For this cook-once-for-three-dinners recipe, we love to start with big portions and whole ingredients. It makes sense to begin with the food in its most singular form and then slowly break it down for subsequent meals. You can add hints of flavor here and there so your meals don’t bore you as you progress through the week. Our favorite recipe that just keeps on giving is a whole roasted chicken. The crisp skin, plentiful meat, and rich, satisfying flavor make roasted chicken a mouthwatering classic dish that every cook should know.
Day 1: Roasted Chicken and Vegetables
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To simplify life, start with this roasted chicken recipe. It’s basically a one-dish meal if you roast your vegetables, like carrots, onions, and potatoes, in the same pan. Once your chicken is roasted, carve your bird, enjoy your wholesome meal, and save the bones (those will be essential for day three).
Day 2: Chicken Pot Pie
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For day two, all you need is your leftover chicken and vegetables, a sheet of store-bought puff pastry, 2 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon of flour, 1 cups of milk, and a tablespoon of lemon juice. In a small pot, melt the butter and whisk in the flour to make a roux. Next, slowly add the milk over low heat until a smooth and creamy white sauce forms. Then, whisk in the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the shredded chicken and chopped vegetables to the sauce along with any additional seasonings or herbs. Then, pour into a pie tin, top with the puff pastry, and bake according the directions on the box. Without too much effort, you’ll have a homemade chicken pot pie.
Day 3: Chicken Noodle Soup
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For day three, simply use up the rest of the chicken and vegetables. In addition to your leftovers, you will need a box of noodles, a quart of chicken stock, fresh herbs, and a mirepoix of a diced celery stalk, carrot, and half of a sweet onion. To give your store-bought chicken stock extra body, simmer it in a large pot with your reserved chicken bones, fresh herbs, and leftover vegetables for 30 minutes to an hour. Then, strain the stock and bring up to a boil to cook your noodles. Finally, add the remaining chopped chicken and diced carrots, celery, and onion and season with salt and pepper. For added flavor, add fresh dill or basil before serving.
Angela Carlos is the Cook Editor at The Daily Meal. Find her on Twitter and tweet @angelaccarlos.