her latest cookbook, which offers busy home chefs a way to lower stress levels in the kitchen by transforming one meal into two different ones.
How she does it is by planning out two meals that usually share a protein. She cooks that meat, fish or poultry for one meal and sets aside extra for tomorrow's dinner, which will have its own flavors.
“As we started to put that puzzle together of what it could look like, I started to realize we were gravitating toward something that I already do and have been using,” she says. “I’ve just never really thought about it as a formula.”
"Cook Once Dinner Fix: Quick and Exciting Ways to Transform Tonight’s Dinner into Tomorrow’s Feast" shows how you can go from a beef and veggie stew one night to shredded beef tostadas the next. Or dry rubbed barbecue brisket on Tuesday and cheesesteak stuffed peppers on Wednesday.
“I really like the idea of being able to bridge tonight’s effort into a meal in the future,” she says. “If you don’t get ahead, you feel like you’re constantly catching up.”
Each set of twin recipes has cooking tips and several ways to make substitutions for diets that are gluten-free, nut-free, grain-free, low-carb or dairy-free. She includes a dozen pairs of vegetarian meals as well.
Garcia includes this double recipe for a whole chicken:
MEAL 1: Herb-Crusted Roasted Chicken with Lemon-Garlic Orzo
This dinner series illustrates how a whole chicken can be creatively put to good use. First, a chicken is liberally seasoned with fresh herbs and lemon, then roasted to perfection and the breasts served fresh out of the oven over a fabulous lemon-garlic orzo. The wings, legs, and thighs get a makeover for the second dinner, an easy sheet pan curried chicken. The chicken pieces are tossed with curry powder–spiced coconut milk, roasted with veggies, and served over white rice. Both meals can be doubled to serve 4.
Serves 2 or 3
For the Herb-Crusted Roasted Chicken:
1 (3 1/2- to 4-pound) whole chicken
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) salted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the Lemon- Garlic Orzo:
12 ounces dried orzo
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Roast the chicken: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Remove the giblets from the cavity of the chicken and pat the chicken dry with a paper towel.
In a small bowl, mix the butter, oregano, rosemary, and thyme until well combined.
Rub about half the herb butter over the outside of the chicken. Using your fingers, gently lift the skin from the breast and smear the rest of the herb butter under the skin.
Place the chicken in a roasting pan or on a rimmed baking sheet. Tuck the wing tips under the joint where the wing meets the chicken’s body. Using about 6 inches of kitchen twine, tie the ends of the drumsticks together.
Season the chicken with the salt and pepper. Roast for 1 hour 10 minutes, or until the juices run clear and/or an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees. If the skin starts to brown too deeply, simply tent the chicken with a piece of aluminum foil.
Meanwhile, make the lemon-garlic orzo: Cook the orzo according to the package instructions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
Add the tomatoes, onion, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper to the orzo and stir to combine.
Remove the chicken from the oven, tent it with foil (if it’s not already tented), and let rest for 10 minutes. Carve the legs, thighs, and wings from the chicken, transfer to an airtight container, and refrigerate to use for Meal 2 (it will keep for up to 5 days). Carve the breasts from the chicken and slice them.
Divide the chicken breasts and orzo between two plates. Garnish with the parsley and serve.
• If you have extra time while the chicken is roasting, go ahead and chop the veggies for the curried chicken and store them in the fridge, so all you have to do tomorrow night is toss everything together.
• Once the chicken has about 15 minutes left to cook, get started on the orzo. It will be ready as soon as the chicken is done resting.
MEAL 2: Curried Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner
Serves 2 or 3
1 cup full-fat coconut milk
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from about 2 limes)
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
Cooked chicken thighs, legs and wings (reserved from Meal One)
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch-thick strips
6 large carrots, cut into 1-inch thick rounds
1 cup uncooked white rice, rinsed (optional)
1/4 cup chopped peanuts, for garnish
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, lime juice, curry powder, and salt.
Add the chicken pieces, bell pepper, and carrots to the curry sauce and toss to combine. Spread the chicken and vegetables over a rimmed baking sheet. Discard the remaining curry mixture. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the chicken starts to look crispy but not overbrowned and the vegetables are tender.
Meanwhile, cook the rice (if using) according to the package instructions.
Garnish the chicken and vegetables with the peanuts and cilantro and serve over the rice, if desired.
– From “Cook Once Dinner Fix” by Cassy Joy Garcia (Simon & Schuster, Inc.)