Tag Archives: Pan sauce

Something Fantastic Made With Leftover Chicken Stock or Rich Penne with Chicken Sausage (serves 4-6)

ah yes (glad I didn't throw that stock out!)

ah yes (glad I didn’t throw that stock out!)

Have you ever cooked a chicken or some other meat (either roasted or boiled) and after dinner still have a couple of cups of liquid left over? The thing that I hate the most in this world is to waste perfectly good food. People go to the trouble of making dinner and then after dinner something strange happens: the thing that was so enjoyed a few minutes earlier gets relegated to the category of waste or scraps. Why do we regard the part of the dish that has not been eaten as somehow inferior to what we just oohed and aahed over moments earlier? It’s time for you to start saving that cooking liquid and stop buying pricy cans and cartons of broth that is not half as good as the stuff you throw out after dinner!

as unappetizing as this looks, you should never throw away perfectly good stock for a cooked chicken!

As unappetizing as this looks, you should never throw away perfectly good stock from a cooked chicken!

What you see in the picture above is what I had leftover after a chicken dinner the other night. I had roasted a chicken with some basic veggies and added liquid to my pan halfway through to get a pan sauce without actually making one. After dinner, the chicken was gone (along with everything else) but this was left in my roasting pan. Most of the time this gets thrown out – admit it! it is so much easier to scrape this into the garbage than it is to put it in a container and store it in the fridge. When you throw something like this away you are throwing out the backbone of so many dishes that can be made in a hurry with delicious results if only you had saved what looks like a congealed mess.

The Ultimate Cheese!

The Ultimate Cheese (If you have a hunk of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese in your fridge at all times, it can be the savior of many a pasta dinner!)

I made this dinner merely to prove my point, and this is only one use. It can be used in a soup, in simpler pasta dishes, or added to a rice dish as the stock. You can also add water to it and discard the cooked veggies (using a sieve or small colander) and substitute it anywhere broth is called for in a recipe. It will taste far superior to its store-bought counterpart.

the backsteps

The back steps are beginning to look a little more Summery and I can’t wait for my garden to become lush and alive with herbs and flowers.

Of course you can still make this dish with bought stock! I guarantee you that I most definitely do not have stock in my fridge every time I need it and resort to bouillon cubes and water more often than using precious saved chicken juices. I just wanted to let you know that the thing you have been throwing away after some of your dinners could be put to good use!


You will Need:

1 lb sausage (chicken, turkey or pork will work – it can be a seasoned or flavored sausage), removed from casing

4 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 tsp chili flakes

4 to 6 cups chopped spinach (we love spinach so used 6!)

1 1/2 cups leftover stock (it can have stuff in it like onions, carrots, garlic, celery and herbs) OR 1 1/2 cups chicken broth OR 1 good quality bouillon cube and water

1/2 cup tomato puree

2/3 cup heavy cream

1 lb ridged penne pasta (I used Barilla Brand mini-penne)

1 tbs cold unsalted butter (optional)

grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese (if you have it)


1 – Put big saute pan on medium heat and add the oil. When it has warmed, add the chopped garlic and the chili flakes. Swirl around and cook for about 1 minute.

cook garlic and chili flakes

Cook garlic and chili flakes

2 – Add the sausage in bits (I broke it into the pan right out of the casing). Cook until the sausage is browned and nearly cooked through (about 12 minutes). You will need to stir and break sausage up with wooden spoon intermittently as it cooks.

add sausage

Add sausage

*Put the pasta water on (add about 2 tsp coarse salt to the water) and when it boil cook pasta according to instructions. Your aim is to have the pasta cooked by the time you reach step 6. Scoop out about 1/2 to 1 cup of pasta water before you drain the pasta. You may need it to thin out your sauce. Do NOT rinse the pasta when it is drained*

3 – Add the leftover stock (or whatever broth you are using) and let it come to a simmer. You may turn heat up slightly while you add the liquids.

add leftover stock or broth

Add leftover stock or broth

4 – Add the tomato puree and stir into the sausage mixture before adding the cream. Add the cream and let the sauce come to a slight boil.

add tomato puree and cream

Add tomato puree and cream

5 – Add the spinach and stir. Cover pan with a lid, turn heat down and cook for about 2 or 3 minutes at a low simmer.

Add spinach

Add spinach

6 – Turn off heat and add the cooked penne to your sauce and stir. You may also add a tablespoon of cold unsalted butter at this time if you want more glossy creaminess. If you like a thinner sauce or want to loosen the pasta a little, you may add some of the reserved pasta water until you are satisfied. You may also taste for addition of salt and pepper.

add cooked penne

Add cooked penne

Divide between bowls and pass grated Parmigiano Reggiano and more red pepper flakes if you so desire.



No Fuss New Year’s Eve Dinner (nice alternative to cooking a whole turkey) serves 6

Happy New Year!

This is a very manageable celebratory dinner for any occasion.

Easy turkey dinner

This holiday season, my concentration was on spending time with my family. The food was certainly fabulous, but I managed to spend less time hurrying around the kitchen and more time hugging the people I love because I cooked food that seemed to cook itself!

I hope this New Year was filled with good food, but I especially hope that it was shared with people who count.


Roasted Turkey Breast Cutlets with Pan Sauce

You will need: 2 1/2 lbs turkey breast cutlets (good quality supermarkets should stick these), 1 Vidalia onion, diced, 1 celery rib, diced, 4 medium garlic cloves, un-skinned, 4 sprigs thyme, 1 sprig of rosemary, cut in half, 4 or 5 fresh sage leaves, 2 strips of streaky bacon, 1 cup white wine, 1 1/2 cups chicken broth (or, bouillon cube and 1 1/2 cups water), 3 tbs butter, (2 at room temperature & 1 cold), 2 tbs all-purpose flour, sea-salt and cracked black pepper to season meat & to taste.

Preheat oven 400*

1 – Season cutlets lightly with salt and pepper and roll each piece up. Wrap two of the cutlets in bacon. Prep all veggies. Scatter onions, celery, garlic, herbs, and crumbled bouillon cube (if using) into bottom of pan or roasting pan. Add the liquids, and place the turkey on top. Slice the cold 1 tbs of butter and place on top of the turkey.

Veggies on bottom, turkey on top

2 – Place in oven for 20 minutes. Turn heat down to 350*, cover with lid (or foil) and continue to cook for another 20 or so minutes. take out and leave to rest for 5 minutes.

3 – Remove the turkey to a plate and cover. Mix the two tbs of flour with the room temperature butter in a little bowl, until it is a nice smooth paste, (this is called a roux) Put pan on medium/low heat and  gently stir the roux into the pan juices until it is incorporated. The sauce with turn a creamy color. Let it cook for about 3 minutes.

Turkey ready with minimal effort!

4 – In the meantime. slice the cutlets (thick slices), and place back into the pan. Turn off heat.

Roasted Root Vegetables

You will Need: 2 lbs baby potatoes (a variety of colors is nice, but 1 color will also suffice), 2 cups baby carrots, 3 parsnips, peeled and thickly sliced, 2 cups cippolini or pearl onions, 5 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 2  tsp sea-salt ( I used Maldon sea-salt flakes), freshly cracked black pepper.

Preheat oven 450*

1 – Put medium pot of water on to boil. When it is boiling, add the onions, cover and cook for about 4 minutes. Drain and leave to cool. When cool, cut off one end (the stringy end), and press onion from skin. Place in a big bowl as you go.

2 – Add the rest of prepped veggies to the bowl and add the oil, salt and several grinds of black pepper. Mix everything together with your hands so as to coat all the vegetables with oil.

3 – Put large tray with about 4 tbs of olive oil into the oven. Time for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and tip the veggies from the bowl onto the tray in an even layer. Place in oven for 20 minutes.

4 – Remove from oven. Turn vegetables and return to oven for about 15 minutes, at which point, the roots will be soft and browned slightly.

Colorful bowl of root veggies to go with turkey

Place in a lovely bowl and serve with the turkey and a nice green salad.