What should I do with the left-overs? …Grilled chicken and smokey vegetables

I had about half of my smokey vegetables left over from my first grilling session of the season. I often have left-overs from the dinners that I make. I am really only cooking for two (me and Dan) and I usually portion out dinners to feed at least four people. I do this for two reasons; I like to have an easy lunch the next day or I like to create an easy dinner the next night.

If you grilled the chicken and veggies from my last post, you can easily prep for tomorrow’s dinner as you are packing up your left-overs to stash in the refrigerator. Just a few simple extra steps makes the next day easier.

As I was getting ready to store my extra grilled chicken, I pulled all the meat off the bones. This is a much easier task when the chicken is still warm. You can even cut it into cubes if you are going to make this recipe. You can prep the veggies as you clean up that night too, but it is just as easy to get them ready the next day. I just took the veggies off the skewers and put them all into a container to go into the refrigerator.

Here’s what I came up with to use up my left-overs:

Creamy Chicken and Veggie Pasta

4 pieces grilled chicken, meat removed from the bones and cubed.

about 2 cups left over grilled veggies (onions, artichokes, small sweet peppers)

1 tsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic

4 tbsp butter

4 tbsp. flour

4 cups milk

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

16 oz. mini penne or shell pasta

For the sauce: Heat up the olive oil in a large deep pan or sauce pot. Add the garlic and saute just until fragrant, melt in the butter and add the flour, whisking to make a golden-colored roux. Whisk in 1 cup of the milk at a time until it is all incorporated and your sauce is thick and creamy. Add in the Parmesan and parsley and season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.

Prepare you vegetables (if you haven’t already last night). Cut the onions in half because we cut them a little big to fit on the skewers the first time. Cut the peppers into smaller pieces and remove the stem and small amount of seed that are inside. If you decide to cut the artichokes in half, only cut the larger size ones and cut them carefully because they will fall apart easily.

While the pasta cooks, mix the chicken and vegetables into the sauce to heat them through. Cook you pasta to al dente. Save a little of the pasta water when you drain the pasta in case your sauce is too thick. This is how I like to thin the sauce out, it is better than just adding cold water to your sauce because the pasta water is seasoned a little with salt.

Mix you pasta with your sauce, chicken and veggies. If the sauce is too thick, add the pasta water a little bit at a time to thin it out. Serve the pasta dish with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and fresh cracked pepper on top.

I used whole wheat shells for this dish but I think it would be better with just regular pasta. I like whole wheat pasta with tomato-based sauces and regular pasta with creamy sauces. Either way, it was pretty good!

I also had a great idea for a pasta dish that you can eat at room temperature. Just add the chicken and veggies into cooked pasta and mix it up with a vinaigrette dressing – you could use olive oil and the garlic vinaigrette that we used for the marinade and add some fresh basil. It would be a great dinner for a summer night.

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